Congressional candidate Dan Elder vows to only accept bitcoin in coming election

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Dan Elder

Dan Elder

In May, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) voted to approve bitcoin donations under the existing statutes for in-kind campaign contributions, opening the door for the use of cryptocurrency as a political tool. Thus far, however, most politicians have viewed bitcoin contributions in much the same way businesses have: A novel way to gain some media coverage. For obvious reasons, no political player has gone all in for bitcoin.

Except for Dan Elder, that is.

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives candidate for 1st Congressional District of Missouri (covering large portions of St. Louis) announced his plan to exclusively accept bitcoin. The only option to donate to Elder’s campaign is via bitcoin, and he claims to be funding his campaign entirely through bitcoin. It’s not known if Elder will accept private donations in dollars, but he’s certainly not making it easy for anyone who would like to try.

Speaking with CoinDesk, Elder said: “I’m accepting BTC donations to solely fund my campaign to take a stance against the Federal Reserve and its policies which have weakened the US dollar.”

Although running as a Republican, Elder says he won’t focus on “party platforms, old stereotypes, or animosity towards other parties” and instead notes that his political ideology his aimed at fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. Not surprisingly, Elder’s platform is a mix of socially liberal (pro-gay and lesbian rights, pro-drug legalization) and decidedly libertarian (anti-Federal Reserve, anti-tax, anti-military assistance) views, broadly reflecting many of the attitudes held within some corners of the bitcoin community.

With mainstream bitcoin adoption widely considered to be years away, and FEC donation limits for bitcoin set to $100 per individual, Elder’s campaign faces some distinct funding challenges. It’s safe to say that he is, at best, a dark horse for the Missouri representative seat, as he would be facing off against exceptionally popular Congressman William Lacy Clay, Jr., who has held the seat since 2001 and won his last election with nearly 74% of the vote. Clay’s father held the same seat for 30 years before him, meaning the seat has been under Clay family control since 1969. Not surprisingly, Congressional term limits are a major point on Elder’s campaign platform.

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