B.J. Guillot, a Republican running for Congress in Washington’s 2nd Congressional District, announced today that his campaign will accept donations in Bitcoin.
Because the Federal Elections Commission has offered unclear guidance on how candidates and Political Action Committees should treat the popular cryptocurrency, Guillot will only accept Bitcoin donations worth $100 or less. It’s possible that the FEC’s decision to allow Bitcoin donations could allow for larger amounts, but that’s not certain.
The Bitcoin donation jar dovetails nicely with Guillot’s own activities: He’s an active Bitcoin miner, and has spent the past year building up a mining rig that went from using desktop computers to specialized Application-Specific Integrated Circuits designed to mine the cryptocurrency as quickly as possible. The federal government’s current treatment of digital currencies is also part of why he chose to get into politics in the first place.
“One of the reason’s I’m in this race is because the IRS unfairly considers Bitcoin to be property rather than currency,” Guillot wrote in an email to GeekWire. “This distinction means all virtual currency transactions are subject to capital gains and losses which require tedious cost-basis calculations to ensure that one’s taxes are being done correctly.”
Guillot is a software engineer by trade: his campaign website cites his experience with Java, C, C++ and FORTRAN 77/90, and he holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Houston. He currently works as a Vice President in IT at Intermedix, and previously held multiple roles at ExxonMobil, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The Marysville resident is something of a newcomer to politics. Guillot is currently serving on the Marysville Library Board, which he joined in 2013.
Allowing people to contribute to a campaign using Bitcoin is the hot new thing in politics. A number of candidates are interested in allowing contributions using Bitcoin, including California Lt. Governor (and former San Francisco Mayor) Gavin Newsom, who announced that he would allow people to contribute to his re-election campaign using Bitcoin.