US lawmaker Tom Emmer has asked the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) to justify its ‘unprecedented’ sanctioning of privacy mixer Tornado Cash.
In an open letter which was tweeted on Tuesday, Emmer said the Treasury Department’s sanctions looked like a “divergence from previous OFAC precedent” because some of the addresses added were linked to smart contracts and open-source software, instead of a particular person or institution.
OFAC had recently listed Tornado Cash as specially designated nationals by alleging that it helped North Korea’s Lazarus hacking group launder millions of dollars.
Also read: Why did U.S. OFAC Sanction Tornado Cash?
Thus, Emmer further argued that OFAC’s sanctions on the Tornado as per the Executive Order, are the first sanctions issued against something other than a person/entity determined ‘to be responsible for or complicit in’ harmful cyber activities that can potentially harm US’ national security, foreign policy, economic health or financial stability.
Emmer further questioned OFAC, as to which entity should have imposed controls on Tornado Cash blockchain contracts according to OFAC. He also asked how U.S. users can get their funds locked in the mixer back.
Emmer asked if the funds locked on Tornado Cash ‘through some mechanism or legal fiction’ belong to an entity on the SDN list or to the individual who keeps the funds in the mixer.
Emmer asked how Tornado Cash addresses could appeal to their ‘definition’, as they are not classified as people or entities.