Super PAC Heavily Funded by Associates of Bankrupt and Corrupt FTX, Donated $212,000 to John Fetterman Senate Campaign

(p. A1) In the three years since Mr. Bankman-Fried launched FTX, the company, its executives and its philanthropic arm spent or pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in political and charitable (p. A17) contributions, consulting fees, investments in media outlets and even real estate.

A network of political action committees, nonprofits and consulting firms funded by FTX or its executives worked to court politicians, regulators and others in the policy orbit, with the goal of making Mr. Bankman-Fried the authoritative voice of crypto, while also shaping regulation for the industry and other causes, according to interviews, email exchanges and an encrypted group chat viewed by The New York Times.

. . .

Mr. Bankman-Fried and Ryan Salame, another FTX executive, burst onto the big-money political scene during the 2022 election campaign.

. . .

In early March [2022], representatives for one super PAC, Web3 Forward, were pleased when the campaign of John Fetterman, the Pennsylvania Senate candidate, returned a completed questionnaire expressing support for the cryptocurrency industry, according to people familiar with the situation.

“Need nothing further from Team Fetterman. Thrilled he is pro crypto,” a consultant for Web3 Forward emailed an ally of Mr. Fetterman.

About two months after the email, Web3 Forward began airing an ad casting Mr. Fetterman as a working class champion who was not “gonna get schmoozed by lobbyists.” The super PAC spent nearly $4.7 million boosting Democratic candidates in the midterm elections, mostly in their primary campaigns, including more than $212,000 supporting Mr. Fetterman, who won his race and is set to begin his term Jan. 3 [2023].

. . .

In a statement, Adam Goldberg, a spokesman for Web3 Forward, said that neither Mr. Bankman-Fried, Mr. Salame “nor anyone else at FTX or representing its interests had any role in deciding the candidates we supported.”

But campaign filings show that Web3 Forward received almost all of the roughly $5.9 million it raised in 2021 from GMI PAC, a super PAC for which Mr. Salame was a founding board member. GMI, in turn, received about 32 percent of its nearly $11.6 million from Mr. Salame, Mr. Bankman-Fried and an FTX affiliate.

For the full story, see:

Kenneth P. Vogel, Emily Flitter and David Yaffe-Bellany. “‘It Was Relentless’: Inside a Crypto Exchange’s Bid for Influence.” The New York Times (Wednesday, November 23, 2022): A1 & A17.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed years, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Nov. 22, 2022, and has the title “Inside Sam Bankman-Fried’s Quest to Win Friends and Influence People.”)

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