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Worse than "Russians": Kansas panel bans contributions to Bitcoin campaign

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A Kansas government commission decided that candidates in municipal and local elections would be banned from accepting bitcoin campaign contributions.

As reported by Lawrence Journal-World a local media outlet, the Kansas Government Ethics Commission decided to ban politicians from Kansas accept donations of bitcoin when they ran for a public office in local or state elections, citing concerns about Bitcoin's pseudonymity.

Mark Skoglund, executive director of the commission, said the decision was motivated by a candidate who inquired about the legality of accepting bitcoin donations.

The Federal Election Commission allows candidates at the National Bureau election to accept contributions to the Bitcoin campaign and even stated that campaigns could invest in Bitcoin in limited circumstances . A variety of candidates took advantage of this opportunity, most recently Austin Petersen, a Republican who runs to represent Missouri in the US Senate.

Petersen told CCN that cryptocurrency "represents the future of American creativity and American freedom", which is why his campaign accepts donations of bitcoins:

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The disruptive influence of Bitcoin is exactly what our financial system needs at the moment … Cryptocurrency represents the future of American creativity and American freedom, and I am pleased to accept campaign donations in this form. ]

However, Kansas does not have legislation governing donations of cryptocurrency campaigns, and Commissioner Jerome Hellmer explained that the commission was concerned that it was too risky to allow campaigns to accept bitcoin donations without standardized procedures. He argued that lobbyists would be able to take advantage of the pseudonym Bitcoin to influence local elections. He also suggested that bitcoin could have a more detrimental effect on the elections than the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election:

"The biggest problem would be the high probability of influencing local elections by totally unidentifiable lobbyists trying to get in," he said. "If you think the Russians have affected the presidential elections, wait … that's what will happen."

Hellmer added that the opacity of bitcoin is antithetical to the "transparency" that election commissions are supposed to provide. "It's totally contrary to the transparency that we are asking our political system to provide to the public," he concluded.

Image from Shutterstock to photo

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