A workshop for writers in Alaska. Californian food banks. a diabetes-fighting nonprofit.
The disgraced cryptocurrency tycoon Samuel Bankman-Fried gave lawmakers a ton of money, but they are now unable to move quickly enough to divert those funds to anywhere but their own campaign coffers.
Before being detained in the Bahamas this week, Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was a frequent political donor to both super PACs and individual candidates, from local campaigns all the way up to President Joe Biden. But in a matter of days, Bankman-Fried, an advocate of “effective altruism,” turned into a pariah who was accused of committing massive financial fraud and could spend years in jail.
More than 40 current and incoming lawmakers who accepted donations from Bankman-Fried during this election cycle were contacted by The Associated Press; they belonged to both political parties and both chambers of Congress but were primarily House Democrats. Many of Bankman-cash Fried’s recipients responded right away, emphasizing that they had already given to charity or intended to do so. Numerous people emphasized the fact that Bankman-Fried did not solicit the lawmakers to give her money.
Members of the highest echelons of the House and Senate Democratic leadership were among those who benefited from Bankman-campaign Fried’s generosity. The money was given to the American Diabetes Association by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who will take over as the party’s leader in the House of Representatives. Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., who will hold the position of third-ranking House Democrat in 2019 donated his Bankman-Fried contributions to regional organizations last month.
According to a spokeswoman, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the chamber, will donate his donation to a “appropriate charity.” Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who will be third in line for the presidency next year, will give her money to a regional nonprofit organization in her home state.
Bankman-contributions Fried’s were given to Planned Parenthood North Central States by Sen. Tina Smith, a Democrat from Minnesota. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., donated money to food banks all over the state. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, gave her donation to the Storyknife Writers Retreat in Homer.
The $5,800 that Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona received from Bankman-Fried was given to newly elected Democratic Rep. Andrea Salinas of Oregon. Gallego, a Democrat, has made it clear that he intends to run against Democrat-turned-independent Kyrsten Sinema for the Senate. Salinas defeated a rival supported by Bankman-millions Fried’s of dollars in spending during her Democratic primary.
Tens of thousands of dollars were also donated by Bankman-Fried to the major committees focused on electing congressional Democrats, and according to FEC records, $6 million was given to the House Majority PAC, a wealthy outside organization supporting House Democrats. When asked what they intended to do with Bankman-contributions, Fried’s representatives from HMP, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee did not respond.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission complaint, Bankman-Fried solicited more than $1.8 billion in investment from investors since May 2019 by pitching FTX as a secure, responsible platform for trading cryptocurrency assets, but secretly diverted those investors’ money to a privately held crypto hedge fund called Alameda Research LLC.
According to the SEC, Bankman-Fried used those customer funds to invest in unreported ventures, make opulent real estate purchases, and make significant political contributions. In an interview last month, Bankman-Fried stated that he gave money to both political parties, adding that “all my Republican donations were dark,” which is a slang term for anonymous.
In support of Bankman-Fried, Ryan Salame, the co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, one of FTX’s affiliates, donated millions of dollars to Republicans, including Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Rep. Greg Pence of Indiana, and other candidates.
Additionally, Bankman-Fried donated money to local charities on behalf of a number of newly elected House Democrats, including Becca Balint, D-Vermont, Nikki Budzinski, D-Illinois, Robert Garcia, D-Calif., Sydney Kamlager, D-Calif., Morgan McGarvey, D-Kentucky, and Brittany Pettersen, D-Colorado. Rep.-elect Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., claimed in a tweet that he rejects “stolen money” in addition to corporate PAC contributions and that he gave his donation to the Zebra Coalition, a group that supports LGBT youth.