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

Democratic House primary candidate Jonathan Jackson was blasted by two leading rivals, Ald. Pat Dowell and state Sen. Jacqueline Collins, on Monday for not filing his required personal financial disclosures and deplored the $500,065 being spent by a crypto billionaire’s PAC to elect him.

The Sun-Times revealed Sunday how the “Protect Our Future” political action committee is spending $914,944 to influence the outcome of three Democratic House primaries in Illinois 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 he has substantial digital asset policy matters before Congress can’t be ignored.

Dowell 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.”

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 “that’s an oversight and a mistake that I did not file” and he “absolutely” will submit his filing.

In a story posted Sunday, the Sun-Times noted that Jackson has close personal ties to House Financial Services Chair Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and has shown an interest in that committee if elected.

“People need to know how much money he has, and how he makes his money,” Dowell said.

Collins, noting that Jackson loaned his campaign $50,000, said, “Two weeks ago Jonathan Jackson claimed it was ‘an oversight and a mistake’ that he failed to file the federally required financial disclosure report as a candidate for Congress. 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.”

At this point, Dowell said in an interview with the Sun-Times, “It’s a deliberate decision on his part not to file.”

In her statement, Dowell said,“Voters of the 1st Congressional District deserve a leader they can trust, not one that will be influenced by dark money interests. Additionally, Jackson has refused to file his personal financial disclosure forms — voters need to know who else is paying for him. What is he hiding? Our elections are not for sale. In America, voters choose elected officials, not billionaires.”

The matter of Jackson’s nondisclosure was revived after the Sun-Times reported that in the closing days of the primary — when Jackson’s campaign was short of cash — his candidacy was being boosted by an outside group almost entirely funded Bankman-Fried.

Jackson’s position statements about digital asset regulation and pandemic preparedness are at the top of his website’s issues sections.

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

Said Collins. “To add insult to injury, Jackson has allowed billionaire special interests to infiltrate this race despite lip-service to voters that he’ll be a voice for them in Congress. Even worse, Jackson is pretending his indebtedness to crypto billionaire Samuel Bankman-Fried is due to being the best candidate on future pandemic readiness. This, despite the fact that Jackson’s top issue on his website endorses crypto regulation legislation Bankman-Fried is trying to pass in Congress. This is not a coincidence.”

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. As the former Chair of the Senate Financial Institutions Committee, I’ve fought to protect the community from these same kinds of special interests that work against our democracy. I’m the only candidate in the race who has refused to accept donations from corporations. In Congress.”

Disclosures about personal finances are different from campaign finance reports filed with the FEC.

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.

This is a developing story.

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