Former New York State Legislature staffer Patrick Nelson is accepting donations in Bitcoin for his candidacy as congressman for New York’s 21st Congressional District. Nelson has filed his candidacy in early 2017.
According to Nelson, he is accepting contributions as a candidate through the payment processor BitPay.
He added that taking Bitcoin as donations reflects his forward-looking platform of governance that he will implement if elected:
"Our goal in this campaign has been and continues to be bringing 21st Century policies to the 21st District. That means we embrace innovation and new technologies like the Blockchain and Bitcoin."
Nelson is a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a former staffer for New York Democratic Assemblyman Phil Steck of Colonie. He was also a supporter of US Senator Bernie Sanders, who run for president in 2016.
Nelson is running against Tedra Cobb and Emily Martz for the Democratic nomination. In 2015, Nelson ran for a seat on the Stillwater Town Council in Saratoga County, NY but lost.
US government’s policy on Bitcoin donations
The US Federal Elections Commission (FEC) issued its ruling approving the acceptance of Bitcoin as in-kind donations for political campaigns. As an in-kind donation, campaigns have 10 days to put the Bitcoin tokens raised into their official campaign depository.
In related developments, the FEC is assessing whether to amend its regulations on Bitcoin donations.
During their meeting in September 2016, the FEC commissioners have started their discussions on whether donations in the form of the virtual currency should be treated like cash. The agency has also announced that it will seek public comments on the issue once the proposed rulemaking is outlined.