Ryan Salame, the former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, is reportedly under investigation by U.S. authorities for potential violations of campaign finance law. Salame, along with his girlfriend Michelle Bond, who ran as a Republican candidate for New York’s 1st congressional district in 2022, are at the center of this investigation.
The authorities are specifically scrutinizing the financial ties between Salame and Bond in relation to Bond’s 2022 congressional campaign. This information comes from a recent report by The New York Times. It’s important to note that this investigation is separate from the federal charges that other individuals linked to FTX and its subsidiaries have faced since the exchange filed for bankruptcy in November 2022.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has set limits on individual campaign contributions. For the 2022 election cycle, individuals could donate up to $2,900 to a primary campaign for a federal office candidate, and an additional $2,900 for the general election. FEC records show that Salame made two donations of $2,900 each to support Bond’s primary campaign in Massachusetts, and two more donations of $2,900 each for the general election.
In addition to Salame’s contributions, Bond herself made significant financial contributions to her campaign. She personally contributed over $145,000 and loaned her campaign more than $877,000.
In April, Salame’s residence was reportedly searched by officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, as of now, no charges have been filed against Salame in relation to his tenure at FTX Digital Markets. Salame served as co-CEO of the exchange’s Bahamian arm starting in December 2021.
Interestingly, Salame was the individual who first reported FTX to Bahamian authorities over concerns about the exchange sending user funds to Alameda Research. The potential role he may play in the upcoming criminal trials of Sam Bankman-Fried, former FTX CEO, scheduled to begin in October 2023 and March 2024, remains to be seen.