Ireland to prohibit donations of cryptocurrencies to political parties
In a move aimed at preventing Russian interference
in the European nation's elections against the backdrop of rising tensions
between the West and Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, Ireland is preparing
a ban on political parties accepting donations in cryptocurrency.
The Irish Local Government Minister, whose department is working on electoral reform, Darragh O'Brien said, “The appalling invasion of Ukraine and insidious disinformation war highlights the ongoing fundamental threats faced by all democracies.”
Electoral Reform Bill 2022 proposes new political integrity rules to reduce the risk of foreign interference in Irish elections, as well as to introduce safeguards against misinformation campaigns.
Crypto donations can conceal the identity of a donor, increasing the risk of foreign governments entering a campaign using dark money.
Both the Ukrainian government and Russian Federation have turned to cryptocurrencies for fundraising and as a way to evade sanctions, as their war with Ukraine has moved online. Both sides are registering hacking attacks on government websites and databases.
Irish law is not the only one restricting political donations in cryptocurrencies. California banned cryptocurrency donations to political campaigns in 2018 due to a perceived lack of transparency. North Carolina, Oregon, and Michigan have similarly adopted rules limiting cryptocurrency donations.
According to a report by Ireland's Independent newspaper, the Electoral Commission has the power to issue take-down notices to social media platforms and alerts if misinformation is being spread online.
In addition to introducing guidelines for advertising on the internet for political purposes, the new Electoral Commission of Ireland's new guidelines also requires parties to declare clearly how their ads are funded and who they are targeting. Political parties must also report whether they adhere to new regulations.
CBW - External Analyst