Increasingly vocal Bitcoin supporter Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) bought the dip, purchasing between $15,001 and $50,000 worth of Bitcoin shortly after it hit its lowest point during a recent sell-off.
According to a February 4 financial disclosure, Cruz purchased between $15,001 and $50,000 worth of Bitcoin through the brokerage River Financial on January 25―the day after Bitcoin’s recent price slump bottomed out at $33,110 and began climbing to around $37,000 the day of the purchase. Since June 2018, rules passed by the House Ethics Committee have required members of Congress to disclose crypto holdings worth at least $1,000 in annual disclosures.
Cruz’s support has grown louder along with rising prices in cryptocurrencies over the length of the pandemic, though a monthslong sell-off has cratered prices (again) and has only just begun to show some signs of a potential reversal.
In August, Cruz introduced an amendment to strike language from Biden’s infrastructure bill that broadly defined what a crypto “broker” was to tighten reporting rules that lawmakers believe will help generate $28 billion in tax revenue over a decade (he is still attempting to repeal that language). In September, Cruz opposed Biden’s nomination for the Saule Omarova to run the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency because he feared the federal bank watchdog would "regulate crypto into oblivion." Cruz also introduced a resolution that would allow merchants on Capitol Hill accept cryptocurrency payments.
Cruz has recently become a vocal Bitcoin booster in Texas as well. In October, he told the Texas Blockchain Summit that Texas would "become the center of the universe for bitcoin and crypto," thanks to an exodus of Chinese bitcoin miners and the state's abundance of wind and fossil fuel energy. In the wake of the statewide grid’s repeated and recent failures, Cruz has also said that he believes the Bitcoin mining industry can play “a significant role [in] strengthening and hardening the resilience of the grid.”
Besides Cruz, there are only a handful of members of Congress―three of them Senators―who hold at least $1,000 in crypto. According to Bitcoin Politicians, a crowdsourced data project tracking financial disclosures to see which members of Congress are holding crypto, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), who’s been buying since 2013 and thanked God for Bitcoin, holds between $100,000 and $250,000 in Bitcoin while Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) owns between $2,000 and $30,000 in crypto-linked mutual funds.
Not every politician in Congress is snapping up crypto even as they navigate legislating around it, however. In December, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she doesn't own any Bitcoin and suggested it wasn’t ethical for members to trade or hold crypto or any other digital asset.
“Because we have access to sensitive information and upcoming policy, I do not believe members of Congress should hold/trade individual stock and I choose not to hold any so I can remain impartial about policy marking,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Instagram, answering a question about if she held any crypto. "I also extend that to digital assets/currencies (especially because I sit on the Financial Services Committee). So the answer is no because I want to do my job as ethically and impartially as I can," she added.
Cryptocurrency is, of course, just one aspect of the financial instruments that members of Congress are allowed to trade, despite ethical concerns. A week after Ocasio-Cortez's Instagram video, Insider found that members of Congress and highly-paid Capitol Hill staffers regularly violated the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act hundreds of times with little consequence. That same day, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dismissed the idea that members of Congress should be banned from trading securities. “We are a free market economy,” she said. “They should be able to participate in that."
Pelosi, whose multi-million dollar trades have come under increasing scrutiny, slightly modified her position in late January and said at a weekly press conference that “I just don't buy into [a ban on trading stocks], but if members want to do that I'm OK with that.” Slowly, Congress seems to be moving towards a stock ban, though there’s nothing to suggest a crypto trading or holding ban will arrive anytime soon despite politicians investing in crypto while also promoting it and legislating around it.