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Oligarchs: New Kid on the Block Sam Bankman-Fried

lpetrich

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The Koch brothers, the Mercer family, the Adelson family, Mike Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, George Soros, ... there is a new kid on the oligarch block: young cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried.

Crypto billionaire says he could spend a record $1 billion in 2024 election
Democratic billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried says he could spend $1 billion or more in the 2024 election, which would easily make him the biggest-ever political donor in a single election.

Bankman-Fried, 30, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, said in a podcast interview released Tuesday that he expects to give “north of $100 million” in the next presidential election and that he has a “soft ceiling” of $1 billion, with his spending likely to be on the higher end if former President Donald Trump runs again.

...
Bankman-Fried, who is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion and says he has already given away more than $200 million to various causes, cautions that his political plans are still in flux and that they will be contingent on what the landscape looks like.
Some oligarchs have spent a *lot*.
The most hard money any individual has spent in any election cycle was $218 million in 2020, by the late Republican casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, according to OpenSecrets.

The Adelsons have competed in recent years to be the biggest donors in the country with Democratic billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, who have each spent $75 million to $150 million in the last three elections (not including the money they spent on their own presidential campaigns in 2020).

Liberal billionaire George Soros this year committed to spend $125 million toward this year's midterms.

Beyond those well-known names, even mega-donors typically top out around $40 million to $60 million per election cycle, so $100 million would put Bankman-Fried among a tiny handful of the country's biggest donors.
What is he doing?
Bankman-Fried has spent at least $20 million this year supporting candidates in Democratic congressional primaries who have pledged to push the U.S. government to invest in stopping the next pandemic.

Bankman-Fried is an adherent of effective altruism, a utilitarian philosophy that promotes ideas like earning lots of money to give it all away.

He went into finance and started donating large parts of his paychecks long before he made his first billion, and he still lives fairly modestly, with roommates and a Toyota Corolla, with a stated goal of giving away the vast majority of his fortune as he makes it.
But he may have a more self-interested motive in mind. OpenSecrets | 2022 Crypto Industry Donors - he is one of several cryptocurrency-industry donors, and if other lobbyists' efforts are any guide, they want more favorable treatment, like more lax regulation and bailouts after crashes.
 

lpetrich

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He has not been very successful in electoral politics so far, however. He spent the most in House district OR-06, spending some $12 million on a little-known candidate who nevertheless lost rather badly.

Who is Carrick Flynn, the electoral novice from smalltown Oregon who’s drawn $6 million for his run for Congress? - oregonlive.com
And, despite his status as an electoral novice who’s barely participated in Oregon civic life, Flynn’s campaign has caught the attention of deep-pocketed funders and national political action committees -- and drawn the scorn of many of the Democrats who will share the ballot with him in the May primary.
After bouncing around a lot of places,
Flynn said the pandemic, and the way it opened up possibilities for remote work, made him realize that he no longer needed to live in close physical proximity to power.

“As soon as I had an excuse to get out of DC, I left,” he said. “Oregon has always been home. It’s where my family is. It’s where I want to be.”
He didn't intend to go to Congress, however.
“This was not the plan,” he said. “The plan was always to be a behind-the-scenes person.”

But after several friends urged him to consider running, Flynn said, he figured it could be a way to turn some of his research, including in the field of pandemic prevention, into policy.
A PAC founded by Sam Bankman-Fried printed yard signs and run TV ads, spending some $5 million, and another one associated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spent $1 million.
“It felt like a slap in the face,” said Andrea Salinas, a state representative from Lake Oswego who’s won election three times and been endorsed by the national Latino Victory Fund in her race for Congress. “Why, when we have a crowded field, would (the House Majority PAC) put their thumb on the scale?”

The answer, according to the PAC’s communications director, CJ Warnke, is that the group “is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to secure a Democratic House Majority in 2022, and we believe supporting Carrick Flynn is a step towards accomplishing that goal.”

Carrick Flynn is the effective altruism, billionaire-backed candidate - Vox - "Meet the person who wants to bring effective altruism to Congress."

From Oregon's 6th Congressional District election, 2022 - Ballotpedia the OR-06 Democratic primary election turned out

Andrea Salinas 36.3%, Carrick Flynn 18.3%, others 11.5%, 9.8%, 8.2%, 8.0%, 6.7%, 0.4%, 0.3%, (others, write-ins) 0.6%


Back to the original article,
In the podcast interview, Bankman-Fried said he would "do it a bit differently" if he could do it again, but he fundamentally stood by the decision to intervene in the race, saying he always viewed it as a low-probability, high-reward situation.

"If you're donating to political races that you think your candidates are 99 percent to win, you're almost certainly doing something wrong," he said, because the candidates don't need the help. "You should be donating such that you think you have a pretty substantial chance of losing, and I stand by that."
 

Harry Bosch

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He has not been very successful in electoral politics so far, however. He spent the most in House district OR-06, spending some $12 million on a little-known candidate who nevertheless lost rather badly.

Who is Carrick Flynn, the electoral novice from smalltown Oregon who’s drawn $6 million for his run for Congress? - oregonlive.com
And, despite his status as an electoral novice who’s barely participated in Oregon civic life, Flynn’s campaign has caught the attention of deep-pocketed funders and national political action committees -- and drawn the scorn of many of the Democrats who will share the ballot with him in the May primary.
After bouncing around a lot of places,
Flynn said the pandemic, and the way it opened up possibilities for remote work, made him realize that he no longer needed to live in close physical proximity to power.

“As soon as I had an excuse to get out of DC, I left,” he said. “Oregon has always been home. It’s where my family is. It’s where I want to be.”
He didn't intend to go to Congress, however.
“This was not the plan,” he said. “The plan was always to be a behind-the-scenes person.”

But after several friends urged him to consider running, Flynn said, he figured it could be a way to turn some of his research, including in the field of pandemic prevention, into policy.
A PAC founded by Sam Bankman-Fried printed yard signs and run TV ads, spending some $5 million, and another one associated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spent $1 million.
“It felt like a slap in the face,” said Andrea Salinas, a state representative from Lake Oswego who’s won election three times and been endorsed by the national Latino Victory Fund in her race for Congress. “Why, when we have a crowded field, would (the House Majority PAC) put their thumb on the scale?”

The answer, according to the PAC’s communications director, CJ Warnke, is that the group “is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to secure a Democratic House Majority in 2022, and we believe supporting Carrick Flynn is a step towards accomplishing that goal.”

Carrick Flynn is the effective altruism, billionaire-backed candidate - Vox - "Meet the person who wants to bring effective altruism to Congress."

From Oregon's 6th Congressional District election, 2022 - Ballotpedia the OR-06 Democratic primary election turned out

Andrea Salinas 36.3%, Carrick Flynn 18.3%, others 11.5%, 9.8%, 8.2%, 8.0%, 6.7%, 0.4%, 0.3%, (others, write-ins) 0.6%


Back to the original article,
In the podcast interview, Bankman-Fried said he would "do it a bit differently" if he could do it again, but he fundamentally stood by the decision to intervene in the race, saying he always viewed it as a low-probability, high-reward situation.

"If you're donating to political races that you think your candidates are 99 percent to win, you're almost certainly doing something wrong," he said, because the candidates don't need the help. "You should be donating such that you think you have a pretty substantial chance of losing, and I stand by that."
I live in the area. We were bombarded by Flynn ads. But he got beat pretty soundly by Salinas. Salinas has been in the area for a long time. She has deep ties in the Salem area and is well known. It proves that local poltitics can beat the outsider with more money.
 
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