Durbin Questions CFTC Chairman On Crypto At Agriculture Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), today, in a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee hearing, questioned the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Rostin Behnam about the collapse of FTX—one of the world's largest crypto trading platforms.  In November, FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and its CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, resigned.  Durbin previously asked Chairman Behnam about FTX at an Agriculture Committee hearing in December. 

Durbin said, “I asked you in December, how long it was going to take to unpack the FTX mess… to be able to understand exactly what happened.  The sooner we shine a spotlight on what happened with FTX—the full extent and scope of the failure—the better. How much closer are we to getting to the bottom of what happened with FTX?” 

Behnam cited open litigation but said they are working diligently and as quickly as possible in trying to unpack the facts.  

Durbin continued, “I understand that, but despite the indictments and the legal charges that have been filed by these different federal agencies, the crypto industry is going full steam ahead.  Hardworking Americans are taking financial advice from investment advisors like Matt Damon, Larry David, and Tom Brady.  Crypto firms are applying for accounts at the Federal Reserve.  Trusted names in the retirement industry are offering exposure to Bitcoin in 401(k) plans… Financial regulators have highlighted a laundry list of risks associated with [the crypto industry]: fraud; comingling of funds; lack of disclosures; high volatility; interconnectedness of the industry; conflicts of interest; lack of basic governance practices and risk controls.  It is abundantly clear that when it comes to crypto, we need real cops on the beat. And we need them now.”

Durbin continues to raise concerns about cryptocurrency.  He previously spoke on the Senate floor highlighting the dangers it poses to personal finances and retirement.  In November, Durbin, along with U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tina Smith (D-MN), urged Fidelity Investments to reconsider their decision to allow 401(k) plan sponsors to offer plan participants exposure to Bitcoin, a highly volatile and risky digital asset.  Fidelity is one of the largest 401(k) providers with more than 32 million Americans and 22,000 employers who trust Fidelity Investments with their workplace retirement accounts and employer-sponsored plans.  The Senators’ November letter followed a letter they sent to Fidelity on July 26.  


Video of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here. 

Audio of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks from the hearing is available here for TV Stations.