Kansas Commission: Political Candidates Cannot Accept Bitcoin

by Nikhilesh De

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A government ethics body in Kansas is advising political candidates to not accept bitcoin.

New guidance from the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission indicates that election watchdogs in the U.S. state are planning to study the issue further, but for now, campaigns are being told to abstain from taking cryptocurrency contributions.

Mark Skoglund, the commission’s executive director, told CoinDesk he asked the body for guidance after a candidate for public office asked about the option.

While the guidance disallows bitcoin from being used in campaign contributions at present, the door to future acceptance appears to be somewhat open for now.

Skoglund said:

“That is the current guidance. It is not a formal opinion, but as a director I asked the commission for guidance, and until further studies are conducted, bitcoin cannot be used for a campaign contribution.”

Unlike an advisory opinion, the guidance issued by the commission does not have the force of law. It is unclear whether a formal advisory opinion will be issued in the future.

While there is no set plan for conducting studies on bitcoin or otherwise looking into its use, Skoglund said he intends to compile research on what other states have done and speak to officials from these states during an upcoming conference.

It’s a notable development, given that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) – which oversees national-level campaigns – approved the acceptance of bitcoin as an in-kind donation – effectively property that can be contributed – in 2014. Additionally, as previously reported by CoinDesk, the FEC could move to shift the rules around bitcoin, treating them like cash donations instead.

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