The family of Sam Bankman-Fried, the beleaguered founder of the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, has significant ties to the Democratic establishment in Washington, D.C.
The FTX CEO’s family — consisting of his parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, and brother Gabe Bankman-Fried — has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates and actively worked with left-wing organizations committed to supporting Democrats. The four appear to have had subtle influence on the Democratic establishment for the better part of a decade.
“We’re ambitious and looking to make a splash,” Gabe Bankman-Fried said in an interview with NBC News in May.
The Bankman-Fried brothers have led joint efforts to raise money to prevent future pandemics. Of the $38 million Sam Bankman-Fried donated to political campaigns and groups during the midterm election, about $27 million went to Protect Our Future PAC, a political action committee dedicated to boosting candidates who would push forward anti-pandemic policies, according to Federal Election Commission data.
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Last week, Sam Bankman-Fried made headlines after his firm FTX, a high-profile cryptocurrency exchange, collapsed and filed for bankruptcy due to a liquidity crisis. Bankman-Fried’s estimated net worth plummeted from north of $15 billion to no material wealth. He apologized to users of the platform.
(Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The PAC only gave money to Democrats and the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund. Bankman-Fried’s donations to the PAC represented more than 99.5% of its total money raised.
Gabe Bankman-Fried, who has contributed more than $361,000 to mainly Democratic campaigns and causes over the last several years, founded the group Guarding Against Pandemics. The group researches and endorses candidates who then often receive cash from Protect Our Future PAC.
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A webpage highlighting Gabe Bankman-Fried’s role starting Guarding Against Pandemics on the group’s website was recently wiped, but was archived and reviewed by Fox News Digital. The webpage stated that he was previously a legislative correspondent for Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., on Capitol Hill between 2019 and 2021 — and worked for Civis Analytics, a data firm that works hand-in-hand with Democratic PACs.
Civis Analytics has positioned itself as a Democratic powerhouse in recent years. The firm was “born” from President Obama’s campaign after Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO and executive chairman of Alphabet, helped as a recruiter and trainer for the campaign and later teamed up with Dan Wagner, the chief analytics officer for Obama’s 2012 campaign, to help launch the company.
Schmidt provided seed money for the firm and helped gather tens of millions of dollars in funding. Civis has since been on the payroll of several major Democratic committees, including presidential contenders.
As Gabe Bankman-Fried worked for the firm during the 2018 election cycle, Civis received nearly $4.4 million from the likes of the Senate Majority PAC, House Majority PAC, Priorities USA Action, Democratic National Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The cash was primarily for research and data analytics consulting, FEC filings shows.
And Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents have also been involved with Democratic lawmakers and groups. Together, the pair have contributed more than $196,000 to mainly Democrats, FEC records show.
In addition, Barbara Fried leads Mind the Gap, a secretive organization that funnels massive amounts of money to Democratic campaigns, according to Influence Watch. The group has received major funding from well-known Silicon Valley donors including Schmidt, the former Google CEO; Dustin Moskovitz, the co-founder of Facebook; Allen Blue, the co-founder of LinkedIn; and Jeff Horing, the co-founder of top venture capital firm Insight Partners.
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“The core mission of Mind the Gap is to empower private political donors to strengthen our democracy by providing them with evidence-based guidance on the electoral strategies, tactics, and programs that are likely to achieve the greatest impact in a given election cycle,” the group’s mission states.
“Drawing on rigorous research conducted over multiple elections, Mind the Gap uses quantifiable metrics to vet and compare promising programs and to direct donors to the organizations and tactics most likely to increase the probability of Democratic victory in key races.”
Joseph Bankman, the father of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, speaks during an interview on the FTX Podcast in August.
(FTX Official/YouTube/Video Screenshot)
Fried’s connection to Schmidt is notable since he emerged as a key power player ahead of the midterm elections this month, giving millions of dollars to Democrats and bankrolling STAC Labs, a start-up tech firm that builds out data infrastructure for progressives.
Schmidt also still serves on Civis Analytics’ board of directors. In 2018, Mind the Gap paid Civis about $90,000 for data analytics services.
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Joseph Bankman, a Stanford University law professor and the Bankman-Fried brothers’ father, was involved in an effort spearheaded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to draft tax legislation. He then led a group of legal and economic scholars endorsing the bill.
“We, the 54 undersigned law professors and economists, support the Tax Filing Simplification Act of 2016, introduced by Senator Warren to simplify tax filing for all American taxpayers,” the letter stated.
“These provisions should substantially reduce record-keeping and filing costs,” it continued. “The provisions should also reduce post-filing adjustments and audits by reducing the number of mistakes taxpayers make when filling out forms.”
Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried did not respond to requests for comment. Sam and Gabe Bankman-Fried could not be reached for comment.