Crypto PACs backed by Scaramucci, Bankman-Fried are planning advertisements

Samuel Bankman-Fried, Founder and CEO of FTX, speaks during a Senate Agriculture, Food and Forestry Committee hearing on “Examining Digital Assets: Risks, Regulation and Innovation” on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on February 9, 2022 out .

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

According to one of the group’s chief strategists, a network of political action committees backed by cryptocurrency industry leaders is planning a last-minute publicity campaign in support of congressional candidates.

Web3 Forward and Crypto Innovation, two super PACs funded by crypto executives, are both expected to spend at least six figures on a commercial blitz starting in two weeks, the strategist explained. This person did not want to be named to speak freely about private planning.

The groups plan to invest in television advertising just days before midterm election day, Nov. 8, to support candidates from both sides of the aisle, this person said. The PACs will initially broadcast their aid to California, Oregon, Colorado and Texas, but are still evaluating which candidates they will endorse.

During the primary, Web3 Forward supported the Democrats running for Congress while Crypto Innovation supported the Republicans, Federal Election Commission records show. None of the PACs have bought any campaign ads since September, when the primary ended.

Of the 11 House and Senate elections that Web3 Forward spent money on, eight of the group’s favorite candidates won, according to data from bipartisan OpenSecrets. Among the hopefuls from Congress was Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman, for whose support the PAC spent $212,000.

Crypto Innovation has invested in seven races and five of its preferred candidates have prevailed. These included Ted Budd, former President Donald Trump’s nominee for North Carolina’s Republican Senate.

Crypto PAC spending will contribute to a flood of cash in what is expected to be the most expensive midterm election ever. Already $6.4 billion has gone into TV, radio and digital advertising.

Democrats control the House and Senate, but only just. The Senate is split 50-50 by party, and Democrats have to rely on Vice President Kamala Harris for tied votes.

A handful of Senate elections, including those in Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Arizona, will determine which party controls the Senate. Meanwhile, dozens of races across the country will decide whether Democrats can retain their eight-seat majority in the House of Representatives.

Web3 Forward and Crypto Innovation are primarily funded by the GMI PAC, another super PAC that has received massive donations from cryptocurrency leaders. Contributions include $2 million in January from FTX CEO Samuel Bankman-Fried.

The group also received $1 million each from Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, two managing partners of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, in May, records show. The company’s portfolio includes cryptocurrency companies.

Anthony Scaramucci, former Trump White House communications director and founder of SkyBridge Capital, donated $100,000 to Crypto Innovation in March, according to an FEC filing.

The founding board of directors of GMI PAC includes Dan Matuszewski, co-founder of CMS Holdings, Vance Spencer, co-founder of Framework Ventures, and Ryan Salame, CEO of FTX Digital Markets, according to crypto news outlet The Block.

Web3 Forward and Crypto Innovation did not respond to requests for comment prior to publication.

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