Pennsylvania Democrats are keeping silent for now as to what they intend to do with campaign donations received from Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of the cryptocurrency trading company FTX.
Bankman-Fried was in the Bahamas earlier this month, and was later charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with eight various counts of fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance offenses after the dizzying crash of FTX, which lost $32 billion in valuation and investor deposits in less than a month.
Bankman-Fried, known as SBF to some, had also been a prolific political donor in recent years, spreading wealth to candidates, nonprofits, and political parties of both stripes, but his political giving had a decided tilt towards Democrats.
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In Pennsylvania, Bankman-Fried gave $10,000 to the state Democratic Party in August, according to FEC records. He also contributed $2,900 in April to Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Northeast Philly Democrat representing Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District.
While the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic committees are poised to return about one million dollars in campaign contributions from the crypto-exchange founder, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and Boyle’s campaign did not respond to emailed requests for comment on their intentions regarding the money. Investors who have been fleeced are asking the money to be returned, as is the new leadership of FTX.
A week ago, DNC spokesman Daniel Wessel said that the group “will set aside the $815,000 in contributions it has received from Bankman-Fried since 2020. That total includes donations Bankman-Fried made directly to the DNC as well as the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund and the Biden Victory Fund, which was a joint fundraising committee approved by Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, the DNC and state Democratic parties,” according to a report from the Associated Press.
An analysis by the Washington Post found SBF donated “about $40 million this cycle alone into campaign committees and other groups, mostly aligned with Democrats, federal records show.”
Rep. Boyle won his newly drawn, heavily Democratic Congressional seat by over forty points in November. Boyle is slated to become the ranking member of the House Budget Committee when the new Congress convenes in January.
Pennsylvania Democrats had their most successful election cycle in a decade, flipping the open U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey, and likely taking the Pennsylvania state house out of Republican hands after three special elections are held in early 2023.
Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use his encrypted email at email@example.com. @shepherdreports