Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange, during an interview on an episode of Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein in New York, USA, on Wednesday, August 17, 2022.
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An ethics watchdog group has asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate ex FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried for alleged “serious violations” of election law, citing his admitted contributions of “dark” money to Republican-aligned groups during the 2022 primary season.
The complaint of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington he cites an interview conducted last month by Bankman-Fried, which the group says suggests he donated up to $37 million or more to campaign efforts tied to the Republican Party in a way that prevented the legally required public disclosure of those contributions.
The complaint comes almost a month later. Cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which earlier this year was valued at $32 billion by private investors, has filed for bankruptcy.and the Bankman-Fried, 30, stepped down as chief executive.
The Securities and Exchange Commission Y Justice Department supposedly they are investigating it and the shocking collapse of FTX and related crypto entities.
CREW’s complaint says Bankman-Fried, in her own words, admits she intentionally structured her donations to groups linked to the Republican Party to evade public reporting requirements by “taking advantage” of a Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. v. FEC, which allowed unions and corporations to spend independently for their own campaigns.
“However, the case did not allow organizations to act as a pass-through for others’ contributions, or to make independent expenditures while keeping their own contributors secret,” the CREW complaint added.
A Bankman-Fried spokesman had no immediate comment on CREW’s complaint. The FEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Anyone can file a complaint with the FEC if they suspect a violation of federal campaign law. If the FEC determines that a violation occurred, the potential results “could range from a letter reiterating compliance obligations to a settlement agreement, which may include a civil money penalty.” according to the commission’s website.
CREW’s complaint notes that Bankman-Fried was, “until recently, a cryptocurrency billionaire and a major Democratic contributor,” who “admitted during a recent public interview that he made ‘dark’ money contributions to support Republicans in elections.” feds in the past cycle.”
In that interview, he suggested that those donations would make him one of the largest donors to Republicans in the United States.
The complaint contains a link to November 1. 16 interview that Bankman-Fried gave to Tiffany Fong, who published the discussion on his YouTube channel.
“I donated to both parties. I donated roughly the same amount to both parties this year,” he said in that interview.
“That was not known in general, because despite [the Supreme Court decision known as] Citizens United is literally the highest profile Supreme Court case of the decade and the topic that everyone talks about when they talk about campaign finance, for some reason, in practice, no one could imagine the idea that someone in the practice really gave birth,” he said. added.
“All of my Republican donations were obscure,” Bankman-Fried continued, the complaint noted. “The reason was not the regulatory reason.”
“It’s because the reporters freak out if you donate to a Republican because they’re all super liberal. And I didn’t want to have that fight,” he said. “So, I blacked out all the Republicans. But, whatever it is, [indiscernible] second or third largest Republican donor this year as well.”
In the interview, Bankman-Fried said those contributions were “all for the primary.”
“I didn’t give anything to the general election because I don’t give a shit about the general election,” he said. “It’s all that matters. It’s the primaries where the good candidates against the bad candidates.”
Campaign finance tracking site OpenSecrets reported that Bankman-Fried gave out nearly $40 million in federal contributions in the 2022 election cycle, the vast majority of which went to “Democrat-aligned outside groups,” according to the complaint. by CREW.
OpenSecrets, which cites public FEC records, reported that it contributed nearly $922,000 to Democratic candidates.
By contrast, Bankman-Fried gave just $240,200 to outside Republican-aligned groups and $80,200 to Republican candidates in the same election cycle, according to OpenSecrets data cited in the complaint.
“Taking it at face value, Mr. Bankman-Fried was able to direct approximately $37 million, and potentially much more, to influence federal elections while evading federal laws that require disclosure of the true source of contributions,” it says. the complaint.
In addition to Bankman-Fried, the complaint lists as defendants unknown persons or entities who allegedly participated in Bankman-Fried’s “scheme to conceal reportable contributions to influence federal elections.”
CREW noted that federal law prohibits the use of intermediaries who falsely identify themselves as the source of campaign contributions rather than the actual source of the money.
In a statement, CREW General Counsel Donald Sherman said: “Bankman-Fried said the quiet part out loud.”
“He admitted that he violated federal laws designed to ensure Americans have transparency in election financing and now he must be held accountable,” Sherman said.
CNBC reported on Tuesday that FTX’s then-director of engineering, Nishad Singhhas donated more than $13 million to Democratic Party causes since the start of the 2020 presidential election cycle, $8 million of which has gone to federal campaigns in the 2022 cycle.
Singh, who left FTX when it collapsed, was the 34th largest donor to all federal campaigns during the most recent election.
OpenSecrets data shows Ryan Salame, who had been co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, donated $23 million during the 2022 midterm cycle, all of which went to Republican-affiliated groups or candidates, the article noted. from CNBC.
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