FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was also prolific donor to Republicans: 'I have a duty'

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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, while a top Democratic campaign contributor, also gave a significant sum of cash to Republican candidates and organizations ahead of the midterm election.

Bankman-Fried, whose cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX has collapsed in recent weeks, funneled an estimated $262,200 to Republicans throughout the 2021-2022 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission records. His contributions to Republicans paled in comparison to the nearly $40 million he contributed to Democratic campaigns but still represented a significant sum, compared to most Americans.

"I have a duty as a member of the industry to try and get us regulated, to try and move the industry in a more responsible direction," Bankman-Fried said in an interview with NBC News anchor Chuck Todd in September. "I think that requires engagement. I think it'd be irresponsible for me not to engage with Capitol Hill, with regulators."

The crypto entrepreneur added that it’s "probably true" he has been given increased access to federal lawmakers as a result of his political fundraising activity. 

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Sam Bankman-Fried testified during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in February. He gave tens of millions of dollars to Democrats and hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republicans during the midterm election cycle. (Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Among his largest donations to Republican candidates and organizations was a $105,000 check to the Alabama Conservatives Fund, a $50,000 donation to conservative group Heartland Resurgence and $45,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

The Alabama Conservatives Fund was a main supporter of Sen.-elect Katie Britt of Alabama, and Heartland Resurgence boosted Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., and ran advertisements opposing his GOP primary challenger, Jake Bequette. The NRCC is House Republicans' main election fundraising arm.

"The Britt campaign did not receive (and did not accept) the money … referenced," Britt spokesperson Sean Ross told Fox News Digital. 

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Ross noted that political campaigns are prohibited from coordinating with Super PACs.

"Katie will be an advocate for commonsense policies that provide robust consumer protections while fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment here at home rather than driving the digital asset economy overseas to places like China," Ross said.

In addition, Bankman-Fried wired maximum individual donations to Boozman and incumbent Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, John Hoeven of North Dakota and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska throughout the election cycle.

Sen.-elect Katie Britt, R-Ala., was a beneficiary of Bankman-Fried’s donations to the Alabama Conservatives Fund. During her campaign, Britt said she supported American innovation “in the crypto space” and that the government shouldn’t put its “thumb (Katie Britt for AL Senate)

Bankman-Fried gave to Collins and Cassidy despite their next elections being slated for 2026. And Burr announced in 2016 that he would retire in 2023. The only other person to give Burr a maximum donation during the current cycle was Rob Granieri, a manager at Jane Street, Bankman-Fried's former employer.

The Hoeven campaign told Fox News Digital that it had donated the funds it had received from Bankman-Fried to the Salvation Army. A spokesperson for Cassidy said that his campaign would give Bankman-Fried's contribution to a charity in Louisiana.

Outside of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he spent on conservative PACs and Republican candidates, Bankman-Fried donated $2 million to GMI PAC, a pro-crypto political action committee. In turn, the PAC wired $5.85 million to the left-leaning Web3Forward PAC and $2.8 million to right-leaning Crypto Innovation PAC.

It is unclear whether Bankman-Fried's donation to GMI PAC made its way to Crypto Innovation PAC, which exclusively supported Republicans, including Boozman. 

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However, Crypto Innovation PAC gave about half of its expenditures to Michelle Bond of New York, who was defeated in her Republican primary despite endorsements from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Donald Trump Jr. Bond's reported partner is Ryan Salame, an executive at FTX. 

FTX didn't respond to a request for comment. The NRCC and campaigns for Boozman, Burr, Collins and Murkowski also didn't respond to requests for comment.

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