Crypto billionaire fallout: Rivals blast Jonathan Jackson for not filing personal finance disclosure

Ald. Pat Dowell, state Sen. Jaqueline Collins and business owner Jonathan Swain criticized the PAC bankrolled by crypto billionaire Samuel Bankman-Fried spending $500,065 to elect Jackson.

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Samuel Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of FTX

Samuel Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of FTX

Saul Loeb/AFP file photo

Democratic House primary candidate Jonathan Jackson was blasted by his leading 1st Congressional District rivals on Monday for not filing his legally required personal financial disclosures as they deplored the $500,065 being spent by a crypto billionaire’s PAC to elect him.

The $500,065 from an outside group, Protect Our Future, is paying for television ads — which have the potential to upend the crowded contest to replace retiring Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., because they feature Jackson’s famous father, Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Polling shared with the Chicago Sun-Times shows that voters have no particular interest in a rather unknown generically named “Jonathan Jackson.” Once they learn who his father is, Jackson’s numbers jump.

The Sun-Times revealed Sunday how the “Protect Our Future” political action committee is spending $500,065 to support Jackson — at the same time the billionaire funder of the PAC, Samuel Bankman-Fried, is trying to shape how Congress regulates the digital asset industry.

While Bankman-Fried’s PAC — he donated $23 million of the $24 million it collected — is pushing for more “pandemic preparedness,” the reality that can’t be ignored is Bankman-Fried, who has testified before House and Senate committees, wants to influence crypto policy.

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) said in a statement that Bankman-Fried “is trying to buy the election with a $500,000 TV ad purchase supporting Jackson. Even before the votes have been counted, Jackson has already put up a ‘For Sale’ sign.”

As for Jackson not filing his disclosure report, “People need to know how much money he has, and how he makes his money,” Dowell said in a Sun-Times interview, where she added, “this particular billionaire should not have any influence on a local congressional race.”

State Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, noting that Jackson loaned his campaign $50,000, said, “As of today, he still hasn’t filed, and voters have no idea where the tens of thousands of dollars he’s loaned his campaign come from. Jackson needs to follow the law. Period.”

Business owner Jonathan Swain said in a statement, 1st Congressional District voters “aren’t interested in outsiders determining who’s going to represent them in Congress. And let’s be honest, crypto issues are not what’s keeping people up at night — rising gas and grocery prices, cost of prescription drugs and safe communities is what they’re talking to me about. This is a historic district for the Black community and I don’t think they’re ready to hand this race over to candidates who are willing to [be] bought by special interest billionaires.”

JACKSON PROMISES TO FILE PERSONAL DISCLOSURE REPORT ON TUESDAY

After being blasted by his rivals Monday, Jackson told the Sun-Times, “I apologize that filing my personal financial disclosure statement has taken this long. It will be filed tomorrow.”

Jackson is close to House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who has known him since he was a kid. Bankman-Fried’s PAC also paid $151,420 for direct mail pieces to boost Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., who does not have a Democratic primary opponent — but is a member of the Financial Services Committee.

The Sun-Times revealed on June 2 that Jackson did not file the report mandated for all House candidates, detailing income, assets, loans and debts — though all his top rivals followed the law. Jackson told the Sun-Times then, “That’s an oversight and a mistake that I did not file” and he “absolutely” will submit his filing.

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Bankman-Fried is the founder and CEO of FTX, an international cryptocurrency exchange based in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.

Collins continued in her statement, “In a district struggling from decades of economic disinvestment, we don’t need a Congressman who’s beholden to financial special interests, or a candidate with the nerve to campaign on crypto regulation as the top issue in our communities.”

Candidates for the House of Representatives are required under the federal Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to file financial disclosures detailing income sources, liabilities and assets.

MYSTERY PAC BACKING KARIN NORINGTON-REAVES

Spots are being run by a new political action fund, Forward Progress, supporting Karin Norington-Reaves, the former CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. The mysterious PAC has not reported its independent expenditure to the Federal Election Commission, even though TV time has already been bought. FEC rules require PACs making independent expenditures to report spending within 24 or 48 hours. Television ad-buy tracking information shared with the Sun-Times shows Forward Progress bought $161,211 worth of time their spots.

PACs making independent expenditures are prohibited from coordinating or communicating with the campaigns they are trying to help.

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