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US Department of Justice seeks return of FTX-linked political donations

In this post:

  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) has called for lawmakers to return political donations linked to FTX, a directive several congressional campaigns have followed.
  • The move comes amid legal scrutiny around FTX’s bankruptcy and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried, prompting lawmakers to redistribute FTX-derived contributions.

A new ripple in the political fundraising landscape has emerged as the Department of Justice (DOJ) urges lawmakers who received campaign contributions linked to the cryptocurrency exchange FTX to return the donations. Several Congressional campaigns, including Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, and Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ohio, have reportedly complied with the DOJ’s request.

The move comes after substantial donations by Ryan Salame, former chief executive of FTX Global Markets, who contributed close to $23 million to candidates during the 2022 midterm election cycle. These funds were largely directed towards Republican candidates, with Bob Latta’s campaign receiving a hefty $2,900.

In an unexpected move, these funds have now been voluntarily surrendered, intending to offer compensation for those defrauded, according to a spokesperson from Lori Chavez-DeRemer’s campaign. Reps. Marc Molinaro, R-N.Y., Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., have also reportedly relinquished their FTX-linked donations to US Marshals, further indicating a broader legislative pushback against the cryptocurrency exchange’s political influence.

Unraveling the political impact of FTX donations

This development comes after FTX’s bankruptcy and the federal charges leveled against its founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who is currently confronting 13 federal charges. The news has stirred several lawmakers to divert FTX contributions received from Bankman-Fried. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, D-Ill., declared their intention to donate the $2,900 they received from the FTX founder in November following the company’s bankruptcy filing.

Similarly, Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., has reported contributing his FTX-linked funds to a local charity for holiday food distribution. However, it remains unclear whether such funds can be clawed back from charities, even as Jason Lilien, a partner at Loeb and Loeb, posits that charities are not immune from such efforts.

While such surrendered, clawed-back funds are typically allocated towards reimbursing customers, victims, and creditors, the current status of these broader endeavors remains opaque. As such, the fate of numerous charities that have received political donations or direct contributions from Bankman-Fried hangs in the balance.

Despite the recent legal turbulence, Bankman-Fried’s contributions during the last election cycle have propelled him to become the Democratic Party’s second-largest individual donor, having donated an astonishing $39.8 million.

As the DOJ spearheads efforts to recover FTX-related contributions, its actions throw into sharp relief the fraught intersection of cryptocurrency, political fundraising, and regulatory oversight.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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