Tennessee Bill Aims to Clarify Bitcoin Campaign Donation Rules

Pete Rizzo
Feb 20, 2015 at 21:55 UTC

tennesseeThe man behind a new bill before the Tennessee Senate is seeking to ensure that the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) approval of bitcoin campaign donations will be honored in the southern US state.

Introduced on 18th February by state Senator Steven Dickerson, a Republican from Nashville, the aim of Senate Bill 647 is to amend Tennessee Code to accommodate digital currency as an approved payment method. The bill would effectively add “digital currency” so that it is considered a valid monetary contribution to campaigns.

Addressing why the bill is necessary, Dickerson painted the measure as one that would support the FEC’s wider ruling last year.

Dickerson told CoinDesk:

“That ruling applies to federal elections. There was possible ambiguity as far as state races. This bill would remove any ambiguity.”

Dickerson went on to state that he intends to try to pass the bill in the Senate, before it moves to the House of Representatives. SB 647 must pass both chambers and be signed by the state governor to become law.

Sale before use

The bill would have no impact on the donation limits imposed by the FEC, but in current form, would require candidates to sell digital currency before they spend the funds.

Still, Dickerson said this part of the bill is “up for debate”.

“If a vendor would provide a candidate goods or services that could be paid for with bitcoin, that might be an option. This bill may or may not be amended,” he added.

Dickerson said he is now moving forward on gathering a list of witnesses that will provide testimony about the bill before any relevant senate committees. Further, he estimated the event could be held within the next two to three weeks.

Tennessee image via Shutterstock

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