Anonymous Crypto Interests Bombard Key Senator Sherrod Brown With Political Ads

New crypto advocacy group Cedar Innovation Foundation is running digital ads in Brown's Ohio to persuade him to buck SEC Chair Gary Gensler, but Cedar won't say who's behind it.

AccessTimeIconDec 13, 2023 at 10:27 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 6:39 p.m. UTC
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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is arguably the most important lawmaker currently standing in the way of a crypto regulation bill, and industry interests have paid for a new campaign in his own back yard to nudge him.

The brand new Cedar Innovation Foundation – a crypto-backed organization that won't identify who is funding it, according to an official there – is pushing videos at younger voters in Ohio's metro areas, which suggest the Securities and Exchange Commission run by Chair Gary Gensler is forcing technology jobs overseas and stifling innovation to favor his friends on Wall Street.

"Tell Sherrod Brown to stand up to Gary Gensler," one of the ads implores. "Fight for Ohio jobs."

Brown has been highly critical of the consumer dangers in the cryptocurrency sector, and he isn't moving significant crypto legislation through his committee so far, despite several of his members from both parties having authored bills. When he addressed crypto oversight at the SEC, he praised the agency's aggressive enforcement posture and encouraged it to keep going.

Cedar said it had made a "six-figure" state-wide digital ad buy and added that it's prepared to devote millions more through 2024. With its shadowy funding, the nonprofit will sponsor "educational workshops, networking receptions, and training seminars throughout the year for all congressional staff and policymakers."

The campaign to influence Brown is the first foray.

"SEC Chair Gary Gensler is protecting the big banks, stifling American innovation and willing to ship critical American technology and jobs to China," according to the organization's website. "Senator Sherrod Brown needs to use his power as Chair of the Senate Banking Committee to stand up to Gensler and fight for Ohio jobs."

Brown, who's been in office for 16 years, faces a reelection battle that's expected to be tight. In the 2020 presidential election, Ohio strongly favored the Republican candidate, former President Donald Trump.

Spokespeople for the SEC, where Gensler often speaks in his own informational videos that routinely warn about the risks of digital assets, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the campaign.

Read More: Most Important U.S. Senator for Crypto’s Future Tells Regulators to Use Existing Powers

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.

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