Former FTX Executives contributed more than $80 million to political groups in 2022, of which liberal groups received the majority at 63%
In the year before FTX collapsed, former FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried donated at least $46.4 million to political groups. Known to be a supporter of Democrats and left-leaning causes, 89.2% of Bankman-Fried’s donations unsurprisingly went to liberal groups like Protect Our Future Democratic political action committee (POF PAC), House Majority PAC and Future Forward USA. POF PAC, aimed to support lawmakers on long-term policy making in areas like ‘pandemic preparedness and planning’, was primarily funded by Bankman-Fried.
Bankman-Fried previously pledged to donate up to $1 billion during the 2024 election cycle.
On the other hand, former co-CEO of FTX, Ryan Salame made a significant $23.4 million contribution to conservative causes, including the Republican party and candidates. More specifically, 92% or $21.6 million of the $23.4 million went to conservative groups, demonstrating Salame’s strong support for right wing policies and candidates.
Among the three FTX executives, FTX’s former Engineering Director, Nishad Singh contributed the least in terms of donations. 90% of the $10.2 million donated, amounting to $9.2 million, were made out to liberal groups, and the remaining went to the Democratic party and candidates.
Democratic parties, candidates and Liberal groups received 67% of former FTX executive donations
Across the three former FTX executives, 67% of contributions went to Democratic parties, candidates and Liberal groups, with SBF and Nishad Singh being key supporters. Liberal groups were the main beneficiaries, receiving 63% of total political donations from these former FTX executives.
In spite of FTX’s announcement in December 2022 on clawing back donations, the growing influence of cryptocurrency executives in US politics, as digital assets become increasingly mainstream and politically relevant, is apparent.
FTX.US ranked third, with $74.6 million in contributions to political campaigns in the United States
Across the Top 10 organizational contributors to political campaigns in the US in 2022, FTX.US was ranked third, according to data from OpenSecrets.org. With $74.6 million in donations, FTX.US is ahead of multinational hedge fund Citadel LLC by $1.9 million, and behind privately owned shipping and business supplies company Uline Inc by $11.9 million.
Political contributions from FTX.US’ extended to its subsidiaries and affiliates as well – FTX Digital Markets donated $22.2 million, West Realm Shires Services contributed $2 million and $459.7k came from Alameda Research.
While the organization FTX.US itself did not donate, the political donations came from the organization's PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate family members.
Top 10 Recipients of FTX’s Political Donations
FTX and its debtors are urging political figures and PACs to return the funds donated by Bankman-Fried and other former FTX executives before February 28, 2023, with the threat of a prospective bankruptcy court lawsuit, including interest accrued since the start of the legal action.
Of the top 10 recipients, 38.7% or $28 million was made out to Protect Our Future (POF), a liberal political action committee. SBF provided the primary funding for POF PAC, which had the goal of assisting legislators with creating long-term policies related to planning and pandemic readiness.
Placed second, conservative American Dream Federal Action dedicated to elect ‘forward-looking candidates’ received 20% or $15 million. Overall, right wing, conservative recipients comprised 26.9% of the top 10, while left wing liberals benefitted 62.6%.
Pro-crypto super PAC GMI, ranked sixth, is the only non-partisan recipient in the top 10, and saw an influx of donations from cryptocurrency leaders in 2022, including Bankman-Fried who donated $2 million, and Salame who gave $1.5 million. GMI PAC primarily funds crypto PACs Web3 Forward and Crypto Innovation, and supports political candidates that pledge to collaborate with innovators, providing opportunities to build blockchain and next-generation technologies and services in the US.
The study examined monetary donations to political groups and individuals in the United States, as tracked on OpenSecrets.org, from FTX-related PACs and former FTX executives. According to OpenSecrets, the data set was based on contributions from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more. All donations were made during the 2022 election cycle and were released by the Federal Election Commission.
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Julia leads Growth at CoinGecko and is passionate about onboarding more women onto Web3. That said, she is generally poor at timing the market, so she DCAs for safety. Follow the author on Twitter @ngxinyajulia