Members of Congress Who Have Traded Crypto Since 2020 – Decrypt
Rep. Madison Cawthorn caught a lot of flak this week for being late to disclose $950,000 worth of cryptocurrency trades that included Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana.
But he’s far from the only person in Congress who’s traded crypto, and not alone in filing his reports late.
According to the STOCK Act, which was passed in 2012, members of Congress, their staff and employees of the Executive Branch have to disclose stocks, bonds, commodities, and other equities trades within 45 days of the transaction. The House Committee on Ethics added cryptocurrencies to the list in a 2018 memorandum.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was granted a 90-day extension on every annual financial disclosure report he’s filed since he was elected. And Sen. Cynthis Lummis (R-WY) disclosed her purchase of $50,000 and $100,000 worth of Bitcoin on August 16, 2021 in a report filed 52 days after the transaction occurred—a week after it was due.
It can be difficult to pin down exactly who owns what because the way lawmakers fill out their forms varies.
For example, Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL) lists individual stocks, like Coinbase (COIN), that get bought and sold through her husband’s Individual Retirement Account (IRA). But many of her colleagues simply list the name of a retirement or money market account without detailing each stock that’s in them.
It shows a clean partisan split: Republicans buy actual cryptocurrency, and Democrats stick to crypto-related stocks, like Coinbase (COIN) and MicroStrategy (MSTR).
Who bought crypto?
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican who’s been representing Texas in the Senate since 2013, reported purchases between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of Bitcoin on the River Financial exchange on Jan. 25. The report was filed on Feb. 4.
Cruz has become an avid supporter of the crypto industry. In January 2021, in the aftermath of the GameStop short squeeze that pumped the company’s shares by 400% over the course of a week, Cruz took a rare step to say he agreed with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) when she called for a hearing on Robinhood’s decision to block retail investors from trading GME during the squeeze.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Sen. Pat Toomey has represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate since 2011. He notably bought between $1,000 and $5,000 worth of Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETH) on June 14, 2021, and between $1,000 and $5,000 worth of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust in June 2021.
Toomey has a track record of being crypto-friendly, asking his fellow lawmakers not to “strangle this baby in the crib” after Facebook teased the launch of its Libra Project. The project never made it off the ground, but he’s continued to support crypto-friendly legislation.
In April, he debuted a draft of the Stablecoin Transparency of Reserves and Uniform Safe Transaction Act. The TRUST Act explicitly says that stablecoins would not be treated as securities and limits the issuance of them to insured depository institutions, money transmitting businesses, or a national limited payment stablecoin issuer.
Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican who’s been representing Wyoming in the Senate since 2009, likes to brag that she first bought Bitcoin in 2013. More recently, she reported that she bought between $50,001 and $100,000 worth of Bitcoin on August 16, 2021, through River Financial.
She also reported that she bought between $100,001 and $250,000 worth of Bitcoin through Unchained Capital in her 2021 annual report, filed on May 16, 2022. Lummis also noted that a qualified blind trust that will hold her BTC is pending approval from the Senate Ethics Committee.
House of Representatives
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who’s been a member of Congress since 2005, bought between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) on Jan. 13, 2021, and reported it on a Feb. 26, 2021, disclosure.
At the time McCaul invested in GBTC, it was still trading at an 18% premium compared to net asset value, or NAV, of actual Bitcoin. But GBTC lost the premium, meaning it stopped outperforming Bitcoin, in February 2021 and hasn’t been able to regain it since then.
As of Friday, June 10, GBTC was trading at a 30% discount compared to Bitcoin.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC)
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, a Republican, has represented North Carolina since 2021.
In a June 8 financial disclosure, he reported having traded between $116,000 and $265,000 worth of Kryll (KRL), $61,000 to $215,000 worth of Ethereum (ETH), $48,000 to $195,000 worth of Solana, $47,000 to $180,000 worth of Bitcoin, $3,000 and $45,000 worth of Request (REQ), the native token for the Request Network, and $15,000 to $50,000 worth of Let’s Go Brandon (LGB).
In an earlier disclosure, filed on May 27, Cawthorn reported that he had purchased up to $250,000 LGB on Dec. 21 and then sold at least $100,000 of it on Dec. 31.
Former Rep. Kenny Merchant, a Republican who represented Texas in the House of Representatives from 2005 to 2021, bought between $2,000 and $30,000 worth of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust in two trades in October 2020.
At the time he bought the GBTC shares, the fund was trading at an 18% to 20% premium compared to Bitcoin. This means that, at the time, GBTC was trading above the value of BTC.
Merchant disclosed his trades in reports filed 50 and 56 days after the transactions occurred.
Rep. Mark Green (R-TN)
In March and April 2021, Rep. Mark Green bought between $2,000 and $30,000 worth of Ethereum Classic (ETC), $2,000 to $30,000 worth of Dogecoin (DOGE), between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of Chainlink (LINK), $1,000 to $15,000 worth of EOS, and $1,000 to $15,000 worth of Stellar Lumens (XLM).
That makes Green one of two members of Congress to have traded DOGE.
Ethereum Classic and the Ethereum mainnet used to be one and the same. It still exists, but the last time Ethereum Classic transactions were in sync with the current mainnet was on July 20, 2016.
He then sold between $2,000 and $30,000 of his ETC, $1,000 to $15,000 worth of his DOGE, and a portion of his LINK and XLR holdings in May.
On May 12, he bought $1,000 to $15,000 each worth of Basic Attention Token (BAT), the native token of the Brave privacy browser, and Celo (CELO), a blockchain ecosystem optimized for mobile phones. Four days later, he sold between $1,000 and $15,000 each of BAT and CELO.
All of his financial disclosures were filed on time.
Rep. Felix Moore (R-AL)
In May 2021, Rep. Felix Moore, a Republican who’s been representing Alabama from 2010 through 2018, then assumed the open seat in January 2021 after Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) retired. He bought $3,000 to $45,000 worth of Cardano (ADA), $1,000 to $5,000 worth of Dogecoin (DOGE), and $1,000 to $5,000 worth of Ethereum (ETH).
He reported all the trades in a July 3, 2021 statement—outside of the 45-day disclosure window specified by the STOCK Act.
He then sold a portion of his Cardano (ADA) holdings worth between $1,000 and $5,000 on Oct. 23, 2021. He reported that sale just four days later, on Oct. 27.
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL)
Rep. Michael Waltz, a Republican representing Florida since 2019, reported that he bought between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of Bitcoin on June 14 and June 16. Each of the trades was reported on time in July.
But take note: Waltz filed a request for an extension on a report that would have been due on May 15, 2022. That means he has other trades that warrant disclosure. His new due date is August 13.
Who bought crypto stocks?
Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL)
Rep. Marie Newman, a Democrat from Illinois who’s represented the state since 2021, reported 18 Coinbase (COIN) trades in July 2021 worth between $100,000 and $235,000 and bought between $16,000 and $65,000 worth of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) in two trades, one in November 9, 2021 and another on January 4, 2022.
Rep. Tomasz Malinowski (D-NJ)
Rep. Tomasz Malinowski, a New Jersey Democrat who’s been serving in the House of Representatives since 2019, sold short between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of Microstrategy (MSTR) shares on July 11, 2019. He then bought between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of MSTR on August 16 the same year to cover his short position.
Both transactions were disclosed two years after they occurred, on August 27, 2021.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
The Colorado Democrat, was a member of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He resumed office in 2007 and has since said he will not seek re-election in 2022.
Perlmutter reported the purchase of between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of Coinbase (COIN) shares on Sept. 23, 2021 and reported it on Oct. 27, 2021. The shares were then sold on Dec. 21, 2021, which was disclosed in a Jan. 26, 2022,…