Crypto-linked super political action committees (PACs) have poured $3.6 million into congressional races in New York and Florida, flexing some political muscle on both sides of the aisle ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.
Political leaders in New York and Florida are among the most outspoken in the nation about digital assets. The mayors of Miami and New York City have taken paychecks in cryptocurrency, for example.
Now, with Washington lawmakers pitching new rules to regulate the digital markets, cryptocurrency executives are boosting candidates for the House of Representatives in both states. Although crypto PACs are hardly the only outside groups spending serious cash to influence the primaries, their chosen candidates could become industry allies if elected this fall.
PACs come in various forms. Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of money but cannot contribute to campaigns.
Here’s a roundup of where crypto-linked PACs are spending their cash ahead of primary day.
NY-01: Michelle Bond
Two crypto super PACs are wading into a Long Island congressional primary. Crypto Innovation PAC, an outside group funded by GMI PAC, has spent $411,000 to help Association for Digital Asset Markets CEO Michelle Bond in a three-way Republican primary. GMI PAC is funded by crypto industry executives including Bond’s boyfriend, FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame. Meanwhile, Crypto Freedom PAC reported spending $287,000 attacking Bond’s primary opponent, Nick LaLota. The outside group is linked to the Club for Growth, a major conservative group.
NY-03: Josh Lafazan
Protect Our Future has spent more than a half-million dollars boosting Josh Lafazan’s Democratic primary bid. The PAC is focused on pandemic preparedness, not digital assets, but it is funded by FTX chief Sam Bankman-Fried. The group reported spending $511,000 to boost Lafazan, a member of the Nassau County Legislature.
Protect Our Future is a so-called hybrid PAC. Like a super PAC, it can make unlimited independent expenditures. But can also give limited amounts of money directly to campaigns and political committees.
Lafazan has a lengthy crypto policy platform. He pledged to “proudly champion” the sweeping crypto bill released by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., in June and has filed legislation to create a “Cryptocurrency Task Force” in the county legislature.
“Cryptocurrency is more prevalent now than before, and I believe that cryptocurrency is a positive force for good in the world not only as a new technology but as a tool for financial freedom,” Lafazan wrote on his campaign website.
NY-04: Laura Gillen
Bankman-Fried’s Protect our Future PAC is also playing in several other Democratic primaries on Tuesday. The group reported spending $251,000 on TV and digital ads boosting Democrat Laura Gillen. Gillen is the former town supervisor of Hempstead.
NY-22: Francis Conole
Protect Our Future PAC's third major race is in central New York, where Democrat Francis Conole is running in a crowded primary. The PAC has spent $510,000 promoting Conole, according to FEC filings. Conole is one of several candidates on the ballot Tuesday who accept cryptocurrency donations using the platform Engage Raise.
FL-04: Aaron Bean
Florida Republican Aaron Bean has received a boost from another FTX executive in his primary contest. Salame, the FTX Digital Markets co-CEO, is backing Bean through his American Dream Federal Action PAC. The outside group is focused on broad issues like national security, rather than cryptocurrency. The group reported spending $450,000 on TV and digital ads and direct mail in the district, which includes parts of Jacksonville.
FL-10: Maxwell Alejandro Frost
Bankman-Fried’s Protect Our Future PAC is spending for a pair of Democrats in Florida primaries. The group has spent $963,000 in support of Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a 25-year-old activist running for an Orlando-based House seat. Bankman-Fried’s support has become an issue in the primary. Mysterious texts sent to voters accused Frost of being “fully in bed with conservative crypto-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried,” the Orlando Sentinel reported. Bankman-Fried’s PAC typically supports Democrats, although Bankman-Fried has made some individual political contributions to Republicans.
FL-23: Jared Moskowitz
Protect Our Future has spent $262,000 to support former state Rep. Jared Moskowitz’s congressional bid. Moskowitz is one of six Democrats seeking a South Florida House seat. The PAC has purchased digital and TV ads.
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