FTX’s billionaire CEO Samuel Bankman-Fried has contributed $31.5M to super political action committees in this election cycle.
With U.S. midterm primaries in full swing, crypto’s golden boy Sam Bankman-Fried has joined the likes of George Soros in pumping funds into super political action committees, entities that promote specific political candidates or advocate for their defeat. A super PAC is a variation of a PAC, first introduced in 1944. In a PAC, funds are raised to elect and defeat political candidates without directly contributing funds to the candidates or their parties. A super PAC differs from a PAC by not limiting contributions from external donors.
Crypto executives have seen the super PAC as an opportunity to lobby for the election of crypto-friendly officials. In April, the FTX CEO contributed $10 million to a super PAC, Protect Our Future, supporting candidates intending to prevent the next pandemic. So far, Protect Our Future has donated $19M to Democratic House races, forking out $10.5 million to support Carrick Flynn, who was vying for a seat in Oregon’s 6th congressional district but lost the primary to Andrea Salinas. Protect Our Future has also backed Lucia Bath, a Democrat from Georgia, with $1.9M and six additional candidates. Bankman-Fried also donated $6M to the House Majority PAC, the super PAC supporting House Democrats.
Bankman-Fried heads up crypto lobbying efforts
Bankman-Fried’s total contribution to super PACs in the current election cycle is $31.5 million, behind hedge fund billionaire George Soros, who contributed $125 million into Democracy PAC II, a committee he uses to disburse funds to other entities he supports. Bankman-Fried pipped Republican Richard Uihlein, who, together with his wife Liz, has raised just under $31.5 billion.
A group of crypto financiers, including FTX’s Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame, has also founded GMI PAC, which is aiming to raise $20M to promote congressional candidates. “The crypto industry is proud to support elected officials who believe in the true potential of the crypto economy in the U.S.,” said Kristin Smith, head of the crypto trade group, the Blockchain Association.”And we’re not shy, as an industry, to say and support what we value, and that includes political giving.”
PACs used to oust politicians too
The Financial Freedom PAC (or “Bitcoin PAC,” according to the website) is being used to oust Republican Brad Sherman, D-Calif. by endorsing Aarika Rhodes, an elementary school teacher, and a believer that bitcoin is key to democratizing finance.
Grant McCarty, one of the founders of Financial Freedom PAC, told CNBC earlier this month, “This is not a short-term game for us. The fight for Bitcoin is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. 2022 is just the beginning. In 2024, I truly think we’re going to see an orange wave on Washington.