Crypto PAC allocates $1 million to support Ohio Rep. Shontel Brown over Nina Turner

Progressive congressional candidates are aware of a new variable that is turning the pre-election reckoning of races across the country on its head: cryptocurrency. Some candidates benefit from taking crypto-sympathetic positions, while others are facing an onslaught of crypto spending that is changing their primaries.

In the 2021 snap election, former state senator Nina Turner faced more than $2 million in outside spending from the super Democratic PAC majority for Israel, turning the race for Shontel Brown in recent weeks. In the rematch, Turner faces a new obstacle. The Super PAC, funded by crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Freed, Protect Our Future, has already spent more than $1 million to support Brown. according to the Federal Election Commission reports. And this week, the US Congressional Progressive Group backed Brown after endorsing Turner last year.

In Oregon’s newly elected 6th district, a handful of local candidates fought for the nomination before Carrick Flynn charged into the race with ungodly backing from the Bankman-Fried supercomputer.

So far, the Flynn-backing supercomputer has lost about $6 million in this sleepy race, followed by an astounding $1 million cash injection from the House Majority PAC, a superPAC linked to the House Democrats themselves. In the process, they undermined several progressive candidates — three of them women of color — with deep roots in the region and a political base of support that would have made them formidable opponents in the general election. (The PAC Majority House did not respond to a request for comment.)

Party intervention was met with a rare joint statement from the field, which denounced the intervention “at a time when the cryptocurrency industry is looking to increase its influence in Washington.”

Applicants raised the question of whether they witnessed a quid pro quo result, suggesting that the source of the $1 million for HMP must be demanding something in return. “With so much to protect the House, how can they afford to run in the primaries? Why is this happening? Where does this money come from? And what does his source want in return?

There is so much crypto being poured into the campaign that Oregon’s surge in 6th place threatens to wash away the crypto bro already in the race. Cody Reynolds explained to Willamette Week that after four previously unsuccessful runs for federal office, he devised a new strategy and set to work in the crypto world, hoping to turn his new wealth into political power. “I used to naively think that I could do it with ideas and passion,” Reynolds. said, “but the political system is no longer a marketplace for ideas. It’s also about reach and money.” Reynolds loaned $2 million to his new campaign to get started.

In a typical year, a county that is 6 points ahead of the Democratic would be a relatively comfortable blue seat. But in a year with headwinds for Democrats, the place is very much in play. And while millions in crypto can help a candidate in an obscure primary, the general election is a different story, especially against a well-funded Republican capable of blowing up his opponent as a tool of the crypto industry. In other words, according to local Democratic activists, the majority GAC in the House of Representatives may well be spending heavily to support a candidate who will end up being the weakest candidate in the general election.

2011 Citizens United’s decision, passed 5 to 4 along party lines, legalized the spending of unlimited money on congressional campaigns. The result – an explosion of cynicism that threatens democracy itself – was predictable, even if the pace of collapse was unexpected. In the last generation, progressive candidates seeking to challenge the democratic center of power knew they would have to face obstacles, most of which had to do with the big money interests they opposed.

Some have defied simply saying yes to the crypto agenda. State Rep. Jasmine Crockett, who ran for the District of Texas to replace Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, had no history of being either an outspoken advocate of crypto or anti-regulation, but when faced with an issue during the campaign, she supported political positions endorsed by the crypto PAC. . Two Major Crypto Super PACs came with a million dollars eachhelping put her first.

Bankman-Fried-affiliated PAC Protect Our Future also spent $2 million to support Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath in her redistricting-driven contest between members. PAC also supports Nikki Budzinski in Illinois and endorsed New York Representative Richie Torres, cryptographer.

One of the most outspoken critics of crypto in Congress for the Democratic Party is California Rep. Brad Sherman. In this cycle he challenged Aarika Rhodes, a schoolteacher who organized her entire campaign around the defense of cryptography and opposition to Sherman’s critical approach, and enlisted the support of cryptographic advocates. Whether or not his spending against Sherman shifts or not, other actors and challengers are watching the dynamic: Opposition to crypto is in danger of being stumped by the industry, and support for crypto is generating a tsunami of supportive spending.

However, the reverse is not true: opposition to cryptocurrency is not encouraged by any organized group, and support for cryptocurrency is not punished by any organized group. This type of asymmetry has long shaped the niche political debate in Washington. Proponents of agricultural subsidies, for example, spend heavily to raise awareness of their problem, but there is little organized opposition to these subsidies—because no one cares—so the subsidies go through Congress.

It’s also reminiscent of previous relationships that Democrats have built with voters who could alternately be hostile or supportive. In the early 1980s, as the Democrats moved into large-scale corporate fundraising, the party looked at Wall Street cash in ways that are both analogous to its relationship with cryptocurrencies and in some respects fundamentally different. Until the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s, banking became a boring industry that did not arouse much public anger. While labor unions will object to Democrats getting into bed with auto industry executives and environmental groups will complain about polluting industries, taking money out of the banking industry will not come at a high political cost.

Similarly, the public may be generally skeptical about the path that crypto is taking, with increased skepticism among progressive voters, but it’s not an issue that rivals healthcare, wages, climate change, or civil rights in importance. What can go wrong?

%d bloggers like this: