Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mark Warden's Funny Money

It seems Frank Guinta isn't the only NH Republican who's been using funny money. From WaPo

When New Hampshire State Rep. Mark Warden last ran for reelection, his campaign staff urged him to try something that few other political candidates have dared to do: accept contributions in bitcoins.
It didn't take much convincing. New Hampshire is already a haven for advocates of the virtual currency. Within the first three days, the Republican lawmaker had raised 160 bitcoins, equivalent to about $1,600 at the time. That's not insignificant for a candidate who would go on to collect a total of $11,000 in the 2012 electoral cycle.
As NH readers are aware, the 400 NH state representatives earn a stipend of $100 a year. Mark Warden raised $11,000 in campaign funds? Most people spend $1000 on their House campaigns. What did Warden do with all that money? 
It's also worth pointing out for those who aren't familiar, Mark Warden is a member of the Free State Project, who moved here from Nevada, to pursue his dream of a Randian paradise. 
Some of Warden's donations came from surprising sources. He found his digital wallet bursting with contributions from places as far afield as Europe and South America after international well-wishers learned of his campaign through the Bitcoin community's tight-knit grapevine.
"They didn't know anything about me or about Goffstown, New Hampshire," Warden said. "But everyone in that world wants to see Bitcoin become mainstream."
Warden quickly realized that accepting international donations could put him on the wrong side of election law. So, he gave back all the money he raised from foreign sources and struck an arrangement withBitpay, the third-party service that facilitates bitcoin transactions. (Bitpay normally charges a 1 percent fee. But the company wanted Warden's campaign to help drive bitcoin adoption, so it charged him the discounted rate of 0.5 percent, Warden said.)
Bitcoin is a currency of choice for drug dealers and black marketeers who want no records of transactions. Can Warden PROVE his claims about not using overseas money, or are we taking his word for it? 
According to NH House ethics rules, legislators aren't allowed to accept gifts valued at more than $25.  Did Warden's Bitcoin discount exceed the $25 amount? 

h/t to Catarina Garcia at FoxyCart for the great unicorn.


susanthe said...

Anonymous: This is a comment section. Posting the link to an article does not qualify as a comment.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. The US DOLLAR is the currency of choice for drug dealers and black marketeers. Cash also has no record of transaction.

susanthe said...

It's funny - I was going to be less tough in moderating my comment section - and the first 2 comments come from some dolt with a link. The third was from Bob Robertson - the biggest bore in the FSP.

I had such good intentions.

susanthe said...

Dear Anonymous - yawn.

I happen to think that candidate campaign financing should be transparent. What are your reasons for being opposed to that?

Anonymous said...

You're taking Mark's word that he received ANY overseas contributions, so why wouldn't you accept his word that he returned them?

susanthe said...

Reporting what he says is not the same as "taking his word for it."

Again - should candidate campaign financing be transparent? If not, why not, Anonymous?

Ofer Nave said...

That explains why he voted for all those subsidies for Europe and South America... except no such thing has occurred.

Do you have an informed opinion on his actual actions as a legislator, or do you just like slinging mud on someone who's values you disagree with because it's easier than debating real issues?

Just another day in the land of partisanship.

susanthe said...

Dear Nave,

If you care to address the blog piece, I'd be interested to hear it. Your attempt at changing the subject and turning it into blaming me somehow is so dull witted and sad.

Try harder.

Anonymous said...

Um, why would the man admit that some of the money came from overseas and take steps to stop it if he didn't want to try to obey by your rules? Bitcoins are like cash, there's no real way to trace it so it would have been much easier just to keep his mouth shut and use the money.

susanthe said...

Um, because saying that makes him look like he's following the rules. But - how do we know? There's no transparency.

Still waiting for someone to explain why it's a good thing to have a lack of transparency in candidate funding.

Or is it just okay for FREE STATE candidates?