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The downfall ofSam Bankman-Fried, briefly one of the most prolific spenders in American politics, hobbled the cryptocurrency industry’s influence machine.
Now, others are starting to rebuild.
A new crypto-focused super PAC backed in part by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has pumped over $1.2 million into television ads supporting House candidates over the last two months. The group, Fairshake, is worth keeping an eye on in the coming year as the crypto industry tries to insert itself into the 2024 elections.
The group has so far backed 13 incumbent lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The candidates span the ideological spectrum, but all of them serve on the House Financial Services and Agriculture committees. The panels advanced landmark crypto legislation earlier this year, and digital asset firms are fighting to shore up support ahead of a floor vote.
The biggest beneficiaries of the spending, which hasn’t been previously reported, include House Financial Services Chair Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.). McHenry and Johnson are leading efforts on the House crypto bills, which Gottheimer has supported.
The group has also bought ads backing several House members in swing districts, including Reps. Don Davis (D-N.C.), Zach Nunn (R-Iowa), Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.), Yadira Caraveo (D-Colo.) and Young Kim (R-Calif.).
Fairshake’s website says it supports candidates “committed to securing the United States as the home to innovators building the next generation of the internet.” (The group’s treasurer, Brandon Philipczyk, declined to comment.)
The ads don’t explicitly focus on crypto regulation — hardly a kitchen table issue that can swing an election. Many feature images of the candidates and their districts over narrated biographical information. They tout candidates as bipartisan problem solvers and focus broadly on economic issues.
But nearly all the ads mention that the lawmakers have worked to “attract the jobs of the future” and build “the next generation of the internet” in the U.S. — a veiled reference to crypto.
In the months to come, the group is expected to get behind more pro-crypto candidates, including in the Senate, according to a person with direct knowledge who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
While Armstrong has publicly pledged his financial support, the full scope of Fairshake’s fundraising is unclear because of the lag in super PAC disclosures. Johnson said last month that he was unaware who funded the Fairshake ads backing him, according to South Dakota News Watch.
It’s just one way that the crypto industry is engaging in the 2024 election. A pair of super PACs affiliated with the Blockchain Innovation Project, a pro-crypto group led by former Reps. Tim Ryan and David McIntosh, are expected to back candidates in the coming year. Two presidential candidates, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Vivek Ramaswamy, have campaigned on crypto policies. Both spoke last week at the North American Blockchain Summit in Texas.
Coinbase, the largest U.S. crypto exchange, is one of the most active players this cycle, having launched a grassroots advocacy initiative to promote digital asset legislation. The company is hosting a town hall event tonight in Cleveland focused on the issue.
“Crypto jobs and innovation will be on the ballot in 2024,” Coinbase spokesperson Julia Krieger said in a statement, adding that the company plans to make sure Americans “know whose sides candidates are on — for change or for the status quo.”
Happy Monday — MM will be off Thursday and Friday but until then: What are we missing? Send tips: [email protected].
Monday … FHFA Director Sandra Thompson speaks at the Bipartisan Policy Center at 10 a.m. … Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin appears on FOX Business’s “Coast to Coast,” which airs at noon … Tuesday … FOMC minutes are out at 2 p.m. … Wednesday … The U.K. government refreshes Britain’s economic policy agenda with its “Autumn Statement”
Gruenberg speaks — FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg in a video to staff Friday took responsibility and apologized for the agency’s workplace culture, though he signaled he will not step down, per the WSJ. “I want to assure you that I’m committed to addressing these issues, including my own shortcomings,” he said.
Pressure on Gruenberg continues to grow. House Republicans announced the start of an investigation into the FDIC chief and allegations of workplace misconduct at the agency. Financial Service Chair Patrick McHenry is vowing to use the panel’s “full arsenal” of oversight and investigative tools. It’s important to remember that McHenry opposed Gruenberg’s nomination to lead the agency and House Republicans have fought his agenda more broadly. An FDIC spokesperson said the agency will “be fully transparent and cooperative with the committee.”
Citigroup job cuts — The bank today is expected to announce the first big round of layoffs under a sweeping restructuring, the FT reports.
Deficit reality check — The national debt is having a moment as a pressing economic issue, but Eleanor Mueller and Victoria Guida report there’s little evidence that Washington is ready to change course. Even GOP lawmakers see a struggle to reach consensus within their own ranks.
President Joe Biden‘s pledge to raise taxes on the wealthy and the looming expiration of Trump tax cuts are poised to make federal debt part of the policy debate ahead of next year’s election.
Powell’s united Fed — Bloomberg has a breakdown of the striking degree of harmony at the Fed when it comes to fighting inflation. Not a single FOMC member has voted against actions led by Chair Jerome Powell over the past 11 meetings — “an unusually long stretch of unanimity that belies underlying differences and uncertainty over the direction of monetary policy and the economy.”
It’s offered a united front to the markets and the public. But former Fed economist Karen Dynan said “the communication may be understating the diversity of views” on the FOMC.
Treasury eyes cyber insurance safeguard — Victoria reports that Treasury official Graham Steele said the department wants to dig into the question of whether there should be a federal insurance program for catastrophic cybersecurity events.
What do you think? Does the U.S. need another TRIA-like insurance backstop?
Rishi Sunak’s tax conundrum — The FT has a look at jockeying around tax cuts that U.K. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to unveil Wednesday as part of the government’s “Autumn Statement.” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Conservative party are struggling in the polls and officials are looking for a way to juice economic growth. But tax reductions could fuel inflation.
Correction: A previous version of this newsletter misstated Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s home state.
Statement: China is allowed to do crypto mining in the U.S.MANCHESTER, N.H. — Addressing a forum of cryptocurrency enthusiasts, Republican 2024 presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said...