Federal Government Must Decide If Bitcoin Can Be Used For Political Donations

Federal Government Must Decide If Bitcoin Can Be Used For Political Donations

[heading]Federal Government Must Decide If Bitcoin Can Be Used For Political Donations[/heading]

Cyber-anarchists (and the legions of diverse Bitcoin users) could find themselves with a seat at the table of political campaigns for the 2013-2014 election cycle.

To underscore the potential Bitcoin has to disrupt current ways of doing business, the Federal Election Commission is determining rules governing donations made in Bitcoins and how to apply these to political campaigns, according to POLITICO.

Conservative Action Fund PAC Attorneys asked the agency to decide if political candidates and outside groups could accept Bitcoin for donations.

“As increasing numbers of individuals trade in Bitcoin, political parties and candidates also wish to accept and spend this new currency,” Dan Backer of DB Capitol Strategies wrote. The request lays out 24 questions for the FEC regarding Bitcoin in political campaigns.

Backer told POLITICO that it is his expectation that by 2014 federal candidates will be interested in accepting Bitcoin, and that many donors will demand it.

“We see a real future for this, especially among libertarian-minded supporters,” Backer said.

According to Backer, a few PACs and minor party candidates are interestedin taking Bitcoin donations. Since the rules are unclear, the FEC must put together guidance.

One question for the FEC posed by Backer: do Bitcoin donations to a candidate count as a monetary contribution or an in-kind contribution? Does the FEC consider Bitcoin a currency or a good?

Moreover, price volatility could mean complications for campaign committees seeking to stay within contribution limits set by law. The Conservative Action Fund is a so-called hybrid PAC that may both contribute directly to candidates and make unlimited independent expenditures.

During the 2013-2014 cycle, federal law dictated that only $2,600 per individual per election to candidates and $32,400 to political parties  could be made. PACs are allowed to donate as much as $5,000 per candidates, whilst other outside groups are not regulated as such.

Another question is if the FEC consider bitcoin donations to be anonymous. In that case, donations up to $50 are allowed.

By law, the FEC must respond to the request in 60 days — but an extension of that deadline is possible.

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