Cryptocurrency counts as in-kind contributions, says Iowa ethics board

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Iowa rapper and entrepreneur Marquas Ashworth used cryptocurrency to sell investment shares in his latest album.

A Des Moines-based art gallery participated in a crypto auction of digital artwork.

Starting Thursday, Iowa politicians can also get in on the action.

Iowa’s Campaigns Ethics and Disclosure Committee voted unanimously to issue an advisory opinion classifying political donations in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum as in-kind contributions.

This means applicants can accept payments, but must declare both the cash value and the name of the donor. They must also report when a cryptocurrency is sold and to whom.

In issuing the guidelines, the council followed the lead of the Federal Election Commission, which has long allowed crypto contributions.

Bitcoin transactions and other data fill computer screens at the Leverage Holdings office in downtown Des Moines.

“The short answer is yes, a (campaign) committee can accept cryptocurrency contributions because there is no rule against it,” council attorney Andrew Greenberg said.

Continued:Des Moines Art Gallery, Digital Marketing Company Auctioning Three Whimsical Popsicle NFTs

It is unclear whether any Iowa politician attempted to accept such contributions. Most candidates use fundraising platforms — like Republican WinRed and Democratic ActBlue — that don’t currently support such contributions.

The advisory notes that campaigns cannot spend cryptocurrency directly. That’s because all campaign expenses must come from money deposited in an Iowa financial institution, Greenberg told the board.

Daniel Lathrop is an editor on the Registry’s investigative team. Contact him at (319) 244-8873 or dlathrop@dmreg.com. Follow him on @lathropd on Twitter and on facebook.com/IowaGadfly.



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