Crypto comes to Washington. Will the millions buy influence?

Congress Crypto Lobbying
FILE – Indiana state Sen. Erin Houchin, R-Salem, left, speaks with Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford during a legislative hearing at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on Aug. 21, 2021. American Dream Federal Action, a super PAC financed by a cryptocurrency CEO, saturated the district with ads promoting Houchin as a “Trump Tough” conservative who would “stop the socialists in Washington.” That push helped secure her win last week in a Republican primary. (Kelly Wilkinson/The Indianapolis Star via AP, File)

By BRIAN SLODYSKO and FATIMA HUSSEIN Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Erin Houchin braced for the worst when a mysterious, well-financed group started buying television ads last month in her highly competitive southern Indiana congressional race.

Houchin assumed she would face a negative blitz, like the one that crushed her in 2016 when she ran for the same seat. But, in fact, the opposite happened.

American Dream Federal Action, a super PAC financed by a cryptocurrency CEO, saturated the district with ads promoting Houchin as a “Trump Tough” conservative who would “stop the socialists in Washington.” That push helped secure her win last week in a Republican primary.

“All you can do is hold your breath,” Houchin’s longtime consultant, Cam Savage, said of when they learned about the ad buy. “It could help you, but the fear is it will end you.” He added that Houchin had not sought the support and had no ties to the industry other than filling out a candidate survey from a cryptocurrency group.

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