It’s completely legal for U.S Senators Cynthia Lummis and Pat Toomey to own Bitcoin or Bitcoin-related investments. All they have to do is disclose. This poses an ethical quandary. Sens. are at the forefront in policymaking and are currently writing the regulations around cryptocurrency. On the other hand, it’s illogical to think that Senators can’t handle money or have investments. Do you see a conflict? Let’s argue.
As a basis, we’ll use and analyze this article, based on the “Wall Street Journal review of public financial disclosures.”
What amount of Bitcoin do Lummis and Toomey have?
Cynthia Lummis has been a leader in the fight for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency legislation. However, we’re centering our discussion around her and Pat Toomey because they’re literally the only Senators that disclosed Bitcoin-related investments. It’s amazing to see how far we have come. But enough about that, let’s go to the numbers.
According to reports, Cynthia Lummis has 5 BTC. According to the WSJ:
“Ms. Lummis’s roughly $250,000 of bitcoin makes her the most heavily invested U.S. lawmaker in the digital asset.”
Pat Toomey, for his part, went to Grayscale in search of Bitcoin and Ethereum exposure
“In mid-June, Mr. Toomey bought $2,000 to $30,000 of stock in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust and Grayscale Ethereum Trust, investment vehicles that seek to track the coins’ prices. He said the holdings are part of a diverse portfolio.”
So far, so good. However…
What ethical issues are you concerned about?
Recently, via Instagram stories, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she’s not exposed to cryptocurrencies in any way. “I don’t think members of Congress should own / trade individual stocks and I choose not to own any so that I can remain impartial in policymaking,” she said. And later added, “I want to do my job in the most ethical and impartial manner possible.” Does she have a point?
Back to the article, let’s quote Lee Reiners, “executive director of the Global Financial Markets Center at Duke University and a former official at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”
“These two senators are the most vocal when it comes to favorable cryptocurrency regulation. It’s not to say they are motivated by personal financial interest, but it’s fair to question their advocacy. It’s problematic given their holdings.”
Is it, however, problematic? Let’s give the Senators the right to reply.
BTC price chart 12/21/2021 Bitstamp Source: BTC/USD at TradingView.com| Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
Lummis and Toomey: What do they think?
In a recent interview, Toomey said, “Following that logic, then I guess no one in the Senate can invest in anything. That would be ridiculous.” Plus, let’s remember, it’s completely legal to do so. In Lummis’ case, take into account that “her bitcoin is part of a broad portfolio that includes her family’s cattle ranches.” The WSJ quotes her:
“Somebody said, ‘She should sell her bitcoin.’ It’s like, well, OK, it’s a commodity. What about my cows? Do I need to sell my mutual funds or not? Should I sell my retirement fund, just because it might be invested in something that is a great store of value?”
There’s another factor, and this is crucial. The Senators also “say their experience with cryptocurrency gives them expertise on a subject that few on Capitol Hill have studied.” Can you understand Bitcoin if you’ve never used it? Don’t you need to be experienced in something to be able to make informed decisions? If all of the other Senators don’t have Bitcoin exposure or any experience with this novel technology, how can they be trusted to dictate policy?
It’s scary to think that the people deciding over what could become the new paradigm, the evolution of money, have never used the technology and solutions it provides. And that’s the other side of this debate.
Featured Image by jensjunge at Pixabay | Charts by TradingView