Accused crypto scammer Sam Bankman-Fried and his FTX associates pumped nearly $95,000 in donations to at least 11 members of the House Financial Services Committee ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, according to federal records.
The series of individual campaign donations has raised eyebrows given that all 11 lawmakers sit on the committee currently investigating last month’s collapse of crypto exchange FTX.
The majority of the contributions went to Democrats – with New York Rep. Ritchie Torres receiving a total of $35,000 from various FTX-linked donors, according to The Post’s analysis of Federal Election Commission campaign data.
The House Financial Services Committee — which has a total of 53 members — was expected to grill Bankman-Fried during a congressional hearing on Tuesday. Their plans were derailed when the shaggy-haired former billionaire was arrested in the Bahamas hours earlier and slapped with a host of fraud charges.
While Torres has already pledged to donate his FTX-related campaign coffers to charity, at least one member — Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) — was quick to say he won’t. would not follow. Many others, meanwhile, have remained mothers.
Here is a breakdown of the 11 committee members who accepted campaign donations from Bankman-Fried and his associates:
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY)
Bankman-Fried personally donated $2,900 directly to the New York Democrat’s campaign, according to FEC data.
The FTX founder’s brother, Gabriel Bankman-Fried, separately contributed a total of $32,400 to Torres’ campaign and victory fund.
Torres addressed the campaign donation earlier this week, telling CoinDesk it was “unsolicited” and was donating the amount.
“My connection to him is minimal,” insisted Torres, adding that Bankman-Fried was a “pathological liar.”
In a statement to The Post, Sophie Pollock, Torres’ communications director, confirmed that the funds had been donated to “a local charity”.
Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
The New Jersey congressman received $5,800 in personal donations from Bankman-Fried, records show.
He also received two separate donations — $2,900 each — from FTX executive Mark Wetjen, who previously worked as commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
A spokesperson for Rep. Gottheimer’s office said he would donate the funds to charity.
Representative Jake Auchincloss (D-MA)
Auchincloss, who is vice-chairman of the committee, received a personal donation of $5,800 from Bankman-Fried. He also received $5,800 from Wetjen.
The Massachusetts representative revealed this week that he has no plans to return the donations – as the funds have flowed to other Democrats in more competitive midterm races.
“I’m not going to send money to a guy in a prison in the Bahamas, that’s for sure. That money went out, helping elect Democrats,” he told Boston radio station WBUR.
representing Jesus ‘Chuy’ García (D-IL)
Bankman-Fried injected $2,900 into the Illinois Democrat’s re-election campaign.
García’s spokesperson revealed last month that his campaign has already donated FTX-related money to the Northwest Center in Chicago, which focuses on financial literacy.
García’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH)
The 72-year-old Democrat received a $2,900 donation from Bankman-Fried, FEC data shows.
Beatty’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA)
The disgraced FTX founder made two separate campaign donations to the Iowa Democrats.
Axne received $2,900 for the Cindy Axne for Congress and a separate donation of $5,000 for her AXNE PAC, according to campaign finance records.
Axne’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY)
FTX executive Ryan Salame donated $5,800 to Zeldin’s campaign ahead of the midterms, records show.
Zeldin’s office did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.
Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL)
Bankman-Friend’s brother Gabriel made two separate donations to Casten’s campaign — totaling $1,000, according to FEC data.
When reached Thursday, Casten’s DC office had “no comment at this time.”
Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN)
The Minnesota Republican received a handful of donations from at least two FTX executives ahead of the midterms.
His campaign received a total of $8,700 from Salame and an additional $2,900 from FTX’s Zach Dexter.
Emmer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Representative Ted Budd (R-NC)
The North Carolina GOP representative received a $2,900 donation made by Salame, records show.
Budd’s office could not be reached for comment. An outgoing member of the committee, he is expected to succeed longtime Republican Senator Richard Burr in power on Jan. 3.
Representative Jim Himes (D-CT)
A donation of $2,800 was made to the Connecticut Rep’s campaign by FTX executive Danielle Barrett.
“The contribution we received … was unsolicited and is being donated,” Himes campaign manager Francesca Capodilupo said Thursday.
A waiting game
A congressional office that received a donation from Bankman-Fried and did not want to be identified told the Post it was waiting to unload the funds until it was determined who the money legally belonged to. It had previously been advised against donating the money to charity in case it was then recovered by the victims.
Other Questionable Contributions
Members of the House Financial Services Committee aren’t the only politicians with FTX funds in their coffers, either.
FEC records show that Bankman-Fried single-handedly funneled thousands of dollars to various PACs, as well as campaigns for Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Kim Schrier (D-WA) and Angie Craig (D -MA), among others. .
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