WASHINGTON — Perhaps U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is trying to protect her investment.
The Hawaii congresswoman — who’s in the midst of a long-shot bid for president — signed on to legislation this month that would effectively block U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission oversight of cryptocurrency.
Gabbard of course made headlines in 2018 when she revealed in her financial disclosure filed with the House that she had purchased shares in both Litecoin and Ethereum, two blockchain currencies similar to Bitcoin.
Unfortunately for Gabbard, her purchases of the two cryptocurrencies — each ranging from $1,001 and $15,000 — came at the height of the market and plummeted shortly thereafter.
According to Roll Call, the bill Gabbard endorsed is backed by the blockchain industry. But there are still some who are concerned that the lack of SEC oversight could let bad actors off the hook.
The bill’s main sponsor, however, says it’s the lack of regulation that will allow the technology to thrive in the U.S. so that competitors such as China don’t dominate the market.
“Without it, the U.S. is surrendering its innovation origins and ownership of the digital economy to Europe and Asia,” Republican Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio said in a statement announcing the introduction of his Token Taxonomy Act.
“In the early days of the internet, Congress passed legislation that provided certainty and resisted the temptation to over-regulate the market. Our intent is to achieve a similar win for America’s economy and for American leadership in this innovative space.”
Gabbard’s own statement at the time was similarly optimistic.
“In Hawai’i and across America, local and state leaders are looking at the potential for blockchain technology to create and expand economic opportunity,” Gabbard said.
The Token Taxonomy Act, she added, will not only protect investors and foster innovation, but promote new business opportunities that “allow more diverse districts like mine to have greater security when participating in the digital economy.”
Gabbard’s stake is more than personal. It’s a new part of her day job, at least when she’s not too busy traveling the country and running for president.
This year after Democrats reclaimed control of the House she was re-appointed from the Foreign Relations Committee to Financial Services, which is led by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California.
That means Gabbard will be involved in more oversight of the banking industry in general and — with Waters as chair — investigations into President Donald Trump’s own financial dealings.
In February, the congresswoman even put out a call for applications so she could hire a new deputy chief of staff, one she preferred would have a strong background in communications and finance.
Stay Up To Date On The Coronavirus And Other Hawaii Issues