Biden’s Communications Director LaBolt Faces Crypto-Related Restrictions, Yet Advises on Regulation

CryptoMode LaBolt Halt

In a recent revelation, the White House has decided to enforce certain restrictions on Communications Director Ben LaBolt’s involvement with his former clients, including prominent names like decentralized exchange UniSwap and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. However, despite these limitations, LaBolt will continue to play a role in advising the president on cryptocurrency regulation.

Restrictions on Ben LaBolt’s Involvement with Former Clients

According to a Bloomberg Law report published on April 22, Ben LaBolt, White House Communications Director, will be prohibited from engaging in legal matters, investigations, or contracts related to cryptocurrency or technology companies he has previously represented. 

This move comes after an April 21 public financial disclosure report identified UniSwap and Andreessen Horowitz as two of LaBolt’s former clients while at Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI).

The report disclosed that both UniSwap and Andreessen Horowitz and 21 other clients paid fees exceeding $5,000 per year to BPI while LaBolt served as a partner. Other notable names on the list include Meta Platforms, Shopify, and West Street, the family office of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

LaBolt Has Cryptocurrency Holdings

In the assets and income section of the disclosure, LaBolt revealed holdings of $50,001-$100,000 in Bitcoin and $15,001-$50,000 in Ethereum 2 (ETH2).

According to the report, the imposed restrictions on LaBolt align with the ethics rules applicable to other senior White House staff members.

Despite these limitations, LaBolt can advise President Joe Biden on regulating cryptocurrency and social media companies. 

This development follows the president signing an executive order (EO) on digital assets on March 9. While not specifying any regulatory actions, the EO set forth an interagency process involving 16 high-ranking officials and producing a series of reports with varying deadlines.

Reactions to the Executive Order

The EO has garnered attention from both government officials and industry leaders. Republican “Crypto Senator” Cynthia Loomis of Wyoming approved, stating, “It’s great to see the Biden administration’s growing interest in digital assets.” 

Ari Redborn, Head of Legal and Government Affairs for blockchain-based intelligence firm TRM Labs, also shared his thoughts on the EO, saying that he was “expecting certain things and the positive tone was not necessarily one of them.”

He will still play a significant role in shaping the administration’s approach to cryptocurrency regulation. This balance seeks to maintain ethical standards while also leveraging LaBolt’s expertise in the rapidly evolving digital assets landscape.

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