Politics

CT Dems receive political contributions with ties to FTX founder


A $9,756 contribution by disgraced cryptocurrency trader Sam Bankman-Fried to Connecticut Democrats in August was part of a larger series of contributions routed through the national Democratic Party, state chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said Tuesday. 

The contribution, as well as Bankman-Fried’s overall record of political activity, became the subject of scrutiny this month following his arrest in the Bahamas on charges of securities violations. Prior to his arrest and the unraveling of his company, the crypto exchange FTX, Bankman-Fried gave roughly $40 million to candidates and political action committees during the 2022 election cycle. 

According to Federal Election Commission records, Bankman-Fried gave money to at least 44 different state Democratic committees between August and October, the majority of which were for the same amount he spent in Connecticut. 

DiNardo told CT Insider on Tuesday that the money given to the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee was routed through the Democratic National Committee, and did not arrive with any memo or other instructions detailing the purpose of the contribution. She said the money the central committee’s account mostly goes to support local Democratic candidates through activities such as advertising and hosting campaign events, but is not typically disbursed directly to local campaigns.

“We’ve been in touch with the DNC and they are aware of it,” DiNardo said. “We’re just waiting to follow their lead on what to do.”

Since FTX filed for bankruptcy in November — potentially leaving 100,000 creditors with $8 billion in assets in the lurch, according to the New York Times — other politicians who received contributions from Bankman-Fried and his allies have opted to give the money back or donate it to charity. 

One of them, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., received a $2,800 contribution from FTX executive Danielle Barrett last November, the New York Post reported.

Himes’ campaign manager, Francesca Capodilupo, said on Tuesday that Himes’ campaign had mailed a check to donate the money to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. 

“To the best of Jim’s recollection, he’s never met Danielle Barrett and we’re not sure why she donated,” Capodilupo said. 

A review of FEC records from the most recent election cycle did not uncover any other donations from Bankman-Fried, Barrett or other FTX employees to any federal candidates from Connecticut. 

Gabriel Bankman-Fried, the brother of the FTX-founder, contributed $1,000 to Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn, in September 2021, according to FEC records. Gabriel Bankman-Fried formerly ran the non-profit Guarding Against Pandemics, a role he resigned from in the wake of his brother’s scandal. He listed his occupation as “not employed” under his contribution to DeLauro, according to FEC records.

A spokesman for DeLauro’s campaign said on Tuesday that the money would be donated to charity.

In addition to direct contributions to candidates and state party committees, Bankman-Fried and FTX also gave millions of dollars to political action committees supporting both Republican and Democratic candidates. 

For example, in April he gave $6 million to the House Majority PAC, a Democratic committee tied to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to FEC reports. Similarly, West Realm Shire Services Inc, the political action committee for FTX, donated $1.75 million to groups supporting Republican House and Senate candidates. 

In an interview last month, Bankman-Fried said that he gave similar amounts to Republicans and Democrats, but that his contributions to Republicans were mostly channeled through dark-money groups to avoid public scrutiny.



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