Coinbase revives political fund to buy crypto favor in Congress

Brian Armstrong may prefer politics kept out of his offices but Coinbase obviously enjoys throwing its political weight around.

Coinbase has moved to form a Political Action Committee (PAC) ahead of November’s mid-term elections, reports Politico, indicating the top US crypto exchange has even deeper pockets where Washington DC is concerned.

The Delaware-headquartered firm filed a statement of organization with the Federal Election Committee (FEC) on Monday for its so-called “Coinbase Innovation PAC.”

People named in the FEC filing hint that the Coinbase Innovation PAC will work in efforts with current lobbying efforts.

This latest PAC will support campaigns of congressional candidates in this winter’s mid-terms; Coinbase cash will undoubtedly be pro-crypto advocacy in the Capitol.

Kara Calvert is a partner at Coinbase lobbyists Franklin Square group and joined the exchange as US director of public policy in December. Calvert is listed as the PAC’s custodian of records.

Coinbase chief financial officer Alesia Haas is named as PAC treasurer. The filing gives little information concerning its projected budget or target candidates.

Coinbase Innovation PAC marks the exchange’s second attempt at such a group. Established in 2018, a similar initiative dubbed “Coinbase Inc. PAC” appears to have achieved nothing.

It reported zero spending or funding and closed down a year later.

Coinbase PAC follows booming lobbying budget

What’s apparent is Coinbase’s spending on political lobbying has dramatically ramped up over past few years.

Data compiled by Cryptohead (and relayed by Cointelegraph) showed Coinbase had the biggest lobbying team of any crypto company, with 23 advocates in DC last year (Robinhood had 16, Ripple Labs had 12).

19 of those are considered to be “revolvers,” meaning they’re well-connected and au fait with the inner workings of government, according to Cryptohead.

While Cryptohead reported Coinbase had spent just $740,000 on lobbying last year, regulatory filings show the exchange really spent $1.3 million.

That figure represents nearly five times Coinbase’s budget a year prior.

Blockchain Association’s government relations director Ron Hammond shared insight into the state of crypto lobbying in 2022. The group has spent more than $1.6 million on lobbying since 2018.

Read more: [Bitcoin billionaires, a16z threw cash at US Senator before crypto tax vote]

XRP issuer Ripple Labs and discount brokerage Robinhood sank more for the cause, $900,000 and $1.35 million respectively in 2021.

Overall, Brian Armstrong’s company has spent nearly $1.5 million on political lobbying since 2017, about 30% of the $4.9 million spent by the crypto industry at large.

Per the report, the total cash spent on lobbying by crypto companies and groups jumped 116% in 2021.

Crypto braces for Biden executive order

Coinbase’s efforts follow those of one-time Trump staffer Anthony Scaramucci and FTX exec Ryan Salame, who earlier this month joined forces to establish a pro-crypto super PAC.

The ‘Gonna Make It’ PAC plans to pump $20 million into lobbying crypto-friendly congressional candidates, hinting that crypto may become common parlance in the corridors of the Capitol building.

Indeed, Armstrong may prefer politics kept out of his offices, but his company obviously enjoys throwing its political weight around.

“We believe the bi-partisan potential is clear and we intend to support crypto-forward lawmakers who align with our mission to advance economic freedom for all Americans,” Coinbase told Politico.

Lobbying is an industry increasingly utilized by crypto entrepreneurs.

Read more: [Coinbase caught listing 8 crypto tokens without disclosing its investment]

Stakeholders in the US crypto industry are no doubt watching Joe Biden amid a reportedly impending executive order that promises sweeping regulations.

Biden’s White House is leaning on its many agencies and watchdogs to set cohesive legal structures for digital assets, something US regulators have historically failed to do.

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