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Cryptocurrency Campaign Contributions in Senate Spotlight

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

With all the recent talk of dark money in judicial elections, a Senate subcommittee recently met to discuss the impact of cryptocurrency on political campaigns.

Currently, donations of crypto are viewed as in kind donations, much the same as stocks or other assets. Also, just because crypto can be anonymous, the political donation rules require information on the donor to be collected. However, with the rise of Super PACs and the ilk, there are certainly much larger concerns, particularly given what we know about the 2016 presidential election. Some speculate that with cryptocurrency being more widely accepted now, it could play a large role in disrupting campaigns and elections.

Transparency in the Courtroom

As noted in the ABA Journal, dark money, or money that cannot be traced back to the source, has been heavily used to influence judicial elections, which calls into question the propriety of the current campaign finance scheme which allows it.

The report explains that when dark money is traced back to the source, it "often comes from donors with strong economic interests in issues coming up in state court-some of whom have cases pending at the time of an election."

The Journal report explains that in 2015-2016 election year, nearly 75% of all negative ads in judicial elections were paid for by "groups." This is attributed to the groups' motivations, as well as the judicial candidates ethical and political constrains prohibiting them from running certain negative ads themselves.

Transparency, Technology, and Campaign Finance

During the last presidential election, Google released a new search feature that would highlight where candidates campaign money was coming from. However, as Stephen Colbert explained to the nation, Super PACs pretty much get around all those pesky campaign finance laws.

Now, with the rise of all the different cryptocurrencies alongside Super PACs, the recent testimony at the senate subcommittee hearing detailing the ways in which crypto can be used to subvert what little transparency there is in campaign finance is all the more troubling.

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