Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX Cronies Gave $300k to House Committee Members Investigating Him
Representative Sam Bankman-Fried, along with executives from his cryptocurrency company, contributed hundreds of thousands of dollar to the House committee which will hold hearings next month about the collapse of the company.
Federal Election Commission records show that Bankman-Fried and his cofounders at FTX donated $300,351 each to nine members of Congress’ House Financial Services Committee. The largest contributions went to the Digital Assets Working Group of Democrats, which dealt with regulation of the cryptocurrency industry. Rep. Maxine Wassers (D. Calif.), chair of the committee, announced a probe into FTX’s collapse following the company’s bankruptcy. This investigation will examine billions in customer portfolios. According to reports, the Justice Department and Securities Exchange Commission are investigating Bankman-Fried’s misuse of customer funds.
The donations made by Bankman-Fried to members of the committee could be a concern. He spent millions on lobbying, advertising, and philanthropic causes in order to rebrand his company as an ethical cryptocurrency company in an industry that is rife, scammers, and that he was not properly investigated by the lawmakers. Only Rep. Chuy Garcia (D. Ill.), who was one of the nine recipients of Bankman-Fried’s contributions, has stated that he would return the $2,900 donation from the billionaire. Waters stated that the committee would investigate FTX’s collapse, but the Democrat does not appear to be interested in Bankman-Fried’s attempts to buy favor in Washington.
Waters dodged questioning this week about her concern about Bankman-Fried’s political donations. Waters said, “Well, that’s not something I want to do.” Fox Business reported that both parties, Democrats and Republicans, had received donations.
Although Bankman-Fried donated to Republicans, over 95 percent of his contributions went to Democrats and Democratic Committees. He contributed along with top FTX executives to seven Democrats as well as two Republicans to the Financial Services committee. Five members of Waters’ Digital Assets Working Group were presented by the five FTX executives. This group was established last year by Waters to support responsible innovation that protects investors and consumers, and to create regulations for the sector. The Digital Assets Working Group has yet to propose regulations for the industry. Some lawmakers believe this would have reduced the impact of FTX’s bankruptcy on its customers.
Garcia was the largest recipient of Bankman Fried cash. Protect Our Future PAC, Bankman-Fried’s political-action committee, spent $199.851 on advertising supporting Garcia. Garcia is a member of the committee’s Digital Assets Working Group. Garcia received $2,900 more from Bankman-Fried.
Bankman-Fried and his associates presented the funds to four members of Digital Assets Working Group: Reps. Ritchie Torres, Josh Gottheimer, Jim Himes, and Sean Casten (D. Ill.).
Gabriel Bankman-Fried, and his brother Gabriel, gave $40,300 to Torres’s campaign as well as two of his political committees (the Torres Victory Fund, and La Bamba PAC). Gottheimer was presented $16,600 by Bankman-Fried, along with the head of FTX’s regulatory division. Other Bankman-Fried associates gave $500 to Himes, and Casten $9,100.
Casten also has a connection to the crypto tycoon. Gabriel Bankman-Fried is the brother’s director of political outreach. He was Casten’s congressional aide until last year. On March 7, he visited the White House with an adviser from the Democracy Alliance, a progressive network that is funded by Democratic billionaire donors.
Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D. Mass.), received $11,600 from Bankman-Fried. a super PAC for Rep. Cindy Axne (D. Iowa), a violation of her pledge to refuse corporate donations to campaigns.
Before his company’s demise, it appeared that his intense lobbying efforts paid off. He supported legislation by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D. Mich., and Sen. John Boozman, R., Ark. Those bills would have placed the crypto industry under regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (D., Mich.) and Sen. John Boozman (R., Ark.).
Bankman-Fried donated $5800 to Stabenow’s campaign in February, and $20,800 in January to her joint fundraising committee. Bankman-Fried donated $5,800 in January to Boozman and $5,800 in June to Sen. John Hoeven (R.N.D.). He donated a total of $31,000 to Sens campaigns and joint fundraising committees. Cory Booker (D.N.J.), Tina Smith, Dick Durbin, and Kirsten Gillibrand (D.N.Y.) are all members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
A 30-year-old entrepreneur donated $5,000,000 to a superPAC that supported President Joe Biden in 2020, and $40 million this cycle, largely to Democrats. He donated $6 million to House Majority PAC and $1 million to Senate Majority PAC. Nearly $900,000.000 was also contributed to the Democratic National Committee.
These donations enabled him to attend White House meetings and appear earlier this year at the annual Democratic retreat in Philadelphia. The Washington Free Beacon reported that Bankman-Fried and three lobbyists from his firm visited the White House this year. They also met with Steve Ricchetti on May 12 and 22. Ricchetti is one of Biden’s closest advisors. On Dec. 7, Bankman-Fried gave testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. He stated that his goal in starting FTX had been to have a positive effect around the globe. After the retreat, he was photographed arm in arm with the chairwoman of the committee.
Waters’s office didn’t respond to questions regarding Bankman-Fried’s donations to members of the committee.