Failed Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke has claimed that he returned a $1 million donation from disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried; however, it appears that he did not return all of the money, according to a report.
A spokesman for O’Rourke said in November that the campaign returned the “unsolicited” $1 million donation Bankman-Fried gave the Texas Democrat in October. An O’Rourke spokesman said that the refund was issued prior to FTX’s bankruptcy and the discovery of Bankman-Fried’s reportedly illegal business practices.
However, the Washington Free Beacon found that the O’Rourke team did not return all of the money:
But O’Rourke’s latest campaign filing contradicts those assurances. In a report last week, the campaign disclosed a $900,000 refund to Bankman-Fried on Nov. 4. The campaign said it is holding on to the other $100,000 pending the outcome of the investigation of Bankman-Fried, who has been charged with campaign finance violations and fraud related to his cryptocurrency firm, FTX. [Emphasis added]
The O’Rourke campaign said it will place the money in a fund for “victims of FTX’s collapse.” It is not clear why the campaign only reserved part of the donation for victims. And the pledge contradicts the campaign’s initial claim that it received and returned Bankman-Fried’s donation before news broke of his wrongdoing. FTX declared bankruptcy on Nov. 11.
But an extra $100,000 on the books would come in handy for O’Rourke, whose campaign has just $212,356 cash on hand. It is unclear whether O’Rourke plans to run for office in the future. He lost by 11 points this year to Texas governor Greg Abbott (R). He lost a 2018 Senate race against Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race two months before the first primary.
Neither Chris Evans, an O’Rourke spokesman, nor anyone from O’Rourke’s campaign responded to requests for clarification on these seeming inconsistencies, the Free Beacon reported.
O’Rourke’s campaign has not said if they will return a $100,000 donation from FTX executive Nishad Singh.