This week Colorado House Representative Jared Polis sent a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Ethics asking the organization to propose statutes that require government employees to declare their bitcoin and digital currency holdings.
House Representative Jared Polis: ‘Government Employees Should Report Any Virtual Currency Holdings’
U.S. bureaucrats are ramping up efforts to try and regulate the decentralized currency bitcoin and the slew of other cryptocurrencies that exist. On February 5, the House Representative Jared Polis who is known as “bitcoin-friendly,” submitted a request that urges the House Committee on Ethics (HCE) to provide guidance on how politicians can disclose their digital asset holdings. Polis states that in a lot of U.S. territories digital assets are defined as securities or commodities, and U.S. politicians are already required to declare traditional assets. Polis says it is “critical” that the HCE provide this type of guidance to government employees.
“Members of Congress and covered employees are already required to report certain asset holdings over certain amounts, including reporting any commodities holding over $1,000,” Polis argues in his petition to the HCE.
A Member or covered employee should report any virtual currency holding as they would report any other commodity, such as gold.
Financial Disclosures Are Critical to Maintaining Public Trust
Polis says that it is clear existing statutes that require asset disclosure can easily cover virtual currencies. The Coloradan representative also remarks that the ethics committee should look towards the guidelines already drafted by government agencies such as the IRS, SEC, and CFTC. In addition to commodities like gold, the U.S. Stock Act requires politicians to disclose real-time purchases and sales of stocks acquired. Anything that exceeds over $1,000 whether it be a stock or a commodity must be declared to the public, and Polis says cryptocurrencies are no different. Polis writes in his HCE petition:
Financial disclosures are critical to maintaining public trust in elected officials and the integrity of congress — I look forward to working with the committee on this issue.
The House representative concludes that the increasing use of cryptocurrency as an alternative to traditional payments and investments necessitates congress to take the appropriate actions. Polis believes a set of virtual currency disclosure guidelines will help “maintain transparency and deter potential conflicts of interest.”