FTX’s Bankman-Fried donated almost $40M this political cycle. Here’s who benefited.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was a prolific political donor, pumping around $40 million this cycle alone into campaign committees and other, mostly Democratic-aligned groups. , according to federal records.

His contributions are under scrutiny as federal prosecutors alleged on Tuesday that Bankman-Fried had campaign finance laws violated by sourcing donations from its related crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research, and falsely flagging them as coming from other people.

His largesse to Democratic causes has been surpassed in the past two years only by that of George Soros, the liberal financier. Bankman-Fried claimed he gave as much to GOP causes, but through nonprofit groups not required to disclose their donors. Much of the money Bankman-Fried gave went to super PACs. These groups, which can accept unlimited individual and corporate contributions, must remain formally separate from campaigns when running advertisements or sponsoring other communications. favorable or unfavorable candidates.

Federal campaign documents show he gave a combined $7 million to the two major super PACs supporting Democratic congressional candidates in the 2022 election. He also gave to groups focused on voter turnout and, in some case, shelled out millions for very specific races.

Bankman-Fried also provided 95% of the funds for Protect Our Future, a fledgling Democratic-aligned super PAC that has supported a wide range of candidates and causes. Its leaders have described it as committed to the principles of effective altruism, an approach to philanthropy that seeks to use data to effectively allocate money, in many cases to long-term threats. Among the causes championed by candidates supported by Protect Our Future was pandemic preparedness.

Protect Our Future has spent more than $10 million supporting an unsuccessful Democratic primary candidate for an open U.S. House seat in Oregon. The nominee, Carrick Flynn, is a believer in the philosophy of effective altruism that is said to have guided PAC donations. (He lost the primary to state legislator Andrea Salinas, who won the general election.)

Bankman-Fried has acknowledged in interviews over the past few weeks that the philanthropy undertaken by companies, including his own, is often designed to elicit good public relations.

His desire to spread his resources broadly is evident in the number of politicians he has supported: He has contributed to more than 60 federal candidates, including members of both parties representing every corner of the country. Unlike his donations to super PACs, Bankman-Fried ran into limits in those contributions. Federal law states that individual donors can give up to $2,900 directly to a nominating committee for each election — that means once in the primary and again at general, to a maximum of $5,800 per cycle.

This analysis counts contributions and reimbursements to and from federal political committees disclosed as given or received by Bankman-Fried in reports filed with the FEC since 2020. This excludes contributions to joint fundraising and transmission committees for avoid counting the money again when these contributions were later transferred to campaigns and parties. This does not count money disclosed as donated by other FTX employees, the company itself, or any money donated by groups that do not disclose their donors.

Editing by Mike Madden, Kate Rabinowitz and Karly Domb Sadof.

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