Nearly 200 members of Congress are being asked to return donations from the crypto firm FTX or face legal repercussions.
In a statement, FTX announced that it would be sending these requests to repay its investors.
Under Sam Bankman-Fried’s leadership, the firm made close to $40 million in donations in the last election cycle.
Most of those who received the donations were Democrats, although the current speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas; and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah; are among the group of recipients.
FTX is seeking the monies by the end of the month as it attempts to repay its estimated one million creditors.
The statement from FTX reads:
“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 founder, Bankman-Fried, was not apolitical in the slightest. He advocated for light-tough regulation of crypto and was a key contributor to the DNC.
According to Coindesk, more than one in three of the 535 members of Congress received donations from FTX.
The ledger counts 196 names from both political parties. Most recipients appear to be Democrats, although co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, Ryan Salame, is believed to have donated $20 million to Republicans in the midterms.
Some political figures and lawmakers have either returned or donated the money.
The brother of former Vice President Mike Pence, Greg Pence, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., notified CoinDesk that they donated the funds.
Former Texas Democrat gubernatorial candidate, Beto O’Rourke, returned $1 million to Bankman-Fried just before FTX filed for bankruptcy.
Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, and Sen. Romney also returned the funds or were in the process of doing so.
Former White House director of communications and financier Anthony Scaramucci expressed that his relationship with Bankman-Fried damaged his reputation.
In January, Scaramucci told the World Economic Forum in Davos that he had a “close relationship” with the FTX founder and that they were friends.
“I felt close to him. I felt close to his family. So I have to tell you that the betrayal and fraud — it’s bad on a lot of different levels. It certainly hurt me reputationally,” said Scaramucci, adding, “If anybody here has read Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, you know what the ninth circle of hell is reserved for.”
Scaramucci began his dealings with Bankman-Fried in October 2021. The following year, just two months before filing for bankruptcy, FTX bought up a 30% stake in Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital, estimated at $45 million.
On November 11, FTX filed for bankruptcy. Since then, the firm has been struggling to pay its debts.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas in December 2022 and was extradited to the U.S. The 30-year-old has pleaded not guilty to all charges, including defrauding investors and funneling billions in customer money to his hedge fund to pay for his luxurious lifestyle. If guilty on all charges, he faces life in prison.
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