Will FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried’s donations to Republicans ever be revealed? Group files complaint with FEC

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A watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission over “dark” money contributions that cryptocurrency kingpin Sam Bankman-Fried says he made to Republican candidates, which he admitted he funned through independent groups so the news media would not find out.

Bankman-Fried, former CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has not been able to explain where the billions of dollars of investor funds went, but at least $40 million of it went to Democrats.

“Mr. Bankman-Fried, who was, until recently, a crypto-currency billionaire and known top Democratic contributor, admitted during a recent public interview that he gave ‘dark’ money contributions to support Republicans in federal elections in the past cycle. He admitted that if his dark money contributions were known, public records would show he gave about equally to Democrats and Republicans this past cycle, and that he would likely be the second or third largest Republican donor,” the complaint by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a group that generally files legal complaints against Republicans.

“I donated to both parties. I donated about the same amount to both parties this year,” Bankman-Fried said in a YouTube interview.

It’s already known that Bankman-Fried gave money to some Republicans, such as a maximum-allowed contribution to the coffers of Sen. Lisa Murkowski. But it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what he could give under the cover of an independent expenditure group.

He aslo gave generously to Democrats and PACs supporting them, such as Protecting Our Future PAC.

Bankman-Fried and his co-founders at FTX contributed $300,351 to nine members of the House Financial Services Committee, Federal Election Commission records showed. The largest contributions were to Democrat members of the committee’s Digital Assets Working Group, which creates legislation surrounding the crypto industry.

“Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.), who chairs the committee, announced a probe this week into FTX’s collapse after the company declared bankruptcy, wiping out billions of dollars in customers’ portfolios. The Justice Department and Securities Exchange Commission are reportedly investigating Bankman-Fried for potential misuse of customer funds,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“Taking him at his word, Mr. Bankman-Fried was therefore able to direct approximately $37 million, and potentially much more, to influence federal elections while evading federal laws that require disclosure of the true source of contributions,” CREW alleges in its complaint. Bankman-Fried said — on YouTube — that he did so during primaries to elevate “good candidates” and diminish the “bad candidates.” And he admitted intentionally structuring his donations to avoid detection by the FEC.

It’s already known that over $40 million of Bankman-Fried’s ill-gotten gains, scammed from investors, was funneled to Democrats. As he has spoken to the media and podcasters, he let it be known that he also gave to Republicans, but structured his donations to GOP-linked groups to avoid reporting requirements, thus taking advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen United v. FEC ruling, which allows unions and corporations to make contributions to what are called “independent expenditure” groups, which are not allowed to coordinate with the campaigns.

The Citizens United decision “did not, however, permit organizations to act as pass-throughs for others’ contributions, or to make independent expenditures while keeping secret their own contributors,” CREW’s complaint says.

Bankman-Fried made a statement to CNBC about the complaint: “I will always support constructive, bipartisan lawmakers and candidates who support the causes I believe in — chief among them, prevention of the next pandemic.”

Read CoinDesk.com: Bankman-Fried apologizes to FTX employees in leaked letter

18 COMMENTS

  1. As surely as a man can find an extra day’s wear in a pair of socks, money will be used as palm grease: it has induced many public servants into making “hard and ponderous” decisions. And money being money, it would be naive to think that those who have it wouldn’t use it to influence elections!

  2. Yes, reveal the dark money he mention he gave to republicans. Which he did in secret because he did not want that fight from liberal reporters. All from the horse’s mouth.

  3. Maybe we can all agree unfettered election cash is a problem and Citizens United was a disaster for politics in this country. How about some concrete laws to limit the flow of cash and make all donations transparent.

    • That’s
      another move
      to more socialism. He was responsible for
      the money given through others investments who chose to invest. It was their responsiblity to know or get to know who that guy is before investing. Its not some government lawmaker or worker job to make more regulation to protect. This is. America.

    • Perhaps you know of some law that is so well written that it cannot be broken? Or has absolutely no loopholes?
      .
      And, if you really think Citizens United was a disaster for politics, you really do not know what Citizens United was about.

  4. Oh boy. It gets even more interesting re: donating equally to both parties. If true, could it be the mechanism to expose the national GOP’s decades long grift of its constituency?

  5. Too bad there isn’t a watchdog group looking into the unions practice of “borrowing “ money from their pension plans to donate to candidates, then being given taxpayer money afterwards. Now, that seems to be a conflict of interest. This pension bailout is not just Anchorage, it’s nationwide.

    • Too bad, eh, Trig! So you want to set the “dogs” loose on the other guys, eh? What a novel idea! Take it up with the Alaska Republican Party Central Committee and see what they think: Who knows, they may already be it!

        • I really don’t care what party benefits from dirty money. But my property taxes should not be used to support any political advertising. It is supposed to be used for essential services. Refer to the bus driver bailout.

  6. This points out a key difference between the typical progressive and the typical conservative. I have never witnessed a democrat politician be accused of shady money deals and not have a wave of libs screaming that he was being unjustly prosecuted. Conservatives will look at one of their own and if the evidence supports it, will tell them to step down and face legal charges. Think Duke Cunningham in California. It was found that he was taking money under the table and the party people gave him a timeline to resign and face a judge.

    If FTX gave money to Republicans, I want to know and I want to know who received it and when. I’m open to legal action if the charges are proven. I want a clean house.

  7. This wunderkind thinks that contrition is going to keep him out of jail – just listen to one of his interviews. Don’t get sucked in by the whole crypto thing. It’s a gee-whiz! solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. If you want to gamble, go to Vegas, where you can at least see some shows. And SBF, enjoy your last few days of sun in the Bahamas. Your extradition clock is ticking.

      • Digital currency issued by the Government will be welcome, and useful. The Bitcoin stuff, however has too may flaws to ever be widely used.

  8. Murkowski should not have donated the contributions she received from SBF; those funds are proceeds of fraud and as such, should be returned to the victims.

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