Rhode Island Democrat Senator Says Cryptocurrencies Can Be Accessories In Election Meddling
A security specialist told a group of U.S. senators on 26th June that digital currencies are “tailor-made” for foreign powers hoping to impact American elections.
Scott Dueweke, director of threat analysis company DarkTower, came as one of several witnesses showing up prior to the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism to talk about the possible use of cryptocurrencies by foreign agents so as to impact American elections. He asserted that Congress must concentrate on identity remedies to avoid excessive foreign impact on forthcoming elections.
The general consensus of witnesses and senators was that virtual currencies were not as accessible or as widely used when Russians meddled in the U.S. presidential election in 2016, but now should be considered a potentially formidable weapon in the arsenal of those wishing to confuse voters or disrupt the vote.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island said cryptocurrency and shell companies are open pathways for foreign interference in American elections.
“Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs can use the exact same tactics that American special interests use to spend anonymous money in our elections and secure influence,” Whitehouse said.
To which Dueweke added, “Russia has been able to leverage these virtual currencies.” He considered the idea of using legislation to enforce more stringent identity requirements on individuals donating to a political campaign the need of the hour.
Another witness, Financial Integrity Network vice president David Murray, noted that cryptocurrencies can be used by foreign entities to avoid detection when donating to political parties or politicians. He explained his position by saying,
“When donors use financial intermediaries such as banks to execute donations, the location of the financial intermediary is a data point that campaigns can use to identify foreign donors.”