Senator-elect John Fetterman (D., Pa.) disavowed "dirty money" from corporate interests in his Senate campaign. Crypto scam artist Sam Bankman-Fried was an apparent exception, according to campaign finance records.
Web3 Forward, a pro-crypto super PAC funded heavily by Bankman-Fried, spent more than $210,000 on ads portraying Fetterman as a blue-collar hero who would not "get schmoozed by lobbyists," the New York Times reported. Bankman-Fried, his crypto firm FTX, and one of his cofounders gave nearly $4.1 million to GMI PAC, another tech-oriented group that is the sole funder of Web3 Forward.
Bankman-Fried’s support for Fetterman undercuts the Democrat’s campaign trail pledge to shun corporate campaign donations. "No dirty money. No corporate PACs," Fetterman tweeted on May 12, days after the Web3 ads ran supporting him.
According to the Times, Web3 Forward launched the pro-Fetterman ads two months after he expressed support for cryptocurrencies in response to Web3’s candidate questionnaire.
"Need nothing further from Team Fetterman. Thrilled he is pro crypto," a consultant for Web3 Forward wrote to a Fetterman ally, according to the Times.
Fetterman was far from the only Democrat to benefit from Bankman-Fried’s support. In 2020, Bankman-Fried contributed $5 million to Future Forward, a committee that supported President Joe Biden. He gave around $40 million to Democratic committees and congressional candidates during this election cycle. The entrepreneur and his associates also gave more than $300,000 in support for nine members of the House Financial Services Committee, which is poised to investigate FTX’s collapse, the Washington Free Beacon reported. The Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department are reportedly investigating whether FTX mishandled customer funds.
Fetterman’s spokesman sought to distance the senator-elect from Bankman-Fried, according to the Times.
"Sam Bankman-Fried must be held fully accountable," Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello told the newspaper.