A California state regulator may be looking at overturning a ban on cryptocurrency donations to political campaigns which has been in effect since 2018.
According to its May 2022 agenda, California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, or FPPC, has scheduled a “prenotice discussion” on Thursday on the use of cryptocurrencies to make campaign contributions in the state. The commission said it will be considering drafting amendments to its regulations requiring that “no contribution may be made or received in cryptocurrency.”
In September 2018, the FPPC voted to ban both sending and receiving crypto contributions for political campaigns in the state of California, due to concerns the donations “might be utilized to circumvent contribution limits and prohibitions, or by foreign entities to contribute to campaigns.” FPPC’s communications director Jay Wierenga told Cointelegraph that the commission “look[s] at trends and [tries] to stay ahead of them,” citing a March opinion in which its legal division said a campaign selling nonfugible tokens to raise funds must count “the entire amount received” as a “reportable contribution.”
“This has been on our radar since late last year,” said Wierenga. “Crypto [has] obviously has grown in usage and visibility since 2019. So the Commission wants to review it and determine if any changes should be made, or not.”
According to Wierenga, the current ban on crypto political campaign contributions has not affected candidates running for office in California at a federal level, just state and local. For example, Aarika Rhodes, an elementary school teacher running to represent California’s 32nd congressional district currently held by Democrat Brad Sherman, has openly called for her supporters to donate Bitcoin (BTC) via lighting:
Our campaign has officially adopted Lighting for campaign contributions.⚡️
This revolutionary technology creates accessibility and looks towards the future. I am excited to provide this option to our supporters across all 50 states. #Bitcoin
– Aarika for CA-32 (@AarikaRhodes) November 30, 2021
Commissions and other governing bodies in U.S. states are responsible for determining whether to enforce bans on crypto political donations for state and local campaigns. South Carolina’s House of Representatives ethics committee said in 2018 that the definition of a campaign contribution did not include cryptocurrency, and Colorado capped the amount of donated in crypto to the same levels as fiat.