Brad Sherman’s Crazed Bitcoin Attack Isn’t Quite Lawsuit-worthy

Brad Sherman won’t be on the receiving end of a lawsuit… this time.

OPINION
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Planet Crypto / Blockworks

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It’s fair to say that Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) is not a fan of the cryptocurrency industry.

Sherman has previously spoken extensively on the subject: “Cryptocurrencies are a crock […] They help criminals and terrorists […] they help startups perpetrate fraud […] undermine the dollar, encourage gambling for no social benefit [..] and are popular with guys who want to sit on their couch and tell their wives they are going to be millionaires.”

Quite why it’s not popular with women who sit on the couch and tell their husbands they’re going to be millionaires isn’t clear. But let’s be frank, misogyny comes in many forms.

Sherman is now upping his rhetoric. (Yes! Really!) And his assertion puts the con back into Congressman, designed as it is to advance a false, but damaging, narrative.

Quote-tweeting The Bitcoin Conference, Sherman wrote that “60 years ago, the late great Robert F. Kennedy #RFK went after tax evaders as U.S. attorney general. Today, his son is slated to speak at a conference for tax evaders.”

A conference for tax evaders.

A sitting US Congressman just libeled me, and maybe you too.

His assertion is untrue and defamatory. I have attended The Bitcoin Conference, but I do not evade taxes. I have never evaded taxes. I do not intend to evade taxes. I may not love paying taxes, but I pay them anyway.

Yes, of course I’m terrified of the IRS — who isn’t, given the fact that you have to perjure yourself every time you file? — and that’s certainly an incentive to file correctly. But I also believe in the social contract.

I like roads, I like bridges, I like nuclear weap… okay, I like certain things I can’t afford on my own, and if I disagree with the way the government spends the money I send them, I express my opposition at the ballot box.

Just like you. Just like thousands of other crypto investors who pay their capital gains taxes.

Unfortunately, and as we all know, politics is the real pay-to-play game.

Brad Sherman is a politician who has done very well out of people who are threatened by cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

In 2021/22, the sector that donated most to Sherman was… the Securities & Investment industry, at $339,650.

In 2019/20, the sector that donated most to Sherman was… the Securities & Investment industry, at $246,965.

In 2017/18, the sector that donated most to Sherman was… the Securities & Investment industry, at $149,767.

Before this, it was mainly real estate. But then Sherman began attacking the crypto industry, and things changed.

From 2019-2023, by the way, Sherman served as Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets

Who else do we know who’s supposed to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation, and who really has it in for crypto?

Ah.

Anyway, here are a few facts.

  • Brad Sherman says that The Bitcoin Conference is for tax evaders.
  • I am an attendee of The Bitcoin Conference.
  • I pay my taxes, and can prove it.
  • Sherman should be aware, given his position, that people who sell Bitcoin pay taxes.
  • Sherman’s statement causes me reputational harm, since “tax evaders” are held in dubious esteem.

Unfortunately, if the group of people being defamed is large enough, and you’re not personally identifiable within that group, you can’t sue. (Any attorneys in the audience who disagree, feel free to ping me.)

But I’ll be watching Brad Sherman’s words carefully in future.

Just in case I get the chance to make him eat them.


This op-ed first appeared in Blockworks’ newsletter. Subscribe below.

Thanks to Planet Crypto for this week’s illustration.


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