Thursday, May 8, 2014

FEC Approves Bitcoin Political Power

Bitcoin now accepted by political campaigns and PACs

The US Federal Exchange Commission (FEC) has decided that political campaigns and political action committees (PAC) may now accept and invest in bitcoin. The cyrpto currency may be accepted as a in-kind donation per this draft advisory document.

The specific ruling is worded as:
The Commission concludes that bitcoins are “money or anything of value” within the meaning of the Act and that MYL may accept contributions as it proposes pursuant to the identification, deposit, and valuation procedures

The Hill had previously reported a delay in the decision on 4/23/2014,
The commission delayed a formal vote on a petition to be able to accept up to $100 worth of the money, but commissioners seemed optimistic that they could draft a compromise to allow a limited amount of contributions in the virtual currency.
The commission had split when a conservative group, Conservative Action Fund PAC, proposed a similar proposal in November. In April, Make Your Laws PAC sought to accept bitcoins as contributions, as well as purchase, sell and trade them.

Make Your Laws PAC describes itself as non-partisan and registered in September 2012. MYL introduces its role as a technology company in politics:
Make Your Laws makes this intuitive process of trust even easier through some clever use of technology. Of course, users can always proxy to people they know and trust personally — their friends, family, and other influential figures in their lives. But often, users will want to know what experts and organizations are more dedicated to their issues.

First, based on how an individual responds to examples of controversial proposals, we can recommend to the user a number of public proxies who share their views and can be trusted to better track the issues on a given topic.

Second, as part of the discussion process, users will find that they end up agreeing or disagreeing with people that they might not have otherwise had contact with — people who, through the organic process of social interaction, become influential through their words. Make Your Laws makes it easy to add these people to one's list of advisors.

Finally, when there are differences of opinions between proxies, Make Your Laws can ask the user questions that will help to determine what advisors might better serve their needs, and better represent their views overall.
The draft advisory states that bitcoins may be accepted, purchased on exchanges and held as investments, but seems to state that employees cannot be paid in bitcoins and the currency must be converted to fiat before making purchases due to reporting requirements:
MYL proposes to accept bitcoins only through an online form on which each bitcoin contributor, regardless of the proposed contribution amount, will have to provide his or her name, physical address, occupation, and
employer.
...
MYL proposes to accept only $100 worth of bitcoin per contributor per election (as identified using the practices just described)
...
The Commission concludes that the requestor may accept bitcoin contributions as proposed in its Advisory Opinion Request and supplemental filings subject to valuation and reporting procedures similar to those that the Commission has previously recognized in analogous circumstances. The Commission further concludes that the requestor may purchase bitcoins with funds from its campaign depository for investment purposes but may not make disbursements using those purchased bitcoins
Bitcoin gains political power
Other sources: CoinDesk

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