Last Updated on November 30, 2022
Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman Fried, commonly referred to as “SBF,” bragged about using a Citizens United loophole to give $37 million in “dark money” to Republicans. The term “dark money” refers to political spending in which the funding source is not disclosed. As National File previously reported, longtime GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in part used FTX funds to attack America First/MAGA candidates in GOP primaries before withholding funding in the general election. Dark money PACs also mobilized to defeat notable America First Republicans in Anthony Sabatini of Florida and Joe Kent of Washington.
In recently released audio, SBF can be heard discussing how he donated $37 million in dark money to Republicans. His reasoning was that the corporate press would have “freaked out” if he donated the funds outright.
“I donated about the same amount to both parties this year,” SBF said. He then went on to brag about how easy it is for big money donors to skirt the Citizens United ruling
“That is not generally known because, despite Citizens United being literally the highest profile Supreme Court case and the thing everyone talks about when they talk about campaign finance. For some reason, in practice, no one can possibly fathom the idea that someone in practice actually gave dark,” he said.
“So, I don’t know, all my Republican donations were dark,” SBF continued. “And the reason was not for regulatory reasons, it’s just reporters freak the f**k out if you donate to a Republican, they’re all secretly liberal and didn’t wanna have that fight, so I made all the Republican ones dark,” the disgraced FTX boss said of his Republican donations.
SBF used a loophole in the Citizens United rule to donate $37M of "dark money" to Republicans
"I donated about the same amount of money to both parties this year … I just didn't disclose the Republican ones bc the media would freak the f*** out" pic.twitter.com/IUh6VG42nq
— Nancy Pelosi Stock Tracker ♟ (@PelosiTracker_) November 29, 2022
While SBF did not disclose all of his donations to Republicans, those he did disclose demonstrated a clear preference for the establishment GOP. Kevin McCarthy’s Congressional Leadership Fund received $2 million from FTX, while Mitch McConnell’s Senate leadership fund, which likewise fought against then abandoned America First candidates, received its own donation of $2.5 million.
In terms of maximum individual donations, SBF donated the maximum amount to Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, including Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA). He also gave over $27 million to Democrats in close house races, funds that were crucial to securing a newly created district in Oregon.
Sam Bankman Fried has demonstrated that he prefers GOP establishment/anti-Trump candidates, leading many to speculate that much of his $37 million in dark money donations was used much the same way.
As National File previously reported, America First candidates came under attack from a “secretive” anti-MAGA effort funded by numerous dark money groups in the 2022 primary cycle. GOP lobbyist Jeff Miller, described as one of McCarthy’s “closest friends,” and Brian Walsh, an establishment strategist who McCarthy brought in to take down U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, received millions in FTX funds to conduct their anti-MAGA campaign.
According to a report from The Washington Post, “most” of the money (millions of dollars), “came from Ryan Salame, an executive at cryptocurrency exchange FTX.”
FTX, The Post explained, is “a major donor to both McCarthy’s own operation and to other groups backing McCarthy’s favored candidates.”