Report: O'Rourke campaign is holding on to part of FTX founder's donation

 January 26, 2023

Failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke told the Texas Tribune late last year that he returned a donation from disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. However, a new report suggests that O'Rourke wasn't being entirely truthful. 

"This contribution was unsolicited and the campaign’s upcoming [Texas Ethics Commission] report will show that it was returned back on November 4, prior to the news stories that would later come out about the donor," O'Rourke was quoted as saying.

O'Rourke campaign is holding back $100,000 of Bankman-Fried's donation

Yet in an article published on Wednesday, Washington Free Beacon contributor Chuck Ross, pointed to a recent campaign filing which "contradicts those assurances."

It reveals that the campaign provided a $900,000 refund to Bankman-Fried on November 4 but has chosen to retain $100,000.

Ross explained that those funds are being held "pending the outcome of the investigation of Bankman-Fried" and placed in a fund for "victims of FTX's collapse."

The author saw this decision as curious as "[i]t is not clear why the campaign only reserved part of the donation for victims."

Author suspects that O'Rourke may run for office again

What's more, Ross pointed out that "the pledge contradicts the campaign's initial claim that it received and returned Bankman-Fried's donation before news broke of his wrongdoing."

He argues that O'Rourke may have an ulterior motive for holding on to the cash as "an extra $100,000 on the books would come in handy for O'Rourke, whose campaign has just $212,356 cash on hand."

Ross noted how despite losing both the 2022 governor's race and 2018 Senate contest as well as dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race, it remains "unclear whether O'Rourke plans to run for office in the future."

Bankman-Fried made headlines late last year after billions of dollars in investor funds vanished from the company he founded. FTX announced in November that it was filing for bankruptcy.

Bankman-Fried was Democrats' second largest donor

Fox News reported that prior to FTX's collapse, Bankman-Fried was 2022's second-largest Democratic donor, giving generously to both candidates and left-leaning political action committees.

Examples of his largess included giving  $27 million to the Protect Our Future PAC, which aimed to elect Democratic candidates. Bankman-Fried also made donations to the House Majority PAC, which is connected to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as the Chuck Schumer-aligned Senate Majority PAC.

Fox Business reported earlier this month that Bankman-Fried entered a not-guilty plea to the slew of federal charges he is facing.

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