FTX billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried funneled black money to Republicans | cryptocurrencies
The downfall of crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried has been painted as a major blow to the Democratic Party, whose candidates have been the main beneficiaries of his largesse. But in a new interview, Bankman-Fried claimed to have given equally large amounts of money to Republicans.
“I donated to both parties. I donated roughly the same amount to both parties,” Bankman-Fried told a crypto commentator and citizen journalist Tiffany Fong.
“All of my Republican donations were shady,” he said, referring to political donations that were not publicly disclosed. “It wasn’t for regulatory reasons, it was because journalists freak out if you donate to Republicans. Everyone is super liberal, and I didn’t want that fight.”
Bankman-Fried’s undisclosed donations were made possible by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen’s United decision, which allowed donors to give anonymously and led to more than a billion dollars has been pouring into federal elections since 2010.
The revelation comes as a political battle is brewing in Washington over the collapse of FTX, Bankman-Fried’s crypto exchange.
Bankman-Fried was the second largest donor to Democratic politicians in the last election cycle. Republican Senator Ted Cruz called FTX “a Bernie Madoff-style scam that cost investors BILLIONS.”
“Will Joe Biden and the Democrats who cashed the Bankman-Fried checks give that money to the people who were screwed by SBF?” he wrote on Twitter earlier this month.
The Senate will hold the first of what is expected to be a series of hearings on the FTX collapse on Thursday, with Republicans looking to hold Democrats accountable for a lack of oversight before its collapse.
Public records show that some parts of the Bankman-Fried empire gave equally to both parties. Data from OpenSecretsa nonprofit that tracks campaign finance and lobbying data, shows that FTX US, the company’s US operation, gave equally to both parties.
But Bankman-Fried’s public donations mostly went to Democrats. FTX founder gave more than $990,000 to candidates in last election cycle, according to reports OpenSecrets, and another $38.8 million to outside groups. Only about $235,000 of his public political giving went to Republican candidates.
The money helped position Bankman-Fried as an influential voice in crypto regulation in Washington. In February, he testified before the same Senate Agriculture Committee that will hold its first hearing on the FTX collapse this Thursday.
At the February hearing, Bankman-Fried advocated for clarity in the regulation of the crypto market and outlined “FTX’s key principles to ensure investor protection.” These included:
● Maintaining adequate liquid resources to ensure that the platform can return the user’s assets on demand;
● Ensuring an environment where client assets, including digital wallets, are kept secure; and
● Ensuring proper accounting or bookkeeping of assets and disclosures to protect against misuse or misallocation of client assets.
Bankman-Fried was fired after the company filed for bankruptcy. The new CEO, John Ray III, who oversaw some of the biggest bankruptcies ever, including the collapse of energy giant Enron, said FTX had experienced “an unprecedented and a complete failure of corporate controls”.
According to FTX’s new management, a “substantial portion” of the assets held by FTX may have been “missing or stolen” and the company was not even keeping accurate records of who worked there.
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