Cryptocurrency Holdings Should Be Disclosed By Members of Congress – Colorado Representative Jared Polis

News, Regulation | February 12, 2018 By:

Jared Polis, a Democrat congressman from Colorado and longtime bitcoin believer, has sent a letter to the House Committee on Ethics asking the organization to formally require members of Congress to disclose their cryptocurrency holdings.

In a written petition, Polis argued that because cryptocurrency assets are regarded as commodities by several agencies, members of Congress should follow the same financial disclosure requirements as for traditional assets.

“Members of congress should absolutely be required to disclose cryptocurrency holdings, just as they are required to disclose other assets, as to avoid any conflict of interests,” Polis said. “We must make sure Congressional disclosure requirements evolve with the times. The public deserves transparency.”

Currently, both the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) regard cryptocurrencies as commodities. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that gains from cryptocurrency are subject to federal income tax rules.

Polis said members of Congress and covered employees are already required to report certain asset holdings over certain amounts, including reporting any commodities holdings over $1,000. If a member or covered employee engages in a transaction involving a cryptocurrency that exceeds $1,000, including the purchase of a cryptocurrency as part of an initial coin offering (ICO) or a commodities future, they must provide an updated financial disclosure.

“Financial disclosures are critical to maintaining public trust in elected officials and the integrity of Congress,” said Polis. “The rise in the use of cryptocurrency as an alternate to conventional payments and investments obliges congress to take the needed actions.”

In May 2014, Polis became the first US representative to accept campaign donations in bitcoin. Polis vowed to protect bitcoin in Congress and to fight against any attempts by the government to enact policies that restrict the growth of the cryptocurrency.

In September 2017, Polis introduced a bill seeking capital gains tax exemption for holdings of cryptocurrencies below $600.