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FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Violated Campaign Finance Laws, Used Dark Money Groups To Hide Identity

Former crypto tycoon and founder of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged by authorities with violating several campaign finance laws, including making donations under someone else’s name to political candidates.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) unsealed eight counts of conspiracy and fraud Tuesday against former FTX chief executive, who appeared in court from the Bahamas to face eight criminal charges in New York, including wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit fraud.

The indictment alleges that Bankman-Fried conspired with others and made campaign contributions to candidates and political committees above federal donation limits. Bankman-Fried is also charged with causing tens of millions of dollars in illicit campaign contributions to candidates and committees associated with both Democrats and Republicans, Southern District of New York Attorney Damian Williams said.

“The defendant, and others known and unknown, would and did knowingly and willfully make contributions to candidates for federal office, joint fundraising committees, and independent expenditure committees in the names of other persons,” the indictment notes.

“Contributions in the Name of Another are Strictly Prohibited,” states the Federal Election Commission’s website. “Reimbursing someone for a contribution or otherwise contributing in the name of another person can result in substantial civil penalties and jail time.”

Using these methods, the indictment alleges Bankman-Fried and unnamed others donated more than $25,000 in total in a calendar year, in violation of campaign finance regulations.

Bankman-Fried was one of the Democratic Party’s largest donors. He sent committees and politicians tens of millions. Bankman-Fried says he donated an equal amount to Republicans using “dark,” or non-publicly disclosed methods.

“All my Republican donations were dark,” Bankman-Fried said. “The reason was not for regulatory reasons, it’s because reporters freak the [expletive] out if you donate to Republicans. They’re all super liberal, and I didn’t want to have that fight.”

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC)  last week about Bankman-Fried’s use of dark money groups to hide his donations to Republicans. 

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