Political Candidates May Soon Accept, but Not Spend, Bitcoin Donations: FEC

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The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has proposed allowing Bitcoin to be accepted as contributions for federal candidates in its draft guidance.

The response comes after the Conservative Action Fund, a political action committee, requested clarification on whether politicians could accept donations in the digital currency and how they should declare them.

Bitcoin contributions can be sold by candidates, and then the cash equivalent can be deposited into their campaign coffers before being used. Candidates, in the proposal, cannot spend bitcoins directly. 

Several candidates had already begun accepting Bitcoin for campaign contribution. Once the CAF requested clarification, the trade group Bitcoin Foundation threw in its support for Bitcoin acceptance.

Digital currencies “emergence has potentially far reaching implications for the federal government and society as a whole,” said Senator Tom Carper, a Democrat in Delaware, in a written statement quoted by The Hill in a Nov. 8 article. “I applaud the FEC for acting quickly to recognize this and develop a thoughtful policy that gives donors and committees rules of the road to utilize this emerging technology.”

The FEC will allow public comments on its draft guidance until Nov. 13, according to its letter. The commission plans to vote on approval later this month.

On Nov. 18, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Banking Committee plan to speak about how decentralized digital currencies will affect banking and law enforcement.

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