Sam Bankman-Fried says he's the Republicans' third-biggest donor, but used 'dark money' to avoid media criticism




  • In Politics
  • 2022-11-30 14:14:15Z
  • By Business Insider
This is a photo of Sam Bankman-Fried looking to the side.
This is a photo of Sam Bankman-Fried looking to the side.  
  • Sam Bankman-Fried is the second-largest donor to Democrats after George Soros.

  • But the FTX founder said he gave just as much to Republicans using "dark money."

  • He said he did so to avoid media criticism from "liberal" reporters who would "freak the f*** out."

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, says he's the Republicans' third-biggest donor - but used "dark money" to avoid criticism.

He revealed the information in a YouTube interview with journalist Tiffany Fong, amid reports that he donated $40 million to the Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

That made Bankman-Fried the party's number-two donor, behind only George Soros' $128 million, per OpenSecrets.

But the former CEO of the failed crypto exchange has now explained how he donated "about the same amount to both parties this year."

"I've been their third-biggest Republican donor this year as well," he said.

Bankman-Fried explained that this was "not generally known," because "all my Republican donations were dark."

He also referred to the 2010 Citizens United case in the Supreme Court that let corporations and outside groups make unlimited political donations.

This created financing loopholes because these groups did not have to disclose their donors, giving rise to "dark money" that are called "disturbingly common" by the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice.

Bankman-Fried said he did so to avoid media criticism, rather than for regulatory reasons.

"Reporters freak the f*** out if you donate to a Republican," he said. "They're all secretly liberal and I didn't want to have that fight, so I made all the Republican ones dark."

"Despite Citizens United being the literally the highest-profile Supreme Court case of the decade and the thing everyone talks about with campaign finance, for some reason in practice no-one can possibly fathom the idea that someone actually gave dark."

Bankman-Fried has been under the spotlight since FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11.

Once valued at $32 billion, the exchange is now facing lawsuits for fraud while its top 50 creditors are owed more than $3 billion. Bankruptcy lawyers also revealed that FTX didn't have an accounting department. 

The Financial Times reported how employees enjoyed luxury benefits such as $200-a-day for food delivery and a private plane to fly Amazon packages from Miami to the Bahamas.

Once the richest person under 30 with a net worth of $26 billion, Bankman-Fried told Axios on Monday that he's now down to his last $100,000.

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