A political action committee affiliated with Nancy Pelosi threw its support behind electoral novice Carrick Flynn in the 6th Congressional District primary shortly after receiving a $6 million donation from the cryptocurrency billionaire backing Flynn.
Bahamas-based cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried made the donation to the House Majority PAC on April 4, Federal Election Commission filings show. The donation came seven days before it became public that the House Majority PAC was spending about $1 million on TV ads in support of Flynn, who lost the seat to former state lawmaker Andrea Salinas of Lake Oswego.
The fact that a prominent Democrat would financially back a candidate in an open-seat primary was so off-putting that five of the other Democrats in the race held a joint press conference to denounce the spending.
“It felt like a slap in the face,” said Salinas, who will face Republican Mike Erickson, a Lake Oswego-based businessman, in the November general election. “Why, when we have a crowded field, would (the House Majority PAC) put their thumb on the scale?”
The large political donation from Bankman-Fried may explain why the House Majority PAC got involved in the race.
The political action committee raised $9.8 million in April, largely due to Bankman-Fried’s $6 million donation, which was first reported by Bloomberg on Sunday.
An independent group connected to Bankman-Fried bankrolled Flynn’s campaign, spending $10.5 million to bolster the political newcomer. Bankman-Fried poured $10 million into that group in April, making him one of the top donors to outside groups nationwide. Other outside groups chipped in $1.7 million in support of Flynn’s run. No other U.S. candidate for Congress benefitted from so much independent spending this year, and an Oregon race had never experienced a similar outside boost.
In the end, the outside spending was not enough to tip the scales in Flynn’s favor as Salinas claimed victory with 36% of the vote to Flynn’s 18%. Flynn’s campaign and outside groups who supported him spent a whopping $1,200 for each vote that Flynn snagged.