Ethics Watchdog Bars US Government Employees From Writing Crypto Policy if Invested

A new legal advisory from the Office of Government Ethics bars federal workers who own crypto from working on policies that could influence the value of their digital assets.

AccessTimeIconJul 6, 2022 at 8:46 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:21 p.m. UTC
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U.S. officials who are personally invested in cryptocurrencies are now disqualified from working on crypto-related policy and regulation that could affect the value of their assets.

A legal advisory notice issued by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) on Tuesday declared that the de minimis exemption – which, when applied to a security, would allow the owner of an amount below a certain threshold to work on policy related to that security – doesn’t apply to any cryptocurrency or stablecoin, even if the cryptocurrencies in question “constitute securities for purposes of the federal or state securities laws.”

The directive applies to all White House staff and the employees of all federal agencies, including the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department.

The directive will likely have a significant impact on some White House staffers who have been open about their crypto investments, like Tim Wu, a technology adviser to the Biden administration who holds millions of dollars in bitcoin. Wu has already voluntarily recused himself from working on crypto policy.

Federal employees who have invested less than $50,000 in a mutual fund with exposure to the crypto sector will still be allowed to work on crypto-related policies.

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Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon was a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.


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