Cryptocurrency Supporters Boost Greg Tanaka’s Congressional Candidacy | New
Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Tanaka, an outspoken digital currency advocate, received a $265,000 boost from a cryptocurrency political action committee in his bid to unseat Rep. Anna Eshoo in Congress.
DAO for America, a political action committee created to support candidates advocating for cryptocurrency, made six contributions to Tanaka in May totaling $265,250. The organization’s website says it mobilizes voters “to support candidates who understand the role digital assets can play in leveling the playing field and creating a fairer society.”
These DAO for America contributions are classified as independent expenses and, as such, are not subject to the same limits as direct contributions to Tanaka’s campaign. According to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, the committee used funding for digital advertising, phone and text communications, and direct mail in support of Tanaka.
Tanaka is one of seven candidates seeking to unseat Eshoo, who was first elected in 1992 and enjoys a sizable lead in cash raised from the field, with around $1.48 million in direct contributions of individuals and political action committees, including those affiliated with tech giants. Applied Materials, Varian Medical Systems and Lockheed Martin.
The top two voters in Tuesday’s primary will advance to the November ballot, regardless of political affiliation. The heavily Democratic district stretches along the Pacifica coast north of San Jose and encompasses large parts of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, including Palo Alto, Mountain View, Woodside, Portola Valley and parts of Menlo Park and Atherton.
Besides Eshoo and Tanaka, the field includes Democrats Ajwang Rading and Rishi Kumar, Republicans Peter Ohtaki, Benjamin Solomon and Richard Fox, and John Fredrich, an independent.
While Tanaka remains well behind Eshoo in campaign contributions, DAO’s independent spending for America is more than double the amount his campaign raised in direct contributions. According to federal documents, he received $119,000 in contributions for his bid to replace Eshoo.
As such, independent spending gives him a financial edge over the other two Democrats vying to replace Eshoo in District 16. Kumar, who faced Eshoo in the general election two years ago, brought in $294,440 in contributions for the current application. Rading, an attorney who had been on US Senator Cory Booker’s staff, raised $233,339. Both received almost all of their funding from individual contributions. Rading brought in a total of $500 from the committees while Kumar received no contributions from any committee.
The three Democratic challengers have emphasized different issues during their campaigns. Kumar, a high-tech executive who sits on the Saratoga City Council, is a proponent of congressional term limits that accepts no input from political action committees. Rading, who grew up homeless, stresses the need to build more affordable housing and switch to fully renewable electricity by 2035.
Tanaka, meanwhile, has stood out for his fierce support for cryptocurrency. A tech entrepreneur, he was elected to the Palo Alto council in 2016 and has always been an advocate for business interests. He has opposed moves by the city in recent years to cap office development and is the only council member who opposes Palo Alto. current attempt to introduce a business tax.
Earlier this year, Tanaka proposed to Palo Alto to get into the cryptocurrency business by creating its own digital currency. People could get credit for civic activities such as attending council meetings or volunteering. Tanaka said the new currency would protect the city against inflation.
“There’s a whole economy that can grow around these city-specific tokens,” Tanaka said at the board retreat in February.
Although no one on the board endorsed the idea, Tanaka continued to embrace his support for cryptocurrency. During an April discussion with Cityroots DAO, a cryptocurrency discussion platform, Tanaka criticized current lawmakers and policymakers for their failure to understand emerging technology.
Cryptocurrency, he argued, “represents financial freedom.”
“It represents sound money,” Tanaka said. “It’s a way of allowing the general public to have real wealth.”
Read more primary election news, including information on local races and metrics, in our voter guide.