Samuel Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, earned nearly $40 million in political donations in the 2022 election cycle, according to a CBS News review of campaign finance data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
Bankman-Fried was charged Tuesday with a variety of financial crimes, including campaign finance violations and a “fraudulent scheme and tactic” by using her funds to pay off the debt of her other company, Alameda Research, to FTX customers. is included. He is currently in jail in the Bahamas.
Public records of Bankman-Fried’s money show that it primarily went to support Democratic committees and candidates. He donated $6 million to the House Majority PAC, the main outside group supporting House Democrats. He also gave $250,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $66,500 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The bulk of his political donations — $27 million — control the “Protect Our Future PAC,” a group advocating for pandemic preparedness.
The “Protect Our Future PAC” spent $24.2 million on independent expenditures (mailers, ads) to support 19 Democratic House candidates, including Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia and recently elected Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida and Jasmine Crockett of Texas. Carrick Flynn, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the Oregon Democratic primary, saw $10 million in outside spending from the “Protect Our Future PAC”.
Under federal campaign finance law, candidates must have no say or knowledge of outside groups spending independent expenditures to support or oppose them.
Bankman-Fried said in a late November interview that her donations to Republicans were roughly equal to her donations to Democrats, but that “all my Republican donations were black.” He also said that he made all these donations during the primary competitions.
He said, “If you donate to a Republican, get the f*** out of the reporters, because they’re all super liberal. And I didn’t want to fight that, so I blacked out all the Republicans.” ” Interview, he thought he could be the “second or third largest” GOP donor this cycle.
This quote in particular prompted an FEC complaint to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, which says that Bankman-Fried was able to direct millions of people to “influence federal elections, while avoiding federal laws.” requires disclosure of the actual source of contribution.”
A federal charge brought against Bankman-Fried alleges that she and associates made political donations under other people’s names, which would be a campaign finance violation.
“West Realm Shire Services”, listed as the official PAC for FTX, gave $1 million to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund, as well as $750,000 to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Congressional Leadership Fund.
“All this dirty money was used in Bankman-Fried’s desire to buy bipartisan influence and influence the direction of public policy in Washington,” Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a press conference Tuesday. ” “These contributions were disguised to look like they were coming from wealthy co-conspirators, when in fact the contributions were funded by Alameda Research with stolen client money.”
In addition, two individuals who worked with Bankman-Fried, Ryan Salame, co-CEO of FTX Digital Marquees, and Nishad Singh, director of FTX Engineering, also made millions of dollars in political donations. Neither has yet been indicted on federal charges similar to Bankman-Fried’s, and a court filing Wednesday suggested Salme may have made tips about Bankman-Fried’s actions.
Salme spent $24.5 million in donations, primarily to Republican candidates through the party’s “WinRed” platform. He gave $2.5 million to the Senate Leadership Fund and $2 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund. He gave $89,200 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and $109,500 to the National Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Salme donated $13 million to the “American Dream Federal Action” hybrid PAC, which spent $12.2 million on independent expenditures to support Republican Senate and House candidates such as Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois and Senator-elect Katie Britt of Alabama. .
Singh donated over $12 million, of which $2.25 million, to Women Vote!, the independent spending arm of Emily’s List; $1.1 million to the LGBTQ Victory Fund and $1 million to the Senate Majority Fund, the main outside group for Senate Democrats.
Singh and Bankman-Fried donated a combined $6 million in 2020 to the “Future Forward PAC”. This PAC endorsed Biden’s 2020 presidential run.
Most of the campaigns that have received direct contributions from Bankman-Fried told CBS News that they have already donated or plan to do so. Due to federal contribution limits, these numbers are small compared to its other donations to the PAC and range from $2,900 to $5,800.
Sen. Tina Smith, a Democrat from Minnesota, received $5,800 from Bankman-Fried this year. Her office says she has already donated those campaign contributions to Planned Parenthood North Central states.
Bill Cassidy, a Republican Sen. of Louisiana who is up for re-election in 2026, received $5,800 from her in August 2021. cause.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, received $5,800 from Bankman-Fried in June 2022. Gillibrand’s spokesman Evan Lukaske said she donated the money to Arriva, Inc., a nonprofit based in the Bronx borough of New York City that aims to promote personal wealth and economic development in low- to moderate-income communities.
A spokeswoman said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey, is expected to donate $5,800 to the charity. Sen. Alex Padilla of California donated the contribution he received last month, according to his office.
Two notable Democrats, incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, also took contributions from Bankman-Fried, according to Bloomberg, and plan to donate the money they received.
Bankman-Fried donated $5,800 several times to the campaign of Maine Senator Susan Collins. She returned additional donations in September and October 2021, citing contribution limits. Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, a potential 2024 Senate candidate in Arizona, also returned an additional donation from Bankman-Fried in March of 2021.
“I have never solicited donations from SBF, but they have donated to my campaign. We are an operation that rejects corporate PAC$$, which means we reject stolen money as well, ” Tweeted Frost. “I don’t want or need support from the people doing those scam jobs, and I’m going to fight to get black money out of politics.”
John Woolley contributed to this story.