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- CoinDesk reported Wednesday that FTX execs, including Sam Bankman-Fried, gave campaign funds to 196 members of Congress.
- Among those named in the report include Kevin McCarthy, Chuck Schumer, and some lawmakers who were just sworn in this month.
- Of the 53 campaigns that responded to CoinDesk on the record, 64% said they are forwarding the funds to nonprofit causes.
Former executives of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, including founder Sam Bankman-Fried, gave campaign funds to 196 of the 535 senators and representatives in the US Congress, according to a Tuesday CoinDesk report.
Among those who received donations were House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as well as many lawmakers who swore into the congressional ranks only this month, the report found.
After a series of reports and legal allegations emerged in November, however, lawmakers grew concerned that the FTX funds stemmed from a fraudulent source, and many of them have since moved to get rid of what they received.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11, and Bankman-Fried was charged with fraud in December. He has pleaded not guilty.
Of the 53 campaigns that commented on the record to CoinDesk, 64% said they would forward the donated funds to nonprofit causes. Others said they would are in talks with the Justice Department to put aside the money until it can be used to help compensate FTX creditors.
California Representative Lou Correa, for example, took a $2,900 donation directly from Bankman-Fried, CoinDesk found, although he said the two had never met or spoken. He plans to donate that amount to his alma mater, California State University, Fullerton.
A warning from FTX’s new leadership
Politicians looking to donate or move money from FTX may face resistance from the crypto exchange’s new management, led by John Ray III, who has been attempting to recover funds lost by FTX creditors.
“Making a payment or donation to a third party (including a charity) in the amount of any payment received from a FTX contributor does not prevent the FTX debtors from seeking recovery,” FTX said last month in a statement.
It remains to be seen whether political donations will be subject to clawbacks. If money was stolen, according to FTX’s new leadership, then it isn’t something that can be freely doled out via donations.
Some of the political campaigns told CoinDesk they have talked to FTX’s bankruptcy team regarding what to do with the funds.
Of those who spoke to CoinDesk, 38% said they were waiting for further instructions on how to give the money back.
Meanwhile, of the 196 members of Congress who accepted funds from former FTX executives, 73% did not respond to CoinDesk’s’ requests for comment.