Bitcoin’s prominent role in politics is coming to the limelight once more as a state assembly candidate in Wisconsin launches a Bitcoin donations page. Earlier this month, Phil Anderson, a candidate for Wisconsin’s State Assembly, announced that he would be accepting campaign donations in Bitcoin.
Another Try at Bitcoin Donations
In a statement to the effect, the Republican candidate explained that his campaign had set up a Bitcoin donations channel through a partnership with crypto payment processor BitPay. The former real estate broker and businessman highlighted his belief that Bitcoin is a form of money, explaining that nothing should restrict him from using the asset to generate funds.
Anderson’s resolve comes after a contested Bitcoin campaign effort back in 2018. At the time, he had run for Governor of the state on the Libertarian platform and was one of the first politicians to accept Bitcoin in donations openly.
In the spring of 2018, the Wisconsin Libertarian Party had asked the state’s Ethics Commission to clarify if it was legal to use Bitcoin for political donations. The Commission passed the matter to the state legislature, explaining that allowing crypto donations could challenge its ability to ensure financial compliance.
Despite the Commission’s concerns, however, Anderson’s campaign moved ahead with the donation campaign. Speaking with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Anderson pointed out that his defiance didn’t mean he was thumbing his nose at the Commission. However, he believed that they would still be abiding with the law by accepting bitcoin.
“We will not allow the lack of appropriate interpretation of the current statute [to] affect the First Amendment rights of those who want to show support and contribute. I have no faith in the Assembly to handle this fairly nor expeditiously,” he said to the news source.
Now that he’s running for public office again, Anderson is sticking to his guns. He has also openly disagreed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission on their crypto interpretation and its perceived risks. In part, he communicated his belief that cryptocurrencies are a legitimate form of money, adding that he would push for progressive crypto laws in the state.
“People have the choice as to how they contribute, and it’s my intention to honor those choices. If my opponent or the Ethics Commission are interested in challenging me, I’m ready for a fight,” his statement asserted.
Bitcoin in Politics
While Anderson appears defiant in his belief, he won’t be the first pro-crypto person running for public office. Most notable amongst the crypto advocates has been Andrew Yang, the Democrat candidate who ran for President last year.
Supporters of Yang — a philanthropist and tech entrepreneur — launched a PAC called the Humanity Forward Fund (Humanity FWD) that accepted Bitcoin donations in collaboration with the Lightning Network. Seth Cohen, the fund’s founder, said that they hadn’t determined whether the contributions would be converted into fiat. It’s also unclear if Yang had anything to do directly with the fund or not. Sadly, he didn’t go too far in the polls, and he dropped out of the presidential race in February.
Humanity FWD is also not the first crypto-centric PAC to be launched. In fact, data from the Center for Public Integrity showed that about $750,000 in donations were given to politicians between 2017 and 2018.