Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democratic candidate for president, stood at the world’s biggest bitcoin conference in Miami in May and told the crowd, “I am not an investor and I am not here to give investment advice.” Then he announced he would be accepting campaign donations in bitcoin.
What Kennedy didn’t tell the crowd was that his family had invested in bitcoin recently, according to a financial disclosure form he filed June 30. On the twelfth page of the report, Kennedy lists a brokerage account that held between $100,001 and $250,000 worth of bitcoin. Hours after publication of this story, Kennedy’s campaign manager, former Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, told CNBC that the bitcoin purchase was made after the speech in Miami and before the June 30 filing deadline.
The situation could represent a conflict of interest if Kennedy were touting bitcoin on the campaign trail while his immediate family held the cryptocurrency, according to Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel for watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
“There is no conflict here,” Kucinich told CNBC in a follow-up interview.
Since the conference, Kennedy has continued to tout bitcoin.
In late June, he tweeted: “Bitcoin is not only a bulwark against totalitarianism and the manipulation of our money supply, it points the way toward a future in which government institutions are more transparent and more democratic.” The tweet includes a video of part of his Miami speech where he describes how he would be pro-bitcoin as president.
The filing says the bitcoin holding made less than $201 in income but doesn’t say when it was purchased. Nor does the filing say who purchased it or how much the family may have spent on their original investment. It also doesn’t say whether they sold their bitcoin holding.