Jan 7, 2022 - Politics

Georgia candidates accept crypto campaign donations

Illustration of a crypto coin with a bow.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

You know those extra bitcoins you have lying around? The ones you’ve been meaning to donate to a political campaign? Well, you’re in luck!

What’s happening: At least two Georgia Republicans running statewide are soliciting cryptocurrency as campaign donations.

The big picture: These candidates are part of a bipartisan group of politicians around the country who’ve been accepting digital currency.

Details: State Sen. Burt Jones, the Trump-backed Republican running for lieutenant governor, recently released a cryptocurrency payment portal after donors expressed interest.

  • He joins fellow Republican Secretary of State candidate David Belle Isle, who claims to have launched the first portal in the spring, also after donor interest. He said it took them more than six weeks to build.

Is this legal? According to David Emadi, executive director of the state Campaign Finance Commission, Georgia candidates can accept cryptocurrency if the donation is immediately converted into U.S. dollars, to ensure the value doesn’t shift over legal limits.

  • The FEC, which regulates federal candidates’ campaign finance, has published guidance on digital currency. It does allow committees to retain donations in a "bitcoin wallet," but they’re still subject to federal contribution limits and reporting requirements.

Yes, but: Emadi said there’s no rule that a donation originating in cryptocurrency be identified as such when reported in dollars. So it’s tough to know exactly how much bitcoin has fueled political coffers in Georgia.

Of note: This isn’t new. Former Georgia Republican Rep. Bob Barr was on the cutting edge when he solicited bitcoin donations back in 2014. He tells Axios that happened thanks to guidance from his “younger staff.”

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