Bitcoin as a campaign contribution appears to be gaining traction outside Texas borders, where a gubernatorial aspirant and a Congressman gearing for a Senate job have accepted it as a campaign donation.
A Madison, Wisconsin Alderman Mark Clear entered history books as the first candidate from his state to accept bitcoin in his bid to raise campaign funds as he vies for a slot in the state Assembly on a Democratic Party ticket.
Clear accepted a donation of 0.2213 bitcoins, which translates into approximately $100, from Monty Schmidt, the software entrepreneur behind Wuntusk, a company that promotes cryptocurrency technology. Clear told the Cap Times that he doesn’t think the contribution is illegal.
“The method of transaction is not really material,” said Clear on Thursday. “I suppose if one wanted to be overly precise, the donation of Bitcoin could be considered an in-kind, which then the campaign ‘sold’ for cash, but that seems like an unimportant nuance,” he added. “The key part of campaign finance disclosure is knowing who gave how much to whom, not the details of how.”
The Government Accountability Board, the independent agency that is tasked with enforcing election rules in Wisconsin, said that the issue isn’t fully precise. GAB’s head of ethics, Jonathan Becker recently told a board meeting on April 17 that he would direct the agency staff to inform aspirants that bitcoin donations are illegal until the board enacts a law recognizing them.
Clear revealed that he was surprised with the agency’s stand. “It sounds like they didn’t really want to deal with it,” he said. “In my opinion it’s just another transaction method, but it’s their opinion that matters, so I’ll talk with Monty about returning the contribution.”
Clear is expected to square it off with Madison Ald. Lisa Subeck for the seat left vacant by Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, who is vying for governor seat. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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