Bitcoin contributions to PACs - CAF's request
In August 2013, the Conservative Action Fund PAC (CAF) asked the Federal Election Commission whether they should be permitted to accept contributions of Bitcoin.
We commented on that request extensively, raising several issues with it that CAF failed to address. Though the underlying issues are complex, there were three main problems:
transparency and auditability — Bitcoin is designed to protect its users' privacy; political contributions need to be traceable to a real person and limit anonymous contributions
prevention of money laundering, financial exploitation, and legal loopholes — people can abuse Bitcoin "refunds" or contributions between different types of political organizations
legal and technical catch-22s — Bitcoin intersects campaign finance law in some non-obvious ways
The FEC wasn't able to decide on CAF's request. They agreed informally that PACs should in principle be allowed to accept Bitcoins, but couldn't formally agree on how. Nevertheless, some political committees are already accepting Bitcoin, without any guidance about how one could obey the law while doing so.
On February 10th 2014, we submitted our own advisory opinion request (AOR), proposing how we intend to accept Bitcoins.
Timeline and documents of CAF's request
2013-08-13: CAF filed their advisory opinion request.
2013-11-07: The FEC posted a draft advisory opinion.
2013-11-12: MYL submitted a comment pointing out several problems with the proposal, and suggesting ways to fix them.
2013-11-16: We filed comments to address issues discussed in the FEC's Nov 14th meeting.