Washington, D.C. politicians are distancing themselves from the fallen crypto king who, just one year ago, told Congress his goal was to “create a positive impact on the world.”
But that goal came crashing down with the collapse of his cryptocurrency company, FTX Trading Ltd. (FTX), and his abrupt arrest Monday.
Bankman-Fried — colloquially known as SBF — opened his checkbook to members of Congress and donated more than $40 million to political campaigns in the 2022 election cycle alone.
Some of his biggest beneficiaries were Democrat-leaning super PACs. Those donations are now facing scrutiny as federal prosecutors allege Bankman-Fried illegally used that money by misappropriating customer funds.
Two senators, Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and John Boozeman (R-Ark.), said their offices had or would donate the money to charity.
Others, like soon-to-be House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senators Joe Manchin and Kirsten Gillibrand, already donated their now-tainted funds prior to the arrest this week.
At least 50 other members of Congress have not announced what they intend to do with the funds.
The new political implications come amid efforts in Washington to regulate cryptocurrency, which has grown from a niche investment to a major player in the financial field.
In a recent interview with cryptocurrency commentator Tiffany Fong, Bankman-Fried said he donated an equal amount to Republicans, but used methods that are not publicly disclosed, also known as “dark” money.
“All my Republican donations were dark. The reason was not for regulatory reasons, it’s because reporters freak the f–k out if you donate to Republicans. They’re all super liberal, and I didn’t want to have that fight.”