ruben gallego
FTX Asks Arizona Legislators To Return Contributions

February 7, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

In a “confidential” letter issued Sunday, debtors of fallen crypto giant FTX asked for refunds from Arizona politicians, political action committees, and other beneficiaries. Arizona politicians received at least $33,200; debtors estimate total FTX donations at $93 million, however FTX executives admitted using dark money routes to finance their favored political allies. 

The Arizona Democratic Party (ADP); Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-03), Eli Crane (R-AZ-02), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08), David Schweikert (R-AZ-01); and Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) received FTX funding. 

Of the $24.7 million given to Republicans, FTX co-CEO Ryan Salame donated $2,900 to Lesko, $2,900 to Schweikert, and $2,900 Crane. Of the $8.4 million given to Democrats, FTX Director of Engineering Nishad Singh donated $2,900 to Kelly. Of his $38 million, FTX CEO Samuel Bankman-Fried donated $11,600 to Gallego and $10,000 to ADP.

As of press time, only Schweikert and Gallego have responded to the FTX scandal by divesting themselves of the funds. Schweikert donated the funds to various, unnamed charitable organizations, while Gallego gave the funds to Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-OR-06) who Bankman-Fried attempted to defeat in the primary election through millions to her opponents.

In a press release, FTX Debtors stated that they have the right to take legal action if these contributions aren’t refunded voluntarily. They noted that any payments or donations to third parties, even charities, could be subject to FTX’s recovery efforts.

Gallego called for an investigation into the FTX collapse, in response to Elon Musk pointing out that Bankman-Fried primarily donated to Democrats.

“Musk knows about crypto schemes. FYI we should investigate FTX collapse,” said Gallego.

For years, Schweikert has advocated for maintaining freedom and limiting government oversight of cryptocurrency and other blockchain technologies. He’s been a longtime member of the bipartisan Congressional Blockchain Caucus, and introduced multiple bills in past years to advance crypto development. 

Schweikert hasn’t issued a public comment about his FTX funding either, though he’s listed as having donated the funds.

Donations directly to campaigns weren’t the only ones influencing Arizona politics.

As AZ Free News reported last year, Bankman-Fried gave the most, $27 million, of his funding to a Phoenix-based political action committee (PAC), Protect Our Future PAC. The PAC treasurer, Dacey Montoya, is a key player in the Democratic dark money network. Montoya served as treasurer for Kelly and Gov. Katie Hobbs’ campaign committees, along with numerous other political committees and PACs across at least 16 other states. Montoya also described herself as a friend of Hobbs.

Kelly, along with Gov. Katie Hobbs, gave over $1 million to Montoya for her work. 

Protect Our Future PAC shipped its millions outside of Arizona, specifically to 19 Democratic House candidates including Reps. Lucy McBath (D-GA-07), Maxwell Frost (D-FL-10), and Jasmine Crockett (D-TX-30).

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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