LONDON (Bywire News) – The Democratic Party’s three main campaign groups have announced plans to return over $1.1 million in donations received from imprisoned cryptocurrency tycoon, Sam Bankman-Fried. In a statement, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) revealed that it would be setting aside $815,000 of the funds due to “potential campaign finance violations” by Bankman-Fried. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee stated that it would be setting aside $103,000, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which manages the party’s campaign for the House of Representatives, plans to set aside $250,000. All three groups are awaiting guidance on what to do with the money due to ongoing litigation.
Bankman-Fried, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was arrested in the Bahamas earlier this week on charges of misappropriating billions of dollars and violating campaign finance laws in what has been described as one of the largest financial frauds in the United States. Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried used stolen money to make “tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions” and engaged in a scheme to defraud FTX customers by misusing their deposits for expenses and debts, as well as making investments on behalf of his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research LLC.
Federal election disclosures show that Bankman-Fried, whose fortune is valued at over $20 billion, was one of the biggest political donors during the midterm election cycle, giving roughly $40 million to mostly Democratic-aligned groups and campaigns. However, in an interview with independent journalist Tiffany Fong, Bankman-Fried claimed that his donations were evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, with his pro-Republican outlays remaining undisclosed to the public, a practice known as “dark money.” Bankman-Fried, who is currently in jail in the Bahamas, has apologized to customers but maintains his innocence.
By Gram Slattery
(Reporting by Gram Slattery in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone, Michael O’Sullivan and Matthew Lewis)