The Center for Public Integrity reported on Free Speech For People’s efforts to fight a cryptocurrency company’s request for a special loophole that could seriously undermine federal campaign finance law. As the article by Ashley Balcerzak explains:
OsiaNetwork LLC, a newly formed limited liability company in Delaware, has asked the Federal Election Commission whether it’s legal for people to share the processing power of their computers and other internet-enabled devices to “mine” potentially valuable cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin — and support political campaigns with the windfall. …
OsiaNetwork is specifically asking that cryptocurrencies generated by politically motivated “miners” be treated as a political volunteer activity, and not a political contribution. This question has transparency implications because political contributions are limited to $2,700 a candidate per election, and are disclosed on public reports. Volunteering activities are exempt from both…
Some advocates of campaign finance regulations aren’t keen on OsiaNetwork’s plan for political cryptocurrency mining. Ronald Fein, legal director for nonprofit Free Speech For People, compared the question to asking if drones, which don’t have the physical limits humans do, could mine precious minerals and donate unlimited high-worth jewels to campaigns and call that volunteering.
“The request seems deceptive, in that it’s proposing something that seems like a modest extension of past opinions, but in reality would create a loophole to exploit and bypass all campaign contributions,” said Fein, whose group sent a letter to the FEC in opposition to OsiaNetwork’s request.
To read the full article, click here.
- OsiaNetwork’s request
- Our comment opposing OsiaNetwork’s request
- Our blog post explaining the issue
- The FEC staff’s draft advisory opinion
The matter was scheduled for the FEC’s November 15 meeting but, at the company’s request, has been postponed to December.