Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) has disclosed that she purchased up to $100,000 worth of Bitcoin just weeks after Senators sought to make adjustments to the bipartisan infrastructure package’s cryptocurrency reporting rules.
The Republican senator has been a longtime supporter of bitcoin, and previously told CNBC in June that she made her first bitcoin purchase in 2013 for $330 per bitcoin, adding that she owned five bitcoins as of the end of the month.
Lummis told the CNBC Financial Adviser Summit that she’d “like to see cryptocurrency, like bitcoin, become part of a diversified asset allocation that are used in retirement funds and other opportunities for people to save for the future.”
The senator has also said she would like to see stablecoins fully backed by cash and cash equivalents regulated.
Stablecoins are a new class of cryptocurrencies designed to have a stable price relative to traditional currencies, or to a commodity such as gold, making them less volatile than other digital assets.
CNBC stated that Lummis’s recent purchase was disclosed outside of the 45-day reporting deadline set by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act that prohibits members of Congress and other staff from “using non-public information derived from their official positions for personal benefit.”
Under the 2012 act, senators and senior staff with earnings above $119,554 are required to disclose certain financial transactions and must also report any purchase, sale, or exchange of any stock, bond, commodities future, and other securities on transactions above $1,000.
Darin Miller, a spokesman for Lummis’s office, told The Epoch Times in an email that the bitcoin purchase was “due to a filing error, and once we realized it we worked with the Ethics committee to fix it. It was an honest mistake, and the issue has been resolved without penalty.”
Lummis’s latest purchase was made less than two weeks after she joined Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in co-sponsoring a crypto-tax amendment to the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, presented by Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), that would better define the term “broker” with regards to cryptocurrency.
The argument would effectively decide who would and would not be exempt from broker reporting rules, and thus have to report information on trades to the IRS for tax enforcement purposes.
Lawmakers had differing opinions on the definition of “broker” and the amendment subsequently failed to pass by one vote.
Last month, China’s central bank declared all cryptocurrency-related transactions illegal while vowing to suppress the virtual currency market.
The People’s Bank of China said in a statement, translated by CNBC, that services offering trading, order matching, token issuance, and derivatives for virtual currencies are prohibited. Overseas crypto exchanges providing services in mainland China are also illegal, the PBOC said.
Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Tether, are among those specifically cited as not being “fiat money” and cannot be circulated, according to the bank’s statement, Bloomberg reported.