Cryptocurrency billionaire Samuel Bankman-Fried, one of the top individual political donors of the 2022 midterm cycle, says that while the vast majority of his money going toward Democrats, his hope is to "do this in a bipartisan way."
“I want to do what’s right for the country, and not optimize for people saying nice things about me," Bankman-Fried told NBC News' Meet the Press Reports in an interview for its latest episode on the "American Oligarchy" and the rise of big-money political donors.
“I don't, at its core, view this as a Democrats versus Republicans thing where my core goal is boosting a party. I view this as: Having constructive people, whatever party they are part of, is incredibly valuable for D.C."
The latest federal campaign finance figures show that Bankman-Fried has contributed more than $39 million toward federal races this cycle. More than 90% of that has gone to Democratic causes (he's also donated some money to Republican candidates and groups directly, as well as to another cryptocurrency-related group that has made bipartisan contributions).
Bankman-Fried told Meet the Press Reports he's motivated primarily, instead, by pandemic prevention and he wants to support candidates who will make that a priority moving forward. When asked about whether people should take him at his word, and about whether he has a hidden agenda related to the debate over cryptocurrency regulation, Bankman-Fried replied that his donations don't show any nefarious pattern.
“Everyone should always be skeptical of things like this. Right? I’m not going to tell people that they should give anyone a free pass on this. What I’d say is: Look at the evidence, try to trace out what’s happening," he said.
"Many of these people," who Bankman-Fried is financially supporting, "I have no idea what their position is" on cryptocurrency, he said, adding that he supports "more regulation" in the sector.
One of Bankman-Fried's top candidates this cycle, Oregon Democrat Carrick Flynn, lost his House primary by double digits despite more than $10 million in independent expenditures from Protect Our Future, a group primarily seeded by the crypto billionaire.
Bankman-Fried said he pushed for Flynn because he thought the Democrat "had a chance of being one of the biggest advocates for pandemic prevention in D.C.," but that he walked away from the experience with a lesson and agreed he "probably" spent too much money in that one race.
"One of the things I learned is there are really diminishing marginal returns here. No matter how much you spend in any one place, there's just a limit to how much impact it's going to have," he said.
And asked about his previous comments floating the possibility of spending $1 billion on the upcoming presidential election, Bankman-Fried replied that his spending is "going to depend on the details."
"I want to support great public servants. If you imagine an election where everyone running on both sides of the aisle for every race was an amazing public servant, I'd say: 'Great, I'm not needed here.'"