Indeed, as the daily "unravelling" reached its climax of "anxiety", political responses were not long in coming. As early as January 28, Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee, and Sherrod Brown, the new chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, expressed their willingness to organize hearings aimed at drawing an "updated" portrait of the stock market.

In addition to these political initiatives, calls for private initiatives, this time from asset managers who were the first presumed victims of this frenzy, have found an echo, notably around the axis of market manipulation and more particularly around the notion of "pump and dump", a technique aimed at artificially raising the price of shares, bought at a low price, in order to resell them with a significant capital gain.
Market manipulation may be prosecuted criminally by the U.S. Department of Justice but also on the civil level by agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and/or private parties personally harmed. Such actions could, in all likelihood, be taken on the basis of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and, in particular, Rule 10b-5, which is used when market participants are accused of having committed fraud, deception or any other wrongdoing intentionally leading to the manipulation of a share price.
In addition, there have been calls for litigation under Section 9(a)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act, although its use appears to be less common, which prohibits series of transactions on securities for the purpose of creating actual or apparent activity around these securities, increasing or decreasing their prices, in order to induce the purchase or sale of the securities by third parties.

Since market manipulation can be one of the battle lines in the hands of parties feeling aggrieved, open-market manipulation could also, in the future, represent an angle of attack capable of asserting the interests, in this case, of hedge funds.
However, the difference between the two above-mentioned notions is not obvious. As Gina-Gail S. Fletcher, a professor at Duke Law School and a specialist in complex financial instruments and market regulation, wrote it "While traditional and well-accepted forms of market manipulation involve deception, fraud and monopoly pricing, free market manipulation does not involve any objectively bad act and, on the contrary, is carried out through authorized transactions executed in the free market”.

The manipulation of the free market, although more ambiguous as a concept, not being, however, devoid of precedents as evidenced by the cases "Markowski v. SEC", "United States v. Mulhern" and "SEC v. Masri", leaves the question of the determination of the "manipulative" nature of the transactions judged, in the present case, to be legitimate rather often in abeyance. Gina-Gail S. Fletcher, again, on the subject writes "For the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) and CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) the answer is simple: legitimate trades are manipulative if the trader intends to manipulate the market. The Commission's enforcement actions are based on the theory that the trader's manipulative intent is sufficient to turn otherwise legitimate transactions into open market manipulation”. The latter goes on to criticize the vagueness of the notion "But this approach is fundamentally flawed. Traders may be treated differently for the same behaviour under this approach and it does not leave market players wiser as to when their behaviour can be considered manipulative. Indeed, the Commission's targeted approach only exacerbates the chaos that currently surrounds the law on market manipulation and makes enforcement against free market manipulation less effective".
The spectrum of possibilities articulated around this principle is thus surrounded by a “blur of circumstance” characterized by the difficulty to establish a “rock-solid” proof and the idea seriousness accorded to the circumstances as well as to the facts is most often a matter for the sovereign appreciation of judges, an appreciation that is sovereign by nature uncertain.