Crypto PAC Nets $400K in February From BlockFi CEO, CNBC Contributor and More

Another wave of crypto executives contributed to GMI PAC last month as midterm elections approached.

AccessTimeIconMar 22, 2022 at 4:31 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:18 p.m. UTC

Crypto political action committee (PAC) GMI landed big-dollar contributions from more industry high-rollers last month, entering March with $3.4 million on hand, filings show.

BlockFi CEO Zac Prince, venture firm Blockchain Capital (via founders Bart and Brad Stephens) and crypto investor Brian Kelly, a frequent CNBC contributor, donated $400,000 to GMI PAC in February. Kelly himself donated $250,000.

They’re the latest bigwigs to back what is fast becoming a hub for the crypto industry’s political donations. Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge hedge fund, trading firm FTX, venture fund Multicoin and data hub Messari have also backed GMI (a nod to the crypto slang “gonna make it”), which was formally organized in September.

Disclosed in a Friday regulatory filing, the latest contributions shed some light into crypto’s battle for Capitol Hill.

Super PACs can plow millions into ad campaigns to boost candidates. They offer the wealthy a gilded pathway to political influence that federal campaign contribution limits would otherwise restrict.

Crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, for example, gave $2 million to GMI PAC in mid-January, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) data. That’s orders of magnitude more than he could have contributed directly. The FTX founder was one of President Joe Biden’s single largest backers (via PACs) during the last election cycle.

FEC data shows GMI PAC hasn’t spent its war chest on any candidates, unlike an affiliated PAC called Web3 Forward that received $1.5 million from GMI last month.

Crypto candidates

Jasmine Crockett, a Texas Democrat running for a deep-blue House of Representatives seat representing the Dallas area, benefitted from a $2 million Web3 Forward-funded ad blitz ahead of her primary race last month. She nearly clinched the seat but is headed to a run-off in May.

Crypto’s influence campaign didn’t sit well with everyone in Dallas.

“The cryptocurrency special interest Super PACs shouldn’t fly under the radar with massive amounts of spending in the closing days of a hotly contested primary in Texas,” former Congressman Martin Frost wrote in a Feb. 20 opinion piece for the Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, Texas Justice Fund, a PAC aligned with Crockett’s rival in the primary, Jane Hamilton, sponsored a radio ad smearing ties to “out-of-state crypto fat cats.”

Whether crypto PAC ad buys will help or hurt their intended candidates remains to be seen.

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Danny Nelson

Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.