More cryptocurrency PAC money boosting Jonathan Jackson’s bid for Congress: new total $991,276

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House Democratic 1st Congressional District candidate Jonathan Jackson is getting another major jolt of help from cryptocurrency political action committees, with new spending reported to the Federal Election Commission bringing total spending by the crypto industry on ads to elect Jackson to $991,276 as of Tuesday.

The Chicago Sun-Times broke the news on Sunday that the “Protect Our Future” PAC, bankrolled by crypto billionaire Samuel Bankman-Fried, bought $500,026 in television ads. On Monday, the Sun-Times reported that Jackson’s top rivals — Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), state Sen. Jacqueline Collins and business owner Jonathan Swain — deplored the crypto special interest industry spending aimed at electing Jackson.

The new FEC filing reveals Web3 Forward spent $491,250 in media buys to support Jackson, one of 17 Democrats in the June 28 primary battle to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill.

Web3 Forward and “Protect Our Future” political action committee are spending enough money to influence the outcome of the 1st District race at the same time the cryptocurrency industry — facing a crisis as prices have crashed — is increasing its political spending to shape how Congress regulates the digital asset business.

While Bankman-Fried’s PAC — he donated $23 million of the $24 million it collected — is pushing for more “pandemic preparedness,” the reality that can’t be ignored is Bankman-Fried, who has testified before House and Senate committees, wants to influence crypto policy.

According to its website, Web3 Forward supports Democrats who “work to give U.S.-based innovators the opportunity to build next-generation technologies and services in America rather than doing their valuable work overseas.”

The purpose of the group, according to its website, is to provide “blockchain innovators the ability to develop their networks under a clearer regulatory and legal framework” in order for the blockchain economy “to grow to its full potential here in the United States.”

The spending — called “independent expenditures” by the FEC — is supposed to be done with no coordination with the campaign of the candidate they are trying to help.

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

FEC filings also show that one of the major donors to the political action committee — $500,000 — is the GMI PAC, with GMI a major company in the crypto industry.

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) said in a statement that Bankman-Fried “is trying to buy the election with a $500,000 TV ad purchase supporting Jackson. Even before the votes have been counted, Jackson has already put up a ‘For Sale’ sign.”

Business owner Jonathan Swain said in a statement, 1st Congressional District voters “aren’t interested in outsiders determining who’s going to represent them in Congress. And let’s be honest, crypto issues are not what’s keeping people up at night — rising gas and grocery prices, cost of prescription drugs and safe communities is what they’re talking to me about. This is a historic district for the Black community and I don’t think they’re ready to hand this race over to candidates who are willing to [be] bought by special interest billionaires.”

Collins said in a statement: “In a district struggling from decades of economic disinvestment, we don’t need a Congressman who’s beholden to financial special interests, or a candidate with the nerve to campaign on crypto regulation as the top issue in our communities.”

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