The collapse of a leading cryptocurrency platform has been linked to the U.S. Congress, thanks to many political donations from the disgraced co-founder of the company.
Here’s the latest on who is giving back the money they previously took in.
What Happened: FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried was a large donor to political parties and members of Congress, something that has drawn more attention since FTX declared bankruptcy.
Reports showed Bankman-Fried made $46.5 million in political donations, with the majority going to Democrat candidates. The large donation amount ranked Bankman-Fried second in political donations by an individual, behind only George Soros.
A new report from Decrypt highlighted the list of members of Congress who are now returning the campaign donations made from Bankman-Fried.
Beto O’Rourke, a former U.S. Representative, returned a $1 million donation back a week before FTX filed for bankruptcy. The donation was one of the largest donations received by O’Rourke.
“This contribution was unsolicited and the campaign’s upcoming report will show that it was returned back on November 4, prior to the news stories that would later come out about the donor,” a spokesperson said.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) received a $2,900 donation from Bankman-Fried. The Senator donated the same amount to “an appropriate charity” according to the report. Durbin recently sent a letter to FTX with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) demanding that FTX turn over information and documents on the company’s collapse.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) plans to donate the $16,600 amount she received from Bankman-Fried to charity Ariva Inc, which provides free financial and tax services in New York. Gillibrand has been recognized as a crypto-friendly member of Congress.
Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) received a political donation of $2,900 from Bankman-Fried. The congressman donated the same amount to the Northwest Center in Chicago, a nonprofit that provides financial literacy services.
Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) received a donation of $5,800 from Bankman-Fried. The report said the Senator would be making a donation of the same amount to an unnamed charity.
Why It’s Important: Along with the members of Congress who have or said they will make donations to offset the contributions from Bankman-Fried, there are still many who have not done so.
The Decrypt report names Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) as those who have not publicly said they would be returning or donating the money elsewhere.
Bankman-Fried also donated millions of dollars to political action committees, including $27 million to the Protect Our Future PAC. Several PACs donated towards the campaigns of Congress members listed above that have returned funds.
The former FTX CEO recently said he made “dark donations” to many Republican candidates who are not publicly known. The claim came after it was widely reported on the large amounts donated to the Democratic party.
The collapse of FTX has been widely followed and covered. The tie-ins to politicians through donations made by Bankman-Fried could become a major focal point for the regulation of the cryptocurrency industry and for those arguing against the sector being punished for the actions of the FTX CEO and co-founder.
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