Five more Republican lawmakers surrender FTX money to U.S. Marshals Service
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/TNS

Money keeps pouring into the U.S. Marshals Service from federal political campaigns and committees who received funds from FTX, the now-defunct cryptocurrency company, according to a Raw Story analysis of federal campaign records.

Another five political campaigns sent $15,500 in campaign cash to the government agency best known for hunting down suspected criminals, adding to at least $160,000 collected from 30 federal political candidates and party committees, as Raw Story first reported.

The five new campaigns that gave up the money are fundraising entities for Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

Stefanik is chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, the GOP’s fourth most powerful position in the U.S. House of Representatives.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why big-time politicians are surrendering gobs of campaign cash to an unlikely source

These mass “disgorgements” to the U.S. Marshals — an extraordinary development with almost no precedent in politics — stem from the Department of Justice urging politicians to return contributions made by FTX executives, including Sam Bankman-Fried, the company’s former CEO. Bankman-Fried faces 13 charges in federal court, including fraud, breaking campaign finance laws and violating the Foreign Corrupt Business Practices Act with an alleged $40 million bribe to Chinese authorities.

“Based on our office's investigation, we have cause to believe these donations represent the proceeds of Bankman-Fried's crimes and accordingly are forfeitable under applicable provisions of the federal asset forfeiture statutes,” said a letter sent by the Department of Justice to a member of Congress’ campaign committee, which in turn shared its contents with Raw Story.

The letter continued, “It is the intent of this office to request any funds forfeited be made available to compensate the victims of Bankman-Fried's crimes pursuant to the Department of Justice's restoration and/or remission regulations."

These letters seem to indicate the DOJ taking a harder stance on campaigns taking money from suspected criminals — and could be considered an “aggressive practice,” said Kevin O’Brien, a partner at Ford O’Brien Landy LLP and former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice.

“Forced forfeiture is a very onerous process. It's not fun, and I think that might have something to do with why they're so eager to send the money back,” O’Brien said. “Investors pretty much lost their shirt, and so the government has an obligation to collect what it can from other sources, including people who are required under the law to forfeit the proceeds of a crime.”

As for sending the money to the U.S. Marshals, O’Brien called it “unusual” and “weird.” He wasn’t sure why the funds were directed to the U.S. Marshals but theorized it could be a bureaucratic decision. The Marshals could be taking the funds as a part of its Asset Forfeiture Program, which allows the USMS to manage and sell assets seized and forfeited by the DOJ, according to the U.S. Marshals website.

“The Molinaro campaign sent the contribution it received from an FTX Executive to a U.S. Marshals recovery fund. It will benefit those defrauded by FTX,” said Dave Catalfamo, an adviser to the Molinaro campaign.

Four of the five new disgorgements came from FTX executive, Ryan Salame, a frequent political donor, according to Raw Story’s analysis of FEC records.

Salame’s house was searched by the FBI on April 27, but he has not been charged with a crime.

“Since news broke, I have waited on guidance from the bankruptcy court on what to do with the funds I received connected to FTX. Having received said guidance, I have tendered the funds to the court. It is up to the court to decide what to do with the money,” Rep. Morgan Griffiths (R-VA), who previously returned $2,900 in FTX-related contributions, said in a statement.

Among the political contributions that federal political committees have sent the U.S. Marshals to date, according to federal records:

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — $36,500

Republican National Committee — $25,000

Former Republican Sen. Ben Sasse — $5,800

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) — $5,800

Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) Campaign Fund — $5,800

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) — $5,800

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) — $5,800

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) — $5,800

Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY) — $2,900

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) — $2,900

Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) — $2,900

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) — $2,900

Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ) — $2,900

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) — $2,900

Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-NC) — $2,900

Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) — $2,900

Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA) — $2,900

Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX) — $2,900

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) — $2,900

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) — $2,900

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) — $2,900

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) — $2,900

Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-FL) — $2,900

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) — $2,900

Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) — $2,900

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) — $2,900

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) — $2,900

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) Presidential Exploratory Committee — $2,900

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) — $2,900

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) — $2,900

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) — $2,900

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) — $2,900

Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) — $2,700

Athena PAC (Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida) — $2,500

Axne PAC (Democratic Rep. Cynthia Axne of Iowa) — $1,618

Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) — $1,000