Oregon Dems Fined, Criminal Probe Into Crypto Exec Launched


Oregon election officials announced on Thursday that the Democratic Party of Oregon will be fined $15,000 and that the state attorney general will investigate the cryptocurrency executive who gave the party $500,000 last year under a false name.

The seven-month investigation into the contribution made by Nishad Singh, an executive at the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, revealed that the Democratic Party initially reported the October 2022 contribution as coming from a Las Vegas-based cryptocurrency startup, Prime Trust. The party only amended it after repeated inquiries from The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The party later identified the true donor as Nishad Singh, director of engineering at FTX. Singh in February pleaded guilty to criminal charges including wire fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations and has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors as they bring fraud charges against the company’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried.

As part of the federal investigation, Singh admitted under oath in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that he made political donations under his own name with money from FTX and Alameda, another Bankman-Fried company. Oregon Elections Manager Alma Whalen said in a statement that this was sufficient information to justify a referral to the Oregon Department of Justice to consider prosecuting Mr. Singh under state law for making a contribution in a false name. Making a contribution under a false name is a Class C felony, carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years and fines of up to $125,000.

The investigation didn’t find clear evidence that the Democratic Party knew the true donor when it reported the contribution. The division reached a settlement with the party that will require it to pay a $15,000 fine and publicly announce steps to prevent future mistakes.

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan resigned last week following revelations that she moonlighted as a consultant for a cannabis company and campaign donor while her office audited the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. Gov. Tina Kotek said on Wednesday that she was taking her time with appointing a new secretary of state to find a candidate who can rebuild confidence shaken by Fagan’s actions.

Oregon Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oregon Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Lynne Terry for questions at [email protected]. Follow Oregon Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.

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