FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been the top Democratic campaign contributor, but has given significant amounts of money to Republican candidates and organizations in the run-up to the midterm elections.
Bankman-Fried, whose cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX went bankrupt in recent weeks, transferred approximately $262,200 to Republicans during the 2021-2022 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission records. His contributions to Republicans paled in comparison to the nearly $40 million he gave to Democratic campaigns, but were still a significant amount compared to most Americans.
“I have a responsibility as a member of the industry to try to regulate us, to move the industry in a more responsible direction,” Bankman-Fried said in an interview with NBC News anchor Chuck Todd in September. “I think it takes engagement. I think it would be irresponsible for me not to reach out to Capitol Hill, to the regulators.”
The cryptocurrency entrepreneur added that political fundraising has given federal lawmakers more access.
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His largest donations to Republican candidates and organizations include a $105,000 check to the Alabama Conservative Foundation, $50,000 to the conservative group Heartland Resurgence, and $45,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
The Alabama Conservative Foundation was a major backer of Alabama Sen. Katie Britt, and Heartland Resurgence boosted Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., and ran ads against his GOP primary challenger, Jake Bequette. The NRCC is the primary fundraiser for House Republicans.
“Britt’s campaign did not (and did not) receive the money … it was cited,” Britt spokesman Sean Ross told Fox News Digital.
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Ros noted that linking political campaigns to Super PACs is prohibited.
“Katie will be an advocate for common-sense policies that protect healthy consumers while promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and investment at home, rather than pushing the digital asset economy overseas to places like China,” Ross said.
In addition, Bankman-Fried made maximum individual donations during the election cycle to Buzman and incumbent Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, John Hoven of North Dakota, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Bankman-Fried gave it to Collins and Cassidy, despite their next election being set for 2026. And Burr announced in 2016 that he would retire in 2023. The only maximum donor to Burr during the current period was Rob Granieri, the company’s manager. Jane Street, former employer of Bankman-Fried.
The Hoeven campaign told Fox News Digital that it donated the funds it received from Bankman-Fried to the Salvation Army. A spokeswoman for Cassidy said her campaign will make a donation to Bankman-Fried’s Louisiana charity.
In addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on conservative PACs and Republican candidates, Bankman-Fried donated $2 million to GMI PAC, a pro-cryptocurrency political action committee. In turn, the PAC transferred $5.85 million to the left-leaning Web3Forward PAC and $2.8 million to the right-leaning Crypto Innovation PAC.
It’s unclear whether Bankman-Fried’s donation to GMI PAC went to Crypto Innovation PAC, which only supports Republicans, including Boozman.
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However, Crypto Innovation PAC gave about half of its spending to Michelle Bond of New York. He was defeated despite the endorsements of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Donald Trump Jr. Bond’s partner is Ryan Salame. Executive at FTX.
FTX did not respond to a request for comment. The NRCC and the campaigns for Boozman, Burr, Collins and Murkowski also did not respond to requests for comment.