Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, currently facing charges related to the collapse of a cryptocurrency exchange, has recently been revealed to have donated an astonishing $50 million to politically active groups during the 2022 election cycle. These donations were made to organizations commonly known as “dark money” groups, which do not publicly disclose the identities of their donors.
Bankman-Fried and his cryptocurrency exchange FTX, along with his former colleagues, contributed to nonprofits aligned with both Republican and Democratic senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The evidence presented in a lawsuit brought by FTX exposes Bankman-Fried’s use of a private signal chat to request contributions made in other individuals’ names. Shockingly, Bankman-Fried’s mother was also involved in encouraging donations to be made in the same person’s name, as indicated by evidence tied to the lawsuit.
Currently facing federal fraud charges, Bankman-Fried allegedly financed over $100 million in political giving during the 2022 midterms using FTX customer funds. If convicted, he could face a potential life sentence, although he has pleaded not guilty. Bankman-Fried has admitted to making “dark” contributions to Republican-leaning organizations while publicly portraying himself as aligned with the Democratic Party.
Furthermore, Bankman-Fried registered over $36 million in donations to Democratic campaigns and groups that disclose the names of their donors during the same election cycle. Prosecutors have presented compelling evidence, including a list of organizations that received money from Bankman-Fried and charts illustrating how FTX customer funds were used for political donations. The documents clearly demonstrate that Bankman-Fried was the main “dark money” donor among the listed former FTX executives and the company itself.
Interestingly, others linked to FTX, such as Ryan Salame and Caroline Ellison, have also made significant contributions to right-leaning nonprofit groups using funds from FTX’s affiliated hedge fund. Government watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington estimated Bankman-Fried’s “dark money” donations at around $37 million, but the publicly available list presented by prosecutors reveals this figure to be closer to $47 million during the 2022 cycle alone.
Despite the gravity of these allegations, Bankman-Fried’s spokesperson declined to provide any comments. Additionally, lawyers representing Ellison and Salame did not offer any statements either. This unfolding trial takes center-stage in the cryptocurrency industry and shines a spotlight on the murky world of political donations and hidden interests.