Revealed: The $14 Million Mystery Behind A New Crypto Super PAC


“Prime Trust was identified in the PAC file only because the transferred funds were held in an account in the name of Prime Trust for the benefit of a specific client, and Prime Trust issued the wire transfer at the direction of that client”, said Erin Holloway, president of global marketing for Prime Trust, in a statement. “This ministerial function is common in traditional and digital custodial relationships and should not be misinterpreted as controlling or otherwise directing the flow of funds.”

So who is actually the source of the funds – and why the obfuscation in the first place? After questions from POLITICO, a spokesperson for Protect Our Future said Sam Bankman-Fried, 30-year-old founder of crypto exchange FTX and emerging political megadonor, was responsible for $13 million, while director of FTX engineering, Nishad Singh, donated the other $1 million.

The Protect Our Future spokesperson said the super PAC will soon be filing amended information with the FEC to reflect the true source of the donations.

FTX had a different depiction of the events leading up to the contribution. After POLITICO sent questions to FTX about the source of the funds – and before Protect Our Future’s comment – a company spokesperson told POLITICO that “Prime Trust’s explanation is correct and that SBF was the customer”.

They declined to answer questions about why this contribution was directed through Prime Trust, which bills itself as a “one-stop shop” for crypto assets and compliance specialist, or whether the $14 million included contributions from other FTX executives.

Protect Our Future previously described Bankman-Fried and Singh as among its top donors when it launched the super PAC earlier this year.

Federal election law generally requires donations to political committees to disclose who the original source of the funding is. But pseudo-anonymous donations to super PACs have been rampant in recent years, with donations funneled through mysterious LLCs frequently appearing in reports, effectively obscuring the original source of funds.

Protect Our Future’s case was different: Bankman-Fried had already been publicly identified as a leading proponent of the burgeoning super PAC, and Prime Trust is an established firm. But the episode shows just how malleable campaign finance laws are — and how even big political spenders can evade disclosure without scrutiny.

Late last week, the FEC signaled it would begin cracking down on at least some of the untraceable donations to super PACs, with four commissioners writing in a statement that super PACs “have become an integral part of the funding landscape for campaigns” and the rules around so-called conduit disclosures are clear – that the original source of the money must be disclosed.

The confusion over Protect Our Future funding comes amid growing frustration from Oregon Democrats over the committee’s aggressive independent spending on behalf of first-time candidate Carrick Flynn in the new 6th congressional district. State.

Flynn’s opponents in the upcoming May 17 primary held a joint press conference last week where they attacked Bankman-Fried for tipping the scales towards Flynn – noting that the FTX founder has aggressively sought to bolster his influence around Washington over the past year.

It also comes as executives at FTX and other crypto firms unleash millions into new super PACs to support candidates across the United States, a process that sometimes leads to the creating branches it further obscures who is funding ads, direct mail, and door-to-door efforts in competitive racing.


Politico

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