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Michael Toner Weighs in on FEC’s Approval of Bitcoin Political Donations

USA Today
May 12, 2014

Michael E. Toner, co-chair of Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, was quoted in a USA Today article published last week about the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) decision to allow political donations in bitcoin. The FEC’s approval may lead to great use of the currency in connection with federal elections in the months ahead.

The FEC’s approval of the currency, however, comes with several regulatory conditions. Anonymous bitcoin contributions are prohibited and campaign committee treasurers are required to review the donations for any evidence of illegality.  Another potentially limiting aspect of bitcoin is the political connotation of the currency in place of a government-backed currency.  In light of these issues, Mr. Toner observed that “you may not see a lot of establishment candidates in the parties” readily accepting bitcoin contributions in the immediate aftermath of the FEC’s decision.

Going forward, additional regulatory issues concerning bitcoin will likely persist at the FEC. Mr. Toner, a former chairman of the FEC, said that he expected the commissioners’ “back-and-forth” on this issue to continue in the future.

To read the entire USA Today article, click here.