The Crypto-AI Power Couple Quietly Bankrolling Biden’s Dark Money Machine - AITechTrend
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The Crypto-AI Power Couple Quietly Bankrolling Biden’s Dark Money Machine

A husband-and-wife duo with deep ties to the AI and cryptocurrency industries has emerged as one of the largest covert donors fueling President Joe Biden’s political fundraising juggernaut. 

James McClave and Emily Berger, a power couple working at the prestigious Manhattan trading firm Jane Street, have quietly funneled millions into Future Forward USA Action – the primary “dark money” super PAC supporting Biden’s agenda and potential 2024 re-election bid. 

Tax records reveal that in 2022, a little-known non-profit group controlled by McClave and Berger called BEMC 4 Association made a startling $7.2 million donation to Future Forward. This contribution was the group’s second-largest that year, surpassed only by $15.2 million from the George Soros-linked Open Society Policy Center. 

The multimillion-dollar injection from BEMC 4 Association highlights how wealthy donors are exploiting the nebulous world of “dark money” groups to shapeshift American politics while maintaining a veil of secrecy. Even as Biden has publicly criticized the corrosive impact of undisclosed money in elections, his allies are enthusiastically embracing these tactics. 

“Voters don’t have any information about who’s giving until after the election, if at all… that’s very important so they can know who’s fueling the candidates they’re voting for, and what special interests are playing a role,” said Anna Massoglia of OpenSecrets, a campaign finance watchdog. 

While the source of BEMC’s funds remains opaque, McClave and Berger have rapidly accelerated their political spending in recent years – donating over $1 million to various Democratic party groups, progressive candidates like Wisconsin Judge Janet Protasiewicz and Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg. 

McClave, an early investor in the buzzy AI firm Anthropic which created the chatbot Claude, has shown particular interest in federal cryptocurrency regulations. In 2022, he lobbied the SEC to approve a Bitcoin fund listing, exemplifying the couple’s multifaceted tech interests. 

As dark money continues flooding American elections, the crypto-AI power couple’s seven-figure expenditure offers a peek into how new wealth from emerging industries is covertly shaping the nation’s politics – often in ways obscured from public view.  Future Forward, bolstered by donors like McClave and Berger, has already announced plans for the largest ever political ad blitz by a super PAC in 2024. Similar to other influential political entities across the political spectrum, Future Forward operates through two interconnected groups: a Super PAC, FF PAC, mandated to disclose its donors publicly, and a non-profit, Future Forward USA Action, shielded from such transparency requirements. While both entities are permitted to run ads supporting or opposing candidates, the non-profit must refrain from making this its primary activity per IRS regulations. 

Following Future Forward’s advocacy for Biden and Democrats during the 2020 and 2022 campaigns, the Biden administration openly acknowledged its preference for the group as their leading Super PAC. Anita Dunn, a senior White House advisor, lauded Future Forward’s pivotal role in supporting the Biden-Harris agenda and 2024 initiatives, as reported by the New York Times. 

Future Forward claims to have raised a substantial $208 million in 2023 across its Super PAC and non-profit arms. However, a significant portion of this fundraising appears to stem from the dark-money non-profit, overshadowing the PAC’s reported contributions. The exact involvement of McClave and Berger, or their non-profit, in these donations remains unclear, as disclosure of 2023 grants will only occur after the November election, with 2024 spending details delayed until November 2025. 

Despite President Biden’s vocal criticism of dark money’s influence and his support for legislation mandating prompt disclosure of large donors, the opaque nature of political funding persists. Biden’s emphasis on the erosion of public trust due to undisclosed campaign financing contrasts with Future Forward USA Action’s ability to run ads without revealing its donors. 

McClave and Berger’s non-profit extended its support beyond Future Forward, channeling $7 million in 2022 to the Center for Voter Information, aimed at encouraging voter engagement among young people, women, and minorities. Additionally, smaller donations were allocated to two other left-leaning organizations. 

Further complicating the picture is McClave and Berger’s association with the BEMC Foundation, a private entity that has contributed approximately $2.5 million to Vox Media’s Future Perfect Project. This initiative focuses on producing news stories covering global issues, indicating the couple’s multifaceted philanthropic and political engagements. 

Despite inquiries, Biden’s campaign refrained from providing comment on these developments, highlighting the intricate dynamics of political funding and influence in contemporary American politics.