Erik Finman, who became a bitcoin millionaire at the age of 18, is spending up to $20 million on Republican candidates running for Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
Finman, 23, said he wants to donate $10 million to GOP candidates and political action committees, including Saving Arizona, a super PAC supporting Arizona’s GOP Senate candidate. endorsed by Trump, Blake Masters. The committee received at least $10 million from Republican tech executive and megadonor Peter Thiel, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Finman said he is pumping an additional $10 million into his new Washington DC-based nonprofit America’s Future. The 501(c)(4) will fund what it called a “mid-term tour” – a series of rallies across the country for conservative candidates. Finman’s new organization will also promote its conservative ideals as well as a proposed regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, he said in an interview.
Finman’s foray into politics comes as the crypto industry evolves into a powerful lobbying force on Capitol Hill. So far, over $30 million has been poured into the campaigns of crypto leaders since the 2020 election cycle.
Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto exchange FTX, has been the lead financier of the political action committee Protect Our Future, which has so far only backed Democrats running for office in the election cycle. of 2022. Bankman-Fried gave an additional $10 million to the PAC in April, according to FEC records.
Finman could give Republicans a similar boost this cycle. He has given tens of thousands of dollars in the past, but not millions. Election records show he has given more than $40,000 to candidates since the start of the 2020 election cycle.
Like Bankman-Fried, Finman says he’s met with lawmakers about crypto regulation and other policy issues, though he doesn’t say who he met.
He has become more active in politics because he questions whether lawmakers really understand the laws they write and the industries they oversee, he said.
“I don’t think a lot of these people are wise elders,” Finman said, adding that some lawmakers are thoughtful and knowledgeable, “and they’re golden people. But I don’t know if that’s the majority. people in CC”
Finman’s nonprofit, America’s Future, is set to launch in July and is already planning to hold a rally for George Santos, a Republican who is showing up at Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi’s open house in New York. Suozzi gives up her post in an attempt to unseat New York Governor Kathy Hochul in the primary. Finman separately gave $5,800 to the Santos campaign this cycle, the maximum allowed in direct contributions to a candidate under campaign finance rules. Election tracker Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball marks race for Suozzi district as a draw
Although Finman donated $2,800 to President Joe Biden’s campaign in the 2020 election, he has become increasingly conservative. He met former President Donald Trump in February at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida, and said he planned to support the twice-impeached president if he ran again in 2024.
Finman also spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando earlier this year. The conference is hosted by longtime Trump ally Matt Schlapp.
A high school dropout, Finman said he participated in the Thiel-backed scholarship program that awards $100,000 over two years to participants who drop out of school to pursue business opportunities. Masters and Thiel worked together at Thiel’s company, Thiel Capital.
He said he met Masters while on the program and then spoke to him again at a 2020 election night hosted by Thiel at his home in Los Angeles. Finman says he encouraged Masters to run for the Arizona Senate seat and has since donated $5,800 to his campaign.
Finman is surrounded by key Republican political advisers, including Garrett Ventry, who was chief of staff to Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., and senior communications adviser to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. when the veteran lawmaker chaired the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.
Finman also said he was in regular contact with David McIntosh, the chairman of the conservative Club for Growth group.