Not every politician is the same kind of fraud that Florida fake progressive Max Frost is. But most of them are. Frost, who called twice asking for a Blue America endorsement oozes smooth, practiced phoniness. Within days of getting a hint that conservative crypto-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried was dangling $1,000,000 in the open Orlando congressional race, Frost had established, according to the Miami Standard, “a national council to advise him on cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies so that he might champion regulatory policy to utilize them.”
Reporting for the Washington Post this morning, Tory Newmyer wrote about how Bankman-Fried and other crypto-crooks have the corrupt, easily bought members of Congress eating from their hands. Newmyers’ euphemism: the sector is on a hot streak in Congress. Crypto, for example, told Congress which regulator it wants not regulating them— the industry-captured and utterly shameless Commodity Futures Trading Association— and Congress said, “yes, sir, you’re my baby!”
Breaking their necks in the mad rush to get ion crypto's good side: Patrick Toomey and Kyrsten Sinema (2 of DC’s most notoriously corrupt politicians) “teamed up to pitch exempting crypto used for everyday purchases, like buying a sandwich, from capital gains taxes.” They were joined by 2 other crooks, Mark Warner of Virginia and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, in proposing that a provision signed into law last year tightening tax reporting requirements on crypto transactions, be loosened now and went so far as to publicly kiss up top the crypto-lobbyists whose water they were carrying.
“The mounting stack of legislative proposals is a signal that Washington is taking crypto seriously, and that is a good thing for all sides,” said Sheila Warren, CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation, an industry trade group.
Taken together, the flurry of crypto-friendly legislation represents a dramatic turnaround from what the industry confronted on the Hill a year ago.
Last August, the provision imposing stricter tax enforcement caught crypto interests flat-footed when it popped up as a revenue source in a trillion-dollar infrastructure package. The industry, which had spent $2 million on lobbying in 2020 even as the digital asset market roughly quadrupled to more than $750 billion, mobilized what Washington forces it had to soften the requirement.
Crypto lobbyists temporarily halted progress on the package, arguing the language that applied to the industry was overly broad and would stifle innovation. They lost anyway.
The defeat proved galvanizing. In the year since, crypto interests have unleashed a flood of spending to assemble a political influence machine in a hurry.
“The industry woke up a year ago after that fight and decided they really needed to get engaged and educate policymakers, and now we’re seeing the results of those broad efforts,” said Aaron Cutler, partner at law firm Hogan Lovells and a former House Republican leadership aide.
The industry shelled out $8.9 million on lobbying through the first half of this year, surpassing the $7.7 million it spent all of last year, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. The sector now counts 191 lobbyists among its ranks, up from 50 two years ago, the analysis shows.
Crypto executives are splashing out even bigger sums on campaign contributions.
So far this election cycle, they have given federal candidates more than $61 million, the center’s analysis found. Of that sum, 97 percent has come from the leaders of a single company, the Bahamas-headquartered crypto exchange FTX. Sam Bankman-Fried, the company’s 30-year-old chief executive, has donated $38.9 million, making him the fourth largest donor in the country. Ryan Salame, co-CEO of the subsidiary FTX Digital Markets, and his wife have given another $15 million, making them the 10th largest donors nationally. FTX did not respond to a request for comment.
“There are a handful of people in this industry currently exerting an incredible amount of influence via nearly unlimited contributions,” said Daniel Auble, a senior researcher with the Center for Responsive Politics.
FTX, like much of the industry, has focused its lobbying efforts on ensuring the CFTC takes a leading role overseeing digital asset markets, as opposed to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The latest bill enshrining the CFTC’s role, offered last week by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. John Boozman (Ark.), would hand the agency authority over bitcoin and ethereum, which together make up roughly two-thirds of the cryptocurrency market.
And online exchanges for trading digital tokens, such as Coinbase, would have to register with the agency.
…Kristin Smith, executive director of the Blockchain Association, said a new Congress will need to hammer out the details. For now, she said her group is excited that the industry can point to three bipartisan bills, each of which favors the CFTC, and crypto interests are shaping the debate. “This is definitely progress,” she said, “and I don’t think it’s going to let up.”
Not if the billionaires keep buying grubby politicians like Frost. Bankman-Fried has already acquired a controlling interest in Hakeem Jeffries, the likely next leaser of the House Democrats and though he has several vehicles with which he funnels bribes to congressional candidates these are some of the big payoffs (as of June 30) this year alone. (Keep two things in mind, these are just direct payments, not the millions of dollars in independent expenditures and his family members also massively pay off politicians as well):
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)- $20,800 (Jan 13)
GMI PAC (WEB3 Forward)- $2,000,000 (Jan 18)
John Boozman (R-AK)- $5,800 (Jan 21)
Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)- $10,800 (Jan 24)
Michigan Democratic Party- $10,000 (Feb 2)
Protect Our Future PAC- $9,000,000 (Feb 4)
John Thune (R-SD)- $5,000 (Feb 8)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)- $5,000 (Feb 9)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)- $5,800 (Feb 11)
Jake Auchincloss (D-MA)- $5,800 (March 10)
Protect Our Future PAC- $4,000,000 (March 15)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)- $7,900 (March 19)
DSCC- $30,000 (March 21)
Tina Smith (D-MN)- $2,900 (March 30)
Lucy McBath (D-GA) $2,900 (March 31)
Ruben Gallego (D-AZ)- $5,800 (March 31)
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Bold PAC- $2,500 (March 310
Robert Garcia (D-CA)- $2,900 (March 31)
The Next 50 PAC- $5,000 (March 31)
Max Rose (D-NY)- $2,900 (March 31)
Carrick Flynn (D-OR)- $2,900 (March 31)
Brittany Pettersen (D-CO)- $2,900 (March 31)
Peter Welch (D-VT)- $2,900 (March 31)
Haley Stevens (D-MI)- $2,900 (March 31)
Alessandra Biaggi (D-NY)- $2,900 (March 31)
Gilbert Villegas (D-IL)- $2,900 (March 31)
Shontel Brown (D-OH)- $2,900 (March 31)
Jasmine Crockett (D-TX)- $2,900 (March 31)
Val Foushee (D-NC)- $2,900 (March 31)
Ritche Torres (D-NY)- $2,900 (March 31)
Fran Conole (D-NY)- $2,900 (March 31)
DSCC- $36,500 (March 31)
Nikki Budzinski (D-IL)- $2,000 (March 31)
House Majority PAC- $6,000,000 (April 4)
Protect Our Future PAC- $10,000,000 (April 14)
America United PAC- $1,000,000 (April 18)
Opportunity for Tomorrow PAC- $300,000 (April 22)
Guarding Against Pandemics PAC- $5,000 (April
Quaye Quartey (D-CA)- $2,900 (April 27)
Maryland Democratic Party- $1,000 (April 27)
Robert Menendez, Jr (D-NJ)- $2,900 (April 27)
Laura Gillen (D-NY)- 2,900 (April 27)
DNC- $255,5000 (May 3)
DNC- $500,000 (May 5)
Brendan Boyle (D-PA)- $10,800 (May 9)
Morgan McGarvey (D-KY)- $2,900 (May 16)
Senate Majority PAC- $500,000 (May 19)
DMFI- $250,000 (May 25)
Sydney Kamlager (D-CA) $2,900 (June 10)
Chuy Garcia (D-IL)- $2,900 (June 10)
Rebecca Balint (D-VT)- $2,900 (Jun 10)
Alabama Conservatives Fund- $105,000 (June 10)
Maxwell Frost (D-FL)- $2,000 (June 10)
America United PAC- $300,000 (June 13)
Protect Our Future PAC- $4,000,000 (June 13)
John Hoeven (R-ND)- $5,800 (June 13)
Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)- $5,8000 (June 17)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)- $20,800 (June 20)
DCCC- $250,000 (June 27)
And on top of these direct payments, Bankman-Fried’s Protect Our Future PAC--one of several operations he has set up to buy control of politicians who can't control themselves-- has spent well over $20 million so far this cycle helping elect easily corrupted, pliable politicians who will help him with his business interests, the most recent being Long Island lobbyist-owned conservative and make-believe Democrat Josh Lafazan— to the tune of half a million... in just one week. What a perfect pair they make!