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Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried loses Washington lobbyists

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FTX Sam Bankman-Fried CEO testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on Dec. 8, 2021 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.

Alex Wong | Getty Images

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and his supporters are losing supporters in Washington as the company hits rock bottom.

The lobbyists who worked at FTX and Guarding Against Pandemic, a non-profit organization partially funded by Bankman-Freed and run by his brother, Gabe Bankman-Freed, are virtual He told CNBC that he cut ties with them after the currency exchanges collapsed.

FTX announced on Friday that filing Bankman-Fried is stepping down as CEO after the Chapter 11 bankruptcy and disclosure of the company’s liquidity crisis.

FTX’s shocking downfall sent lawmakers in Washington, including the Biden White House, scrutinize more closely company and industry as a whole. Some of his moves away from FTX in Washington follow widespread pressure on the company and key executives to please policy makers.

According to OpenSecrets data, Bankman-Fried has become known in Washington as the cryptocurrency “darling” as he donated more than $39 million to candidates and committees in the 2022 midterm elections. FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame donated more than $23 million in the same election cycle, according to data.

However, many of FTX’s efforts to gain a foothold in Washington appear to have stalled. After Bankman-Fried donated his $2,900 to Senator Dick Durbin’s campaign in Illinois this year, the Senate Democratic no. will be done,” he said.

Eliora Katz, a former aide to Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who was listed in the disclosure report as FTX’s only internal lobbyist, no longer works for the company, according to a person familiar with the matter. It is unclear when she quit, if she resigned or if she was fired. According to the Lobbying Disclosure Report, FTX spent her $540,000 on internal lobbying in the second and third quarters of this year combined. FTX has listed Katz working for the company in its third-quarter lobbying disclosure, which includes July through September.

Some of the people featured in this article have refused to be named to discuss private matters.Emails bounced back to Katz’s FTX address.

The Conaway-Graves Group, a lobbying firm run by former Texas GOP Congressman Mike Conaway and his former Chief of Staff Scott Graves, also closed jobs at FTX last week as the company neared announcing bankruptcy. stopped.

“Our relationship with FTX ended early last week and we will no longer represent FTX,” Graves said in an email.

At least three trade associations do not represent FTX. Chamber of Progress, which lists cryptocurrency partners such as Blockchain.com and Ripple on its website, is no longer working with FTX, said a person briefed on the matter.

The Digital Asset Markets Association, a cryptocurrency advocacy group run by industry advocate Michelle Bond, has removed all prominent traces of FTX from its website.who is bond reportedly He approached Salaam to conduct an unsuccessful Republican primary election for a seat in the New York House of Representatives.

was announced in February FTX and FTX US joining the Group’s Board of Directors; An archived version of the group’s website shows that his Ryne Miller, general counsel for FTX US, and Mark Wetjen, the company’s head of policy and regulatory strategy, were once listed on the industry group’s board of directors. is shown.

Wetjen served on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under former President Barack Obama. “On Thursday, ADAM removed FTX.com and FTX.US from their membership,” a spokesperson for the crypto trading group told CNBC. The group added, “The removal is due to the recently discovered cheating by FTX.”

Coindesk believes that FTX resigned From the Crypto Council for Innovation, another crypto industry trade body.

Health nonprofits partially funded by Bankman-Fried and run by his brother have also lost some ties to Washington.

Guarding Against Pandemics, a 501(c)(4) advocating for public investment to prevent the next Covid-19 pandemic, has lost Ridge Policy Group as one of its lobbyists, the company told CNBC.Lobbying group led by former secretary of state Tom Ridge of the Department of Homeland Security.

The company’s chief administrative officer, Pamela Curtis Sherman, said in an email to CNBC, “The Ridge Policy Group no longer represents The Guards Against the Pandemic. Sherman does not know when that decision will be made. He did not say what happened or why the relationship between the two ended.

But the announcement comes after the nonprofit appeared to distance itself from Bankman-Fried and his brother.

On Monday afternoon, Guarding Against Pandemics removed the “about” section of its website. According to his Wayback Machine in the Internet Archive, the “about” section listed Bankman-Fried as a contributor and Gabe Bankman-Fried as a founder and director. The nonprofit did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Even before FTX collapsed, the nonprofit lost another lobbying firm, Ogilvy Government Relations. Gordon Taylor, a principal at that company, said in a short interview with CNBC that his contract with Guarding Against Pandemics expired in late October and has not been renewed.

It is unclear why the company did not renew the contract.

— CNBC’s Mary Catherine Wellons contributed to this report.

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