Mike Pence’s Nephew Among Binance’s Newest Lobbyists

Riot Platforms, a16z, Tether and Bakkt also add lobbyists to help deal with the regulatory aftermath of an eventful 2022


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Crypto firms are adding lobbyists as regulatory scrutiny is expected to intensify following a whirlwind year for the segment that featured the crashes of large industry players.

Binance has registered three new lobbyists from legal counsel firm Ice Miller, according to a filing, in a move spurred in part by the fall of one of the crypto exchange’s biggest rivals.

“Following the arrest of FTX’s former CEO, Binance.com received several inquiries from congressional offices seeking our perspective,” a spokesperson told Blockworks in an email. “As Binance.com had never previously engaged in Washington DC, we sought government affairs consultants that understood both crypto and our CEO’s role in the industry.”

Ice Miller, which had previously supported Binance.US, was “a natural option,” the representative added. The exchange’s US arm first hired lobbyists from the firm in 2021, Politico reported.

The latest lobbyist additions, which went into effect Tuesday, include the nephew of former US Vice President Mike Pence.

John Pence, now Ice Miller’s director of public affairs, was a senior adviser for the Trump-Pence presidential campaign from 2016 to 2020.

He “helps with issue monitoring and engagement at the federal level for clients,” according to the Ice Miller’s website. Pence is not licensed to practice law in any state and does not provide legal services.

Jarrod Loadholt and Meagan Bolton are also set to lobby for the crypto exchange, the filing shows. 

Loadholt, a partner in Ice Miller’s public affairs group, formerly acted as a senior counsel to the US House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. He also worked as senior oversight counsel to the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

More recently, Loadholt was head of Credit Karma’s first director of legislative and regulatory affairs, a role in which he managed the company’s government relations function.

Before joining Ice Miller, Bolton was technology, telecommunications and judiciary counsel for US Sen. Gary Peters, chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. 

She was also previously the tech and telecom counsel for the US House Committee on Small Business.

A Binance spokesperson did not comment on what Pence, Loadholt and Bolton will be doing for the company specifically. The lobbyists’ assistant did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Others looking to engage more with DC, too

Tether, Bakkt, a16z and Riot Platforms are also looking to lobby in DC, Politico first reported

Venture capital firm a16z has registered Collin McCune as its first lobbyist, a spokesperson confirmed. McCune joined the company as its head of government affairs in November. 

For nearly four years before that, he was deputy staff director of the House Financial Services Committee. 

“With crypto legislation now at the forefront of the policymakers’ minds, we felt it was essential to take this step,” an a16z representative told Blockworks.

“We look forward to working with policymakers to ensure that crypto legislation strikes the balance of providing consumer protections while not stifling the future of Web3’s promise,” they said.

Crypto marketplace Bakkt added Steptoe & Johnson as a lobbyist in December, while Tether registered Continental Strategy to lobby on its behalf last month, separate filings show. 

“We expect the legislative and regulatory conversation to accelerate this year and we plan to meaningfully contribute to it on important topics such as consumer protection, risk and controls, and sound governance,” a Bakkt spokesperson said.

The market capitalization of stablecoin tether is roughly $68 billion, behind only bitcoin and ether. Stablecoin regulation will be a major priority for Congress this year, Bitwise’s general counsel told Blockworks last month. 

“As the creator of the stablecoin, we feel it is critical for our voices to be heard so that we can help ensure lawmakers, regulators and anyone engaging in digital commerce have a complete and accurate understanding of the utility of these assets,” a Tether representative told Blockworks.

Riot Platforms also registered Brian Morgenstern as a lobbyist last month, according to a filing, after hiring him as its head of public policy. 

Morgenstern was a deputy assistant secretary at the US Department of the Treasury and was a deputy communications director and special assistant to then-President Donald Trump. 

A spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

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