Crypto PAC money boosting Jonathan Jackson’s bid for Congress now totals more than $1 million

More external spending by the crypto industry to push for the first Democratic House congressional candidate in the House, Jonathan Jackson, the Federal Electoral Commission reported, totaling $ 1,041,899 as of Tuesday.

There are 17 Democrats in the primary to replace MP Bobby Rush, a Democrat from Ill., And this torrent of money – mainly for TV commercials and some direct mail – arrives in the last days of the June 28 primary.

The story so far:

SUNDAY: The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Protect Our Future PAC, funded by cryptocurrency billionaire Samuel Bankman-Fried, bought $ 500,026 in television commercials.

MONDAY: The Sun-Times reported that Jackson’s main rivals: Ald. Pat Dowell (3º), Chicago Sen. Jacqueline Collins, a Chicago Democrat, and business owner Jonathan Swain – lamented the industry’s special interest in cryptography spending on choosing Jackson. Jackson has been criticized by rivals for failing to file his legally required personal financial disclosure statement detailing his income, assets and liabilities.

On Monday, Jackson promised in a statement to present his disclosure on Tuesday.

TUESDAY: 1. An FEC presentation reveals that a new policy committee related to the cryptocurrency industry, Web3 Forward, has spent $ 491,250 on media purchases to support Jackson.

2. Another new group, called DAO for America, told the FEC that it was spending $ 50,623 on direct mail to support Jackson. The main donor of DAO for America is, according to an FEC file, something called Shrike Holdings in Miami. Shrike donated $ 275,000 to DAO for America, most of the $ 295,000 he raised. Shrike has no website or significant paper trail.

The DAO for America website states: “We mobilize voters in support of candidates who understand the role that digital assets can play in leveling the playing field and creating a more equitable society.”

The website does not contain information about the people behind this political organization.

3. The Sun-Times learned that a group called the Graham Institute for Web3 – a non-profit organization – had asked the top Democratic candidates running in the 1º to fill out a questionnaire.

The Sun-Times obtained a copy of that questionnaire, which asked a variety of questions about whether the candidate supports various laws affecting the digital asset industry.

The spending, called “independent spending” by the FEC, is supposed to be done without coordination with the campaign of the candidate they are trying to help.

According to its website, the purpose of Web3 Forward, which supports Democrats, is to provide “blockchain innovators with the ability to develop their networks under a clearer regulatory and legal framework” for the blockchain economy. “It’s growing to its full potential here in the United States.”

4. Also on Tuesday, Jackson did not file his financial statement.

In an interview with the Sun-Times, Jackson said he was finalizing the document and will present it on Wednesday, less than a week before the election. He said he can’t control the external money that benefits his campaign.

In District I, a very Democratic party, a victory in the primaries is tantamount to winning the seat in November.

5. Jackson’s latest spending has sparked scathing criticism from his main rivals, basically accusing him of being used as a tool by the crypto industry.

Web3 Forward, DAO for America, and the Protect Our Future Political Action Committee are spending enough money to influence the outcome of the 1º District race at a time when the cryptocurrency industry, which is facing a crisis as prices fall, is increasing its political spending to the point of shaping how Congress regulates the business of digital assets.

Collins said in a statement: “The news that the crypto industry has doubled and added another half a million dollars in support of Jonathan Jackson is exactly why I campaigned against money in politics and refuse to accept corporate donations. My message for Jackson and his cryptographic sponsors is that the First Congressional District cannot be bought in. Jackson should condemn these special interests that try to manipulate voters for their own benefit in the strongest possible terms. “

Dowell said in a statement: “The 1st District deserves leadership that prioritizes its concerns over weapons, economic development and voting rights, not the interest of the cryptocurrency industry. The question is whether it will be an independent representative. one reason they went to Jackson: He’s inexperienced and malleable and they know they won’t buy me or send me. “

Swain said in a statement: “Democratic primary voters, especially in low-stakes elections, are very astute…. it will do a lot to move the needle. “

Shopping ad tracking information shared with the Sun-Times shows that a PAC called Forward Progress bought $ 161,211 in time for spots supporting Karin Norington-Reaves, the former CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.

Norington-Reaves said in a statement: “IEs act independently of campaigns and can do with their funding as they choose. The funding we are seeing for this career is an unfortunate gap in the system that allows foreign money to significantly influence local politics.”

While the Bankman-Fried PAC – donating $ 23 million out of the $ 24 million it raised – is pushing for more “pandemic preparedness”, the reality that cannot be ignored is Bankman-Fried, who testified before House committees. and the Senate, wants to influence cryptographic policy.

FEC records reveal that in April, Web3 Forward paid $ 3,000 for a Chicago-based company, Gragert Research, and $ 14,090 for AKPD, a Chicago-based political consulting firm, to work in other races.

The FEC archives also show that one of the main donors of the political action committee – $ 500,000 – is the GMI PAC, with GMI being a major company in the crypto industry.

Bankman-Fried is the founder and CEO of FTX, an international cryptocurrency exchange based in Nassau, Bahamas. The company’s headquarters in the United States are in the West Loop of Chicago.

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