Miami mayor Francis Suarez’s presidential campaign received a donation from the CEO of the crypto firm MoonPay, the Miami Herald reported on Aug. 1.
That report states that a political action committee (PAC) supporting Suarez received a $500,000 donation from PassionForest, LLC, on Oct. 28, 2022.
The donation attracted further attention on July 25, 2023, when the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint. As part of its complaint, the group alleged that PassionForest was based in China, violating various campaign financing rules, including federal laws that bar foreign nationals from making PAC donations.
The Herald says that Suarez’s PAC has submitted a filing indicating that a crypto executive named Ivan Soto-Wright was behind the donation.
Soto-Wright’s representatives confirmed that their client made the relevant donation but said that PassionForest, LLC is a company that Soto-Wright owns and controls in its entirety. They also said the firm is not associated with the Chinese company that shares its name. Soto-Wright is otherwise best known as the CEO and co-founder of MoonPay, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency trading company.
However, the Campaign Legal Center told the Miami Herald it remains concerned over straw donation rules, meaning that a Soto-Wright may have violated those rules by donating through a company. Soto-Wright’s law firm, meanwhile, insisted that their client made a “personal contribution consistent with federal campaign finance laws.”
Suarez says China didn’t finance his campaign
On July 31, Suarez personally denied that the donation originated from a China-based company, stating that China did not contribute to any of his PACs. He said:
“As far as I know. Yes, I can say definitively that China has not contributed to any super PAC of mine.”
Francis Suarez has gained a reputation as a pro-cryptocurrency politician. As the Mayor of Miami, Florida, he accepted his some of his salary in Bitcoin in 2021 and supported the launch of a local cryptocurrency called MiamiCoin, through the CityCoins project.
In June 2023, Suarez announced that he would run for president as a Republican candidate. Though his platform is still largely unknown, Suarez has seemingly gained the support of cryptocurrency community members.
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