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Crypto PACs backed by Scaramucci, Bankman-Fried plan announcements

Samuel Bankman-Fried, Founder and CEO of FTX, testifies during a Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hearing on “Digital Assets Review: Risk, Regulation, and Innovation,” on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 9, 2022.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

A network of political action committees backed by cryptocurrency industry leaders are planning a last-minute ad campaign in support of congressional candidates, according to one of the groups’ chief strategists.

Web3 Forward and Crypto Innovation, two super PACs funded by crypto executives, are both expected to spend at least six figures on an advertising blitz starting in two weeks, the strategist explained. This person declined to be named in order to speak freely about the private development.

The groups plan to invest in TV ads supporting candidates on both sides of the aisle just days before midterm election day on Nov. 8, the person said. The PACs aim to initially spread their aid in California, Oregon, Colorado and Texas, but are still evaluating which candidates they will support.

During the primary season, Web3 Forward backed Democratic congressional candidates, while Crypto Innovation backed Republicans, according to Federal Election Commission records. The two PACs have not spent on an independent expenditure since September, when the primary elections were winding down.

Of the 11 House and Senate races in which Web3 Forward has spent money, eight of the group’s favorite candidates have won, according to data from the nonpartisan OpenSecrets. Congressional hopefuls included Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman, whom the PAC spent $212,000 to back him.

Crypto Innovation invested in seven races and five of its favorite candidates prevailed. They included Ted Budd, the Republican Senate candidate from North Carolina backed by former President Donald Trump.

Spending on crypto PACs will add to a flurry of cash in what is expected to be the most expensive midterm elections ever. Already, $6.4 billion has been invested in TV, radio and digital advertising.

Democrats control the House and Senate, but only by narrow margins. The Senate is split 50-50 by party and Democrats must rely on Vice President Kamala Harris for deciding 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 determine whether Democrats can keep their eight-seat majority in the House.

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

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

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

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

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


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