U.S. prosecutors charged Samuel Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, with violating campaign finance laws, according to an eight count indictment released Tuesday.
Open Secrets estimates Bankman-Fried and FTX executives donated $70 million to political campaigns in the last 18 months. Bankman-Fried personally donated $40 million to left-wing initiatives, and more than $200,000 to Republicans, according to disclosures.
On page eighteen of the indictment, Bankman-Fried was charged with “knowingly and willfully” donating to federal candidates, along with political action committees, in the name of other persons and corporate entities over the threshold of $25,000 in one calendar year.
A part of the indictment reads:
It was a further part and object of the conspiracy that SAMUEL BANKMAN-FRIED, a/k/a “SBF,” the defendant, and others known and unknown, would and did knowingly and willfully make contributions to candidates for federal office, joint fundraising committees, and independent expenditure committees in the names of other persons, aggregating to $25,000 and more in a calendar year, in violation of Title 52, United States Code, Sections 30122 and 30209(d) (1) (A) & (D).
It was a further part and object of the conspiracy that SAMUEL BANKMAN-FRIED, a/k/a “SBF,” the defendant, and others known and unknown, would and did knowingly and willfully make contributions to candidates for federal office and joint fundraising committees by a corporation, aggregating to $25,000 : and more in a calendar year, in violation of Title 52, United states Code, Sections 30118 and 30103(d) (1) (3).
Bankman-Fried and FTX executives donated to a number of high-profile Democrats through political action committees. Some of the politicians include Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) ($20,000), Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) ($20,000), and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) ($10,000). Establishment Republicans Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., AK) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) also received the legal maximum from Bankman-Fried and company, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Overall, Bankman-Fried was the second largest donor to Democrats in the 2022 election cycle – just behind George Soros.
It is unknown at this time if politicians will have to return the money if Bankman-Fried is found guilty of violating campaign finance laws. Stabenow told Market Watch she intends to donate the portion of the funds she received to a charity. But Stabenow is just one member of Congress to have received funds from the now-disgraced cryptocurrency exchange CEO.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.
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