Minnesota campaigns received donations from crypto leaders before FTX collapsed

Minnesota campaigns received donations from crypto leaders before FTX collapsed

Several Minnesota politicians received campaign donations from co-leaders of the sprawling FTX empire before the recent implosion of the cryptocurrency exchange.

The money given to local campaigns was a small part of a nationwide spending spree ahead of the midterm elections by then-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salama. While Man-Fried Bank spending in Minnesota went to Democrats, safety dollars were intended for Republicans.

In the key congressional race in the Minnesota swing district that includes suburbs south of the Twin Cities, Democratic US Rep. Angie Craig’s campaign has received two donations from Bankman-Fried, according to federal campaign finance records.

According to a statement from Craig, he edged out Republican Tyler Kestner to win a third term: “My campaign received and spent $5,800 in campaign contributions from Sam Bankman-Fred during our last election.” “The cryptocurrency space has been left largely unregulated, and with this lack of oversight comes grave danger. Congress needs to do more to regulate this industry and better protect consumers.”

A spokeswoman for Craig’s campaign said earlier this week that it had no plans to donate money from Bankman Fried. Craig is a member of the House Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Democratic US Senator Tina Smith’s campaign also received $5,800 from Bankman-Fried, even though she wasn’t up for re-election and her seat won’t be on the ballot until 2026. In a statement, Smith said she will donate the contributions to a nonprofit organization. Smith serves on the Agriculture Committee and the Senate Committee on Banking.

“I have serious concerns about cryptocurrencies and the financial risks they pose to retail investors, which is only underscored by what happened at FTX,” Smith said. “It is clear that we need to think very carefully about how we regulate cryptocurrencies and how we can better protect consumers and the economy.”

Associated Press mentioned FTX and Bankman-Fried are under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Department of Justice.

OpenSecretsBankman-Fried, Salame, and FTX Engineering Director Nishad Singh have together donated nearly $70 million this election cycle, a nonprofit focused on money in politics, reported.

While Bankman-Fried has spent heavily on the Democrats, according to the OpenSecretsSome money also went to the Republicans. The Republican Party narrowly regained control of the US House of Representatives, while the Democrats retained the US Senate.

Bankman-Fried’s main spending included $6 million to the Allied Democrats Majority of the house PAC Earlier this year, $250,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to Federal campaign finance reports. The Minnesota DFL took several hundred dollars from Bankman-Fried in 2020 and nearly $10,000 in August of this year. A party spokesman declined to comment.

Salameh was a heavy spender for the Republican Party, according to him OpenSecrets and campaign finance data. It was among his main donations $2 million For the Republican-focused Congressional Leadership Fund.

Combined, Bankman-Fried and Salame have given more than $100,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the campaign arm of Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer. The National Board of Corrections declined to comment, and Emmer’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the several thousand dollars it has received from Salameh.

Emmer, who is expected to wield powerful influence next year as the third Republican candidate in the House of Representatives, was blunt Supporter of cryptocurrency. In March, he was one of eight members of Congress to sign his membership Bipartisan speech to the Securities and Exchange Commission to question their requests for information regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain companies.

Emmer said in a Tweet topic About the letter that his office has “received many tips from crypto and blockchain companies that reports of information that @GaryGensler’s head of the SEC made “requests” to the cryptocurrency community are very stressful, and don’t feel particularly… voluntary… and stifle innovation.”

During his recent appearance on Fox BusinessEimer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, called the collapse of FTX “a failure of central finance and a failure of Sam Bankman Fried.”

Federal Campaign Records It also showed that the Salameh-funded political committee, American Dream Federal Action, spent more than $1 million in independent overseas expenditures to support Republican US Representative Brad Finstad in his first special primary in May for southern Minnesota’s 1st congressional district seat.

Finstad won the close contest which also featured another Outside spending focused on either his candidacy or the running of state Republican Rep. Jeremy Monson. Finstad later won a special general election for the seat, winning his bid for a full term earlier this month. Salameh donated $2,900 in September to Finstad’s campaign, which sits on the House Agriculture Committee.

“We do all due diligence when the campaign receives any donation to verify that it complies with FEC guidelines,” David Fitzsimmons, a Finstad campaign spokesman, said in an email. “In light of the current news, I have reinstated the donation in question. With regard to independent expenditures, the campaign is, by law, unrelated to any independent expenditure.”

David Schultz, a professor of political science at Hamlin University, said the scope of the donations and the pursuit of them goes back to the roots of how money is raised and spent on American political campaigns. With crypto, he said, some jurisdictions have already raised questions about ill-gotten gains and money laundering.

“There are enough red flags,” Schultz said. “The candidates should have known about these problems but didn’t do anything. They just kind of jumped on the bandwagon.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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