Before his high-flying cryptocurrency company went bankrupt in November, Sam Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives were mega-donors to political campaigns, and most of the reported contributions went to Democrats, who have taken heat for accepting the money.
Among the biggest beneficiaries of Bankman-Fried cash was an independent political action committee called Protect Our Future PAC, which, in turn, spent $10,452,673 promoting the candidacy of Carrick Flynn, according to records gathered by OpenSecrets. Flynn ran to represent Oregon’s 6th U.S. Congressional District and lost in the Democratic primary to Andrea Salinas, who went on to win the seat.
But some FTX cash went to Republicans, too. Among them: U.S. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who won the neighboring 5th District in November, beating Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
Chavez-DeRemer is one of about two dozen Republicans who have sent money to the U.S. Marshals Service after the U.S. Department of Justice urged politicians to return contributions from Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives, the investigative news website Raw Story reported today. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he defrauded investors and broke campaign finance laws. The U.S. DOJ says Bankman-Fried made contributions in other people’s names so he could give beyond his individual limit and buy influence.
Chavez-DeRemer sent $1,000 to the Marshals Service, Raw Story reported.
A spokesman confirmed the return. “The funds were transferred so that people who were defrauded can receive some compensation for their losses,” Aaron Britt, a spokesman for Chavez-DeRemer, said in a statement.
In an interview last year, Bankman-Fried said his contributions to Republicans were about equal to the ones he made to Democrats, but “all my Republican donations were dark,” CBS News reported in December.
A known beneficiary is the Democratic Party of Oregon, which got $500,000 from FTX director of engineering Nishad Singh. The DPO has yet to give that money to the Marshals Service.
“We take this issue seriously,” DPO executive director Brad Martin said in a statement. “We’re coordinating with federal authorities but have no other comment at this time.”