Market Analysis

New Bill Would Force Congress to Disclose Crypto Holdings

The bill is an effort to improve the transparency of the U.S. government.

Key Takeaways

  • A new bill would require members of the U.S. Congress to report their crypto holdings.
  • Congress members would face penalties of $500 or more for failing to disclose on time, and $66,000 or more for purposefully falsifying their report.
  • The bipartisan bill was submitted to the House of Representatives only three days prior to the Ethics Committee launching an investigation into Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s crypto activities.

A new bill working its way through the House of Representatives would require members of Congress to report the value of any purchase, sale, or exchange of cryptocurrencies over $1,000. 

The Cryptocurrency Accountability Act

A bill was introduced on May 20 in the United States House of Representatives that would oblige U.S. lawmakers to disclose their cryptocurrency holdings along with their other financial interests.

The “Cryptocurrency Accountability Act”, introduced by Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) alongside Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD), is an amendment of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 that requires public officials to disclose their financial and employment history.

Under the law, members of Congress would be required to describe the date and value of any purchase, sale, or exchange of cryptocurrencies exceeding $1,000, as well as disclose the size and nature of their long-term holdings. The bill also applies to their spouses and dependent children.

Failing to report crypto holdings in a timely fashion would result in a fine of either $500 or an amount equal to 5% of the value of the asset (whichever is highest). In the case of a Representative purposefully falsifying their report, the fine may be brought up to $66,000 or an amount equal to 5% of the value of the asset (again, whichever is highest). 

Rep. Slotkin said in a Twitter post that “Americans deserve to know their elected leaders have the public’s best interests at heart and aren’t trying to make a quick buck off their position. My Cryptocurrency Accountability Act will improve transparency [and] help stop the corruption that erodes confidence in our government.”

The bill was introduced only three days prior to the House Committee on Ethics launching an investigation into Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), who is suspected of promoting a cryptocurrency in which he may have had a financial interest. The token, named “Let’s Go Brandon” after the chant mocking U.S. President Joe Biden, crashed to zero in January and has not recovered since.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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