Out of 535 senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress, 196 were found to have taken donations in cash from FTX.
The members of Congress were identified by CoinDesk journalists in a large research effort to shine a light on Congress’ connection to the failed exchange.
Journalists reached out to all 196 members for comments and received responses from just 53 campaigns.
Around 64% of the respondents said they decided to donate the amounts to nonprofit causes, while 38% said they were holding the money and waiting for guidance on how to give it back.
Five politicians were reportedly able to return the money to FTX.
Several campaign managers who responded to the query reportedly expressed frustration with the ongoing situation with FTX and said regulators haven’t made it clear how to give the money back.
It’s still unclear how lawmakers will approach Congress’ issue with FTX donations. So far, the investigation into FTX only revealed the public direct donations the company’s executives made to various political candidates and campaigns.
Since 2021, FTX’s CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has spent around $40 million on donations to congressional Democrats, becoming the fourth-largest individual political donor in 2022. Ryan Salame, FTX’s co-CEO, donated around $24 million to the Republican party’s candidates and causes. The donations made him the 11th largest donor in the country.
However, these amounts might only represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the exchange’s political investments. Many assume that FTX executives made even bigger donations to various political action committees (PACs).
PACs are political committees that can solicit unlimited contributions from individuals in order to finance political activity and aren’t required to identify their donors.