Joseph Bankman, the father of embattled FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, helped Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., draft legislation to simplify the tax code in 2016.
After she introduced the Tax Filing Simplification Act in April 2016, Warren — who currently chairs both the Senate Banking Committee’s economic policy subcommittee and Senate Finance Committee’s fiscal responsibility subcommittee — touted the support of Bankman and dozens of other law professors and economists. Bankman, a law professor at Stanford University, penned a letter of support for the bill, which other scholars signed.
“We, the 54 undersigned law professors and economists, support the Tax Filing Simplification Act of 2016, introduced by Senator Warren to simplify tax filing for all American taxpayers,” the letter stated.
“These provisions should substantially reduce record-keeping and filing costs,” it continued. “The provisions should also reduce post-filing adjustments and audits by reducing the number of mistakes taxpayers make when filling out forms.”
But Bankman’s involvement with the legislation reportedly went further than the letter of support. The Stanford scholar was involved in writing the bill, which ultimately stalled in committee, according to Fortune magazine.
Despite its failure to move forward to a floor vote, the legislation received endorsements from Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., then-Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and then-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.
Bankman, meanwhile, has given thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission data. His largest donations were two $2,900 contributions to failed Oregon congressional candidate Carrick Flynn, a Democrat who was financially backed by an affiliated super PAC to which Bankman’s son donated millions of dollars. Bankman also donated $2,500 to Warren’s campaign in 2011. Warren was first elected to her seat in 2012 when she handily defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown.
Last week, Bankman’s son, Bankman-Fried, made headlines after his firm FTX, a high-profile cryptocurrency exchange, collapsed and filed for bankruptcy due to a liquidity crisis. Bankman-Fried’s estimated net worth plummeted from north of $15 billion to no material wealth. He apologized to users of the platform.
Bankman-Fried, who was a major donor to Democratic candidates in the run-up to the midterm elections, was hit Wednesday with an $11 billion class-action lawsuit alleging that he had violated Florida law. Several celebrities who promoted FTX in the past, including NFL quarterback Tom Brady and NBA star Stephen Curry, were also named in the suit.
Warren’s office and Bankman didn’t respond to requests for comment.