This year’s midterm elections are not just about red versus blue. Crypto investors are trying to turn politics orange.
It’s the color embraced by Bitcoin’s most ardent proponents, which have generated an influx of cash into campaigns across the country.
Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto exchange FTX, is the main force behind the political action committee Protect Our Future. The group has raised $14 million — most from billionaire Bankman-Fried — and could tip the scales in House’s races in Ohio and Oregon.
Other FTX executives are involved in GMI PAC, which has already grossed $6 million and plans to spend $20 million this cycle. HODLpac, which grossed nearly $230,000 in contributions, assesses the credibility of candidates on issues important to crypto investors.
Elections are a new arena for an industry built on distrust of government and decentralized control. But the battle over the federal infrastructure bill last summer — which included new IRS reporting requirements for the industry — has galvanized executives and crypto enthusiasts alike. The industry has quickly built its lobbying machine on Capitol Hill, and it hopes to harness that same energy for the election.
“The crypto industry is proud to support elected officials who believe in the true potential of the crypto economy in the United States,” said Kristin Smith, executive director of the Blockchain Association, a crypto trade group. . “And we don’t hesitate as an industry to say and support what we value, and that includes political donations.”
Pedestrians walk past a Bitcoin cryptocurrency exhibit on February 15, 2022 in Hong Kong, China.
Anthony Kuan | Getty Images
The primary election in Ohio on Tuesday will be one of the first tests of industry influence. State Treasurer Josh Mandel is a leading contender for the open Senate seat — and a staunch supporter of bitcoin.
Last year, he sold his shares and invested the money in cryptocurrency instead. He has a five-star rating from HODLpac and spoke at a massive bitcoin conference in Miami last month.
“Ohio needs to be a pro-God, pro-family, pro-bitcoin state,” he said. tweeted in December. “I promise we will be.”
Mandel is one of four upstart candidates — two Republicans and two Democrats across the country — endorsed by the Financial Freedom PAC, which launched earlier this month. The PAC is focused exclusively on bitcoin and is on track to raise at least $1 million by the end of the round.
“We are very passionate groups of people – people who are frankly dissatisfied with politics, government and existing institutions,” said Grant McCarty, one of the group’s founders. “We want them to realize that if they use their voice — if they play DC that way — we can actually get politicians to represent their interests.”
Big money is also flowing in the matchup between incumbent Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, and progressive challenger Nina Turner. The two faced off last year in a special election for the Cleveland-area 11th district that ended with Brown capturing 50.2% of the vote, 6 percentage points ahead of Turner.
This year, Protect Our Future is bolstering Brown’s candidacy with more than $1 million in radio, digital and television ads — a boon for a candidate whose campaign has raised $4 million.
Turner responded to outside spending in a tweet: “See, there’s a definite difference in this race. One of the candidates in this primary is for sale. I am not for sale. Cleveland is not for sale.”
Brown’s spokesman, Darryle Torbert, pointed out that the campaign was not affiliated with Protect Our Future, but said Brown was monitoring the White House’s actions on crypto policy.
“Common-sense regulation of the cryptocurrency market would not only help better protect consumers, but also bring greater stability and certainty to the market, allowing it to continue to grow in the years to come,” he said. -he declares.
Protect Our Future is also injecting money into the congressional race in Oregon’s 6th District. The PAC spent more than $7 million on behalf of Democratic candidate Carrick Flynn, according to federal election documents. The group said its support was based on its expertise in pandemic preparedness rather than its stance on crypto.
Still, the money has generated enough momentum that establishment players such as the House Majority PAC — an outside group affiliated with and supportive of House Democrats — are now backing his race as well.
The crypto community is not just bolstering its followers. He also goes after politicians who criticize the industry. One of the top targets is Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California.
He compared crypto to the subprime mortgages that led to the 2008 financial crisis. He recently sponsored a bill with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that would limit the use of cryptocurrencies to prevent the circumvention of sanctions against Russia.
“All the money and power is on the other side. You don’t have a CAP. You don’t have lobby gangs,” he told a senior Treasury official during a congressional hearing in February.
“What you have is the credibility of knowing that the Treasury Department and your affiliated agencies put the national interest before the pecuniary interest of certain investors,” he added, discussing efforts to stop using crypto to circumvent sanctions.
In response, Financial Freedom PAC is backing one of its main challengers, Aarika Rhodes, in a long-running bid to unseat the 13-term congressman. Rhodes is an elementary school teacher who believes bitcoin can help democratize the financial system.
Earlier this year, she hosted a Twitter chat with the social media company’s former CEO and crypto advocate, Jack Dorsey.
It’s an uphill battle, but McCarty said electing just one bitcoin advocate to Congress in November would be a victory — and enough to generate momentum for years to come.
“It’s not a short term game for us. The fight for Bitcoin is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. 2022 is just the beginning,” he said. “In 2024, I really think we’re going to see an orange wave over Washington.”
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Crypto Cash Flow Towards 2022 Midterm Elections – Reuters News in France and abroad
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