Crypto Super PAC spends $2M on attack ad targeting NY lawmaker


The Fairshake group, a political action committee (PAC) backed by crypto firms including Ripple and Coinbase, has spent more than $2 million opposing the incumbent in the Democratic primary for New York’s 16th Congressional District.

According to United States Federal Election Commission data, Fairshake spent more than $2 million on a media campaign opposing Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman’s reelection. As of June 16, outside interest groups had contributed roughly $9 million opposing Bowman, who is facing off against Democrat George Latimer in a June 25 primary. 

The Fairshake attack ad, which does not specifically mention crypto or blockchain, claimed Rep. Bowman spent his career “pushing dangerous conspiracy theories.” In response to earlier opposition ads funded by a different Super PAC, high-profile Democratic lawmakers including Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez backed Bowman’s reelection.

Source: Stand With Crypto

According to congressional records, Rep. Bowman voted against the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century (FIT21) Act — a bill that had support from 71 Democrats and 208 Republicans in the House of Representatives — the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act, and a joint resolution overturning a Securities and Exchange Commission rule on banks handling crypto. Latimer, who served in the New York State Senate from 2013 to 2018, has made few, if any, public statements on digital assets.

Moe Vela, a former Director of Administration for then-Vice President Biden, told Cointelegraph that such attacks were an “effective tool” to rally voters but encouraged PACs to focus on legislation rather than individual candidates for office. Cointelegraph reached out to Fairshake, but the group declined to comment on the matter, adding:

“Our focus continues to be on supporting candidates on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers who will stop playing politics and pass clear and responsible rules of the road […]”

Money in politics

Fairshake may have already impacted U.S. elections. California Representative Katie Porter lost a primary race for the Senate in March after she was targeted by the Super PAC’s ad, which claimed she took campaign contributions from “big pharma, big oil, and the big bank executives.” Rep. Porter later said the crypto industry tried to “bury a conversation” on digital assets with the media buy.

Related: ‘Flood of money’ from crypto Super PACs could fund potential challenger to Elizabeth Warren

With less than five months before Election Day in the United States, the crypto industry has continued to get involved with politics. Coinbase, one of Fairshake’s original backers, donated another $25 million to the Super PAC in June, raising its total funds to roughly $160 million. Crypto mining executives also launched a project to initially educate voters on Bitcoin (BTC) and later influence U.S. elections.

Among the major party presidential candidates are U.S. President Joe Biden, Republican Donald Trump — who may be sentenced to prison in July following his 34 felony convictions — Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Libertarian Chase Oliver. President Biden and Trump are scheduled for a televised debate on June 27 ahead of their official nominations.

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