As new revelations come out about disgraced FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and how he defrauded investors of millions of dollars only to spend their money on lascivious living and personal pet projects, one glaring fact remains: Bankman-Fried was the second-largest individual donor — with only George Soros topping him — to the Democrat Party during the 2022 midterm election cycle.
The 30-year-old crypto mogul gave more than $36 million to Democrats (particularly those who signaled opposition to regulating the cryptocurrency industry), including through Protect Our Future, a left-wing political action committee started under the auspices of guarding against another Covid-19-like pandemic.
But this isn’t new for Bankman-Fried, who’s been bankrolling Democratic politicians and causes since at least 2020. During that election cycle, he gave millions of dollars to then-presidential candidate Joe Biden as well as other Democrats. In an interview (pre-FTX collapse) titled, “Sam Bankman-Fried Wants to Save the World,” the then-billionaire said he would give between $100 million and $1 billion in the 2024 election.
Bankman-Fried is following in the footsteps of his mother, Stanford professor and Democratic activist Barbara Fried, who is the founder and president of the Silicon Valley-based leftist super PAC Mind the Gap. Mind the Gap was founded in 2018 to help progressive candidates win elections and funnel private donations to the Democratic Party. The group advises its ultra-left-wing (and ultra-rich) donors to fund 501(c)(3) voter registration nonprofits because “they are 2 to 5 times more cost-effective at netting additional Democratic votes” than advertising.
During the 2020 election, Mind the Gap told donors to give to three separate voter registration groups: the Voter Participation Center (VPC), the Center for Voter Information (CVI), and Everybody Votes (EV). In September 2020 alone, VPC and CVI sent out 7.1 million voter registration applications by mail largely to demographic groups that lean Democratic, while Everybody Votes worked to help register Democrat voters in key swing states.
“At current funding levels, the VPC, CVI, and EV programs together will be the largest voter registration drive in US history. Fully funded, they are projected to add roughly 3,000,000 people to the voter rolls, chiefly from communities of color, and yield 750,000 additional net votes in the November 2020 election in competitive battleground states across the country,” reads a 2019 memo from Mind the Gap.“Historical data suggest that 40-50% of these new voters will go on to vote in the 2022 elections without any additional campaign or [get-out-the-vote] encouragement.”
Best of all, because these donations are tax-deductible, funding such nonprofits is “4 to 10 times more cost-effective than the next best alternative,” the memo reads. Mind the Gap donors can simply write off these donations as “philanthropy” on their taxes, even though they’re funding explicitly partisan get-out-the-vote efforts.
Where does Bankman-Fried come into all this? While it appears the 30-year-old avoided pouring money into his mother’s super PAC for the 2022 cycle, his former employee, Nishad Singh, was Mind the Gap’s top donor for 2022. Singh was formally FTX’s engineering director and was only fired in mid-November after the company filed for bankruptcy.
Simply put: FTX money has fueled Democrats’ get-out-the-vote campaign through Mind the Gap for years, including targeting likely Democratic voters through ballot harvesting and sending out countless mail-in ballot applications. While this money was likely not FTX’s to spend, that did not stop Democrats or left-wing nonprofits from taking it. Perhaps this is why FTX didn’t crumble until after the 2022 midterm votes had been cast and why the two House Democrats charged with investigating FTX have been friendly with Bankman-Fried himself.
While it is true that Republicans must wake up to the electoral realities of the post-2020 era and invest in a ground game of their own, collusion between C-suite elites and Democratic Party partisans is still an existential threat to free and fair elections in modern-day American politics.