Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a prominent advocate for cryptocurrencies, recently announced his candidacy for president. However, his campaign received significant attention after a political action committee (PAC) supporting him received a $500,000 donation from PassionForest, LLC, a company that allegedly violated campaign financing rules.
The Miami Herald reported on August 1 that the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint regarding the donation. The center alleged that PassionForest, LLC, was based in China, which would violate federal laws prohibiting foreign nationals from making PAC donations. This raised concerns about potential campaign financing violations.
According to Suarez’s PAC filing, Ivan Soto-Wright, the CEO and co-founder of MoonPay, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency trading company, was behind the donation. Soto-Wright’s representatives confirmed his involvement but clarified that PassionForest, LLC is solely owned and controlled by him and is not associated with the Chinese company that shares its name.
Straw Donation Controversy
Despite Soto-Wright’s clarification, the Campaign Legal Center expressed concerns about possible straw donations. They argue that Soto-Wright may have violated campaign finance rules if he donated through a company. Soto-Wright’s law firm, on the other hand, maintains that the donation was a “personal contribution consistent with federal campaign finance laws.”
Mayor Suarez’s Response
Mayor Suarez personally addressed the controversy, denying any connection between the donation and a China-based company. He firmly stated that China did not contribute to any of his PACs and reiterated his commitment to abiding by campaign finance laws.
Francis Suarez has gained recognition as a politician supportive of cryptocurrencies. As the Mayor of Miami, he accepted a portion of his salary in Bitcoin in 2021 and championed the launch of MiamiCoin through the CityCoins project. This pro-cryptocurrency stance has endeared him to many members of the cryptocurrency community.
The controversy surrounding the donation to Mayor Francis Suarez’s presidential campaign raises questions about potential campaign financing violations. While the CEO behind the donation denies any wrongdoing and clarifies that the company is not associated with the Chinese entity, concerns about straw donations persist. As the mayoral race unfolds, it remains to be seen how this controversy will impact Suarez’s candidacy and his reputation as a pro-cryptocurrency politician.