Disgraced crypto executives donated to Minnesota politicians

Bankman-Fried soared to the heights of Democratic Party stardom in recent years.

Sam Bankman-Fried testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in December 2021. (C-SPAN)

Disgraced cryptocurrency CEO Sam Bankman-Fried donated thousands of dollars to prominent Minnesota Democrats Tina Smith and Angie Craig, Federal Election Commission (FEC) documents reveal. Bankman-Fried, who up until two weeks ago served as the head of the now-bankrupt FTX fund, also gave significant amounts of money to the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party.

GOP Reps. Tom Emmer ($5,800) and Brad Finstad ($2,900) each received funds from Ryan Salame, a top FTX executive. Salame donated $20.3 million this election cycle primarily to conservative candidates and causes, according to OpenSecrets.

Bankman-Fried gained notoriety in recent months for having the distinction of being one of the largest donors to liberal and Democratic causes during the 2022 election cycle. According to OpenSecrets, the MIT grad — who is only 30 years old — reportedly gave just under $40 million leading up to the midterms. His net worth, which was wiped out in a matter of days earlier this month, was estimated to be nearly $16 billion.

The FEC’s website reveals that Bankman-Fried gave $5,800 to Sen. Smith during this past year. He also made a donation on July 2 in the amount of $2,900 to Rep. Craig. On Aug. 31, he gave $9,756.20 to the DFL.

Craig narrowly won reelection to Minnesota’s 2nd congressional seat with a 51%-46% victory over rival Tyler Kistner. An outspoken abortion advocate, Smith was first elected to a full term in 2020.

Sen. Smith submitted a letter on Monday to investment giant Fidelity where she called on CEO Abigail Johnson to scrap its 401(k) Bitcoin plan, citing the currency’s volatility. Smith, who isn’t up for reelection until 2026, serves on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Emmer, who represents Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, beat conservative challenger Jim Banks for the majority whip role last week. He previously served as the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

In an interview on Fox Business, Emmer said blame for the FTX debacle does not fall on the cryptocurrency industry.

“It’s a failure of centralized finance and a failure of Sam Bankman-Fried,” he said.

Earlier this year, he sent a letter with seven of his colleagues questioning the SEC’s inquiries into cryptocurrency firms.

“We were concerned in March that [SEC chair] Gary Gensler was taking an indiscriminate and inconsistent approach to oversight of the crypto community,” Emmer said of the letter on Twitter Friday. “We are even more concerned now as we’ve seen his strategy miss Celsius, Voyager, Terra/Luna — and now FTX.”

Bankman-Fried’s FTX went belly up after allegedly mishandling billions of dollars worth of client’s assets. The platform was on track to be purchased by Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, but the deal was scuttled at the last minute, sending shockwaves throughout the industry. FTX is now facing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. The Securities Commission of the Bahamas has already frozen the company’s assets. At least $1 billion in customer funds are now missing, according to Reuters.

Bankman-Fried soared to the heights of Democratic Party stardom in recent years. In April of 2022, he hosted A-list celebrities like Katy Perry and former president Bill Clinton at a $3,000-a-head conference near his Bahamas headquarters. Clinton has so far remained silent on his attendance at the event following news of FTX’s implosion.

FTX was previously listed as a “partner” of the World Economic Forum, an international organization founded by German professor Klaus Schwab in 1971 to push left-wing causes like climate change, population control, and world government. FTX has since been scrubbed from the Forum’s website. Bankman-Fried has also spent millions of his own dollars advocating for radical progressive policies through his FTX Foundation in recent years.


Stephen Kokx

Stephen Kokx, M.A., is a journalist for LifeSiteNews. He previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago under the late Francis Cardinal George. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching and politics. His essays have appeared in such outlets as Catholic Family News and CatholicVote.org.