FEC Regulations Limit Bitcoin Donations To Political Campaigns and Cause Confusion

Journalist:
Scott Fargo @TalonTech1
October 31, 2014

This year, the FEC announced that political candidates could accept donations in Bitcoin. While the guidelines are welcome, the FEC also capped the amount that could be donated to $100 in Bitcoin or Cryptocurrency per person each election period. This amount is far below the amounts you can donate in fiat. Along with the restriction, many people are not yet up to speed on Bitcoin. This lack of knowledge in the general public also makes Bitcoin lag as a form of donation.

As first reported on by The Huffington Post, Blaine Richardson, a House seat candidate running for Maine’s 2 District, did not receive any contributions in Bitcoin. He does have an excellent view on why though.

“I think there is a future for it, but we just may be ahead of the curve right now.”

Also read: FEC Likely To Allow Bitcoin Donations Up To $100 Worth Per Election Per Recipient Per Contributor

Other Candidates Accepting, but Not Receiving Many, Bitcoin Donations

Richardson’s statement shows the need for education on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies to reach more people. To many people Bitcoin is the “magic internet money” that was used to buy drugs on the Silk Road instead of an entire new economic ecosystem. That view is usually dispelled once people learn just what Bitcoin and the Blockchain are. There are several candidates that have disclosed the amounts of Bitcoin donations they have received.

In Colorado candidate, Jared Polis, who embraced Bitcoin early, stated he has received over $2000 in Bitcoin donations. Polis thought the number would have been much higher if the donation limits were the same as the federal limit.

“With a $100 limit, it’s hard for it to be a major part of a fundraising strategy,” Polis said.

Government Restrictions Hamper Adoption and Slow Bitcoin Education

With the government regulators not giving guidelines that treat Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies the same as fiat, it leaves much confusion for consumers. Many people will think that because they cannot donate more in Bitcoin there must be somthing wrong with and be less apt to use it. Many candidates are very bullish on Bitcoin though. Will Hammer, who is running for the House seat on the libertarian ticket in Virginia’s 6th District stated, “(cryptocurrencies) have the possibility to make central banks, such as the Federal Reserve, obsolete.” He believes this despite receiving less than $100 in Bitcoin donations.

Bitcoin does have its own PAC that is working to promote Bitcoin where it can get the most attention, and this is across party lines.  They are called BitPAC. BitPAC is sending roughly $4500 in Bitcoin to members of Congress. BitPAC stated they were sending out paper wallets valued at $250 each to them as well as specifically Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). The hopes of BitPAC is to get lawmakers to look more into the current regulations and do something about it. BitPAC also hopes to educate the Politicians in cryptocurrencies so they will do something about it.

“That’s money in their hands that they can’t use because the FEC won’t give them adequate guidance,” said BitPAC founder Dan Backer.

The actions of both BitPAC and different candidates will, hopefully, shed some light on the confusing and restrictive guidelines and regulations that are currently in effect in the political realm. We are still early in the life of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies, and there will be many fights for acceptance. The best thing we can do is educate people about what Bitcoin is and how it can help and be a great part of their lives.

Have you donated Bitcoin before? Comment below!

Images from Shutterstock.

Scott Fargo @TalonTech1

I am a disabled former Systems Admin, computer tech, business manager enjoying crytpo currencies. I am deeply involved in the mining ecosystem and physical coins, It fascinates me how it has brought people from all over the world together into a tight knit supportive community with commerce and tech.