- Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX execs donated a total of $70 million to political campaigns in 18 months, according to OpenSecrets.
- Bankman-Fried himself donated $40 million to mostly liberal efforts, while fellow exec Ryan Salame gave $23 million primarily to Republicans.
- Critics are now scrutinizing the role of cryptocurrency in politics after FTX’s dramatic demise.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and fellow company executives donated more than $70 million to political campaigns ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, according to OpenSecrets data.
Bankman-Fried himself donated nearly $40 million to Democratic candidates and political action committees, according to OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan organization that tracks campaign spending in US politics. He was the second highest donor for liberal efforts behind George Soros and the sixth highest donor overall.
Meanwhile, Ryan Salame, a fellow FTX senior executive, donated more than $23 million primarily to Republican candidates and efforts. Remaining donations came from FTX engineering director Nishad Singh, who contributed $8 million to liberal efforts.
Their collective contributions cemented FTX as the third largest contributor to political efforts this election cycle, and helped propel cryptocurrency to one of the top spending industries in Washington.
Now, in the wake of FTX’s dramatic implosion and bankruptcy — which led Bankman-Fried to step down from his position while simultaneously losing $16 billion of his net worth earlier this month — the donations are prompting increased scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry’s influence on politics.
FTX’s swift demise also led many to criticize “effective altruism,” a world view held by Bankman-Fried and some of his colleagues which led to the formation of the Future Fund, an effort to make socially impactful investments.
During an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press in September, Bankman-Fried discussed his political donations, and acknowledged the influence such sizeable contributions may have over lawmakers.
“Frankly, everyone should always be skeptical of things like this,” Bankman-Fried said of political donations. “I’m not going to tell people that they should give anyone a free pass on it. What I’d say is look at the evidence, try to trace out what’s happening.”