The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the legislators of the Tennessee State House have voted 61 to 28 in favor of allowing Bitcoin to be accepted as a campaign "gift" in state elections. The bill passed the Tennessee Senate last month and awaits the Governor's signature which could render it law, though given that application of the Gubernatorial veto is rare in Tennessee as it takes the same simple majority from each house of the General assembly which initially passed the bill to override the veto.
While it is unsurprising elected officials who depend on campaign "gifts" to continue their careers would overwhelmingly support any avenue they can find which just might increase their funding, the bill woefully overestimates the power of Tennessee to constrain the power and flow of Bitcoin. The bill purports to limit contributors to citizens of the United States and to this end enforce this restriction by demanding of contributors a name, address, and employer. Information that could readily be farmed from a combination of the phone book's whitepages and LinkedIn or more lulzily from the Tennessee Department of Corrections inmate locator. Bitcoin makes it very possible for a foreign jokester to paint one candidate a favorite of murderers and another the favorite of Child molesters.
Of course the ease it which Bitcoin allows circumventing the limitations on foreign campaign "gifts" could very well have been an exceedingly decisive factor in fuelling the passage of this bill. Federal law enforcement agencies are very adept at tracking the movement of United States Dollars. Bitcoin opens the members of the Tennessee General Assembly to pursuing all of the Foreign patronage they might want in a way that presents opportunities to frustrate the tight net of Federal investigators.