Crypto booster Michelle Bond is running for Congress — with help from her FTX exec boyfriend

Quick Take

  • FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame appears often on the campaign trail with New York congressional candidate Michelle Bond. He has also given to a super PAC that has boosted her campaign.
  • Salame has not broken the law, campaign finance experts say, but the crypto mogul’s donations highlight how crypto’s growing influence in American politics is creating a new gray area for campaigns.

FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame is a familiar face on the Long Island campaign trail with girlfriend Michelle Bond, a New York Republican running for Congress.

He’s also funding a super PAC that has spent more than $100,000 to boost her campaign. 

In other words, Salame is straddling the line between super PAC backer and campaign confidant. But he has not violated any Federal Election Commission laws, according to campaign finance experts. 

Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of money in support of candidates but are not allowed to donate directly to candidates or coordinate with campaigns. Salame's actions are not necessarily out of step with the way that such organizations commonly operate. But they underscore how crypto’s growing influence in American politics is creating a new gray area for campaigns. Bond herself is a crypto policy advocate.

As Washington regulators are poised to crack down amid the recent market crash, crypto lobbying has grown significantly in 2022 and industry players are spending serious cash to sway the midterms.  

These donations serve as a window into the mysterious network of crypto-linked PACs, which have spent money in dozens of midterm races — but aren’t exactly forthcoming about who is calling the shots. 

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