A new super PAC backed by major cryptocurrency players, including Coinbase, has launched a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign aimed at crushing Representative Katie Porter, a Democrat running in the California Senate primary.
The super PAC, Fairshake, along with its affiliated groups Protect Progress and Defend American Jobs, has amassed a combined total of approximately $80 million, with significant contributions from Coinbase, Ripple Labs, and Andreessen Horowitz.
Fairshake’s aggressive move comes as the race for the California Senate seat intensifies, with Porter facing tough competition from fellow Democrats Representative Adam Schiff and Representative Barbara Lee, as well as Republican candidate and former baseball player Steve Garvey.
Despite the primary being held in March, the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the November general election.
— Eleanor Terrett (@EleanorTerrett) February 6, 2024
Coinbase-backed Fairshake Accuses Porter of Misleading State
Fairshake has accused Porter of accepting campaign funds from other industries and misleading the state about her record, according to a recent report from the New York Times.
The super PAC plans to release a barrage of anti-Porter advertising.
The group has already started booking advertising slots across California, intending to saturate markets statewide.
While the exact reasons behind the crypto industry’s opposition to Porter remain unclear, the NYT report said it is likely her stance on regulating the industry and her viral grilling of a financial chief executive that have drawn their ire.
Fairshake and its affiliated groups openly advocate for favorable crypto regulations and are using political spending as a means to achieve their objectives.
Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, personally donated $1 million to the group in September.
At the time, he emphasized the influence of money in the political system, drawing parallels to the lobbying efforts of the oil and gas and banking industries.
Fairshake and its affiliated groups have attracted the attention of prominent Democratic and Republican consulting firms.
Impact Research, a polling firm that worked for President Biden in 2020, and Jamestown Associates, an ad-making firm that produced commercials for former President Donald J. Trump, are among the firms that have received payments from Fairshake.
Additionally, the group has enlisted the services of polling firms Schoen Survey Research and Global Strategy Group, which work with numerous congressional Democrats.
Katie Porter is an Elizabeth Warren Ally
On Capitol Hill, Porter has been a close ally of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has been a vocal critic of the lax regulations surrounding cryptocurrency.
In October 2022, Porter joined Warren in sending a letter to Texas regulators addressing crypto-related concerns.
Meanwhile, Schiff, who has been actively campaigning to boost Garvey’s chances over Porter, has a statement about the crypto industry on his policy page, writing about the need to nurture such innovative industries.
“We need to develop comprehensive regulatory frameworks to ensure that these companies and jobs stay here and grow here,” the page reads.
Notably, Fairshake and its affiliated groups have already made smaller campaign contributions to candidates such as Representative Patrick McHenry, the Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
They have also supported Shomari Figures, a Democrat running for the House in Alabama, who has pushed for digital assets like cryptocurrency to drive innovation and technological advancement.
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