North Carolina Representative Patrick McHenry may have used his virtual appearance at a cryptocurrency conference as a soapbox to solicit votes in the 2022 US midterm elections.
In a pre-recorded message to attendees at the Converge22 conference in San Francisco on September 29, McHenry suggested that the goal of a “clear regulatory framework” for digital assets could prompt US lawmakers to develop legislation. The Republican lawmaker used terms like “bipartisan consensus” and support from both major political parties on certain regulatory frameworks related to digital assets and stablecoins before apparently encouraging crypto users to vote red in the upcoming election.
“To ensure these technologies thrive here in the United States, we need to provide regulatory clarity to the digital asset ecosystem,” McHenry said. “This will be one of my top priorities if I become chairman of the House Financial Services Committee in the next Congress.”
The current chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Representative Maxine Waters, was approved by the Democratic Caucus in 2018 to serve in the leadership of the committee after the party regained control of the House of Representatives. Under House rules, the majority party recommends a chair, while the minority party recommends a ranking member.
McHenry seemed to suggest that by voting with the goal of Republicans taking control of the House, he would prioritize policies for crypto users. At press time, 221 representatives in the House caucus with Democrats, while Republicans hold 212 seats. The slim majorities in both the House and Senate have many pundits suggesting Republicans have a chance to flip both chambers of Congress in the 2022 midterms in November.
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Under U.S. Federal Election Commission rules, candidates, campaigns, and political action committees generally must add a disclaimer to any ad promoting the election of a candidate or the defeat of a candidate. other unless it is considered “of minimal value”. While McHenry’s speech focused heavily on the bill and suggested that stablecoins were a “bipartisan entry point for Congress to bring clear rules to the digital asset ecosystem,” mixing crypto and politics is nothing new for the space.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong made waves in September 2020 after a blog post in which he described the crypto exchange as “laser focused on achieving its mission” as part of a company who largely abstained from participating in US politics. The crypto exchange launched a voter registration portal in August as part of a crypto politics education initiative.