The Democratic Party’s three top campaign groups are preparing to return over $1.1 million they have received from imprisoned cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried, they said on Friday.
In a statement, the Democratic National Committee said it was setting aside $815,000 in funds received from Bankman-Fried in light of “potential campaign finance violations” made by the billionaire.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said it was setting aside $103,000, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which oversees the party’s campaign arm for the House of Representatives, said it would set aside $250,000.
All three groups said they were awaiting guidance on what to do with the money given, ongoing litigation.
Bankman-Fried, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was arrested in the Bahamas on Monday after U.S. prosecutors accused the 30-year-old of misappropriating billions of dollars and violating campaign laws in what has been described as one of America’s biggest financial frauds.
Prosecutors said Bankman-Fried had engaged in a scheme to defraud FTX’s customers by misappropriating their deposits to pay for expenses and debts and to make investments on behalf of his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research LLC. They accused Bankman-Fried of using the stolen money to make “tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions.”
Bankman-Fried, who amassed a fortune valued at over $20 billion, was one of the biggest political donors during the midterm election cycle. Federal election disclosures show he gave roughly $40 million to mostly Democratic-aligned groups and campaigns.
But the full scope of his giving remains unclear following an interview with independent journalist Tiffany Fong in which the former executive said his money actually went about evenly to Republicans and Democrats. Bankman-Fried said his pro-Republican outlays have not been disclosed to the public, an area of campaign finance known as “dark money.”
It was not immediately possible to contact Bankman-Fried, who is in a Bahamian jail. Bankman-Fried has apologized to customers but said he is not guilty of any crime.
The Washington Post first reported on the campaign groups’ decision to set aside the funds.
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