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FTX seeking return of Sam Bankman-Fried’s political donations

Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of FTX, made upwards of $40 million in donations to mostly Democratic lawmakers and groups during the 2022 election cycle. 

FTX wants that money back by Feb. 28, warning recipients that making a donation to a third-party charity “does not prevent the FTX Debtors from seeking recovery from the recipient or any subsequent transferee.”

“To the extent such payments are not returned voluntarily, the FTX Debtors reserve the right to commence actions before the Bankruptcy Court to require the return of such payments, with interest accruing from the date any action is commenced,” FTX wrote in a press release on Sunday. 

Some recipients have already returned the donations or announced their intentions to return the funds. 

Officials from the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in December that they would set aside contributions from Bankman-Fried while awaiting guidance from the government on how to return the donations. 

The campaign of former Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke returned a $1 million check from Bankman-Fried a week before FTX filed for bankruptcy, according to the Texas Tribune. 

Sam Bankman-Fried made up to $40 million in donations to mostly Democratic lawmakers.
Getty Images

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre cited the Hatch Act in declining to comment on whether President Biden would return Bankman-Fried’s donations.

Bankman-Fried also donated an estimated $262,200 to Republican candidates. 

Ryan Salame, the co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, reportedly donated $20 million to Republicans during the 2022 election cycle. 

Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan Federal Court after his arraignment and bail hearings.
Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan Federal Court after his arraignment and bail hearings.
Getty Images

Bankman-Fried was arrested in December in the Bahamas and extradited to the U.S., where is facing a slew of charges, including campaign finance violations, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and other counts. 

He was released on a $250 million bond in late December. 


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