New York Solidarity Network, a State-Level Mini-AIPAC, Supported by a Sam Bankman-Fried Collaborator

By Celia Bernhardt |

New York Solidarity Network, a 501(c)(4) founded in 2021 to support pro-Israel candidates for New York’s state legislature, was gifted $200,000 from Keenan Lantz — a figure in the network of disgraced crypto-mogul-turned-fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried. Top officials from the group seem to be financially cozy with Lantz in multiple ways, according to documents from 2022. 

NYSN is back in the news after New York Focus reported that the newly-registered Solidarity PAC, set to spend in New York’s Democratic state legislature primaries, is operated by top NYSN officials. Solidarity PAC is backing nine candidates — incumbents and challengers alike — running against Democratic Socialists of America and Working Families Party picks. Seven of those races are in New York City; one is in Queens (Assembly District 37) and two are in Brooklyn (ADs 50 and 56).

NYSN worked to sway Democratic primaries in 2022. The group’s officials (listed either on the group’s website or its most recent documents) include Gary Ginsberg, described as a personal friend of Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli prime minister’s memoir; Republican operative Nathan Parsons-Schwarz, who now doubles as a Solidarity PAC official; and Republican political strategist Tyler Deaton. Both groups have been described as state-level versions of AIPAC, but unlike Solidarity PAC, NYSN’s 501(c)(4) structure prevents any direct donations to candidates and allows its donors to remain anonymous. It should be clear, in the end, how much money Solidarity PAC is raising for these upcoming primaries — traditional PACs disclose their giving. It’s less clear exactly how much money NYSN helped to usher into the political sphere in 2022, or will in this cycle. NYSN memberships cost $1,000, and members are asked to contribute at least $5,000 to endorsed candidates and causes. Jewish Currents reported that individuals that work for, hosted fundraisers for, or have been publicly identified as supportive of NYSN together donated about $45,000 to state-level candidates nationwide in 2022; NYSN itself reported spending $270,857 on “direct and indirect political campaign activities” that year.

Of the nearly two million in revenue NYSN raked in in 2022, $200,000 was a gift from Keenan Lantz’s FTX-affiliated group Prosperity Through Enterprise. 

PTE is a 501(c)(4) with no website or public profile to speak of, which helpfully defines its mission on a 990 form as “inspiring communities to prosper via enterprise.” Though it didn’t feature heavily in Bankman-Fried’s trial, PTE was listed in court documents as an organization under the influence or direction of the Bankman-Fried brothers. It’s one in a complex web of foundations surrounding former cryptocurrency company FTX’s scandals — where ringleader Sam Bankman-Fried illegally spent $8 billion from unwitting customers’ deposits on political donations and private purchases. 

Bankman-Fried and his collaborators directed huge sums of money — including those stolen customer funds — to political organizations and candidates on both sides of the aisle in an attempt to amass political power. To cover their tracks, they moved money through a web of affiliated foundations and created an illegal straw donor scheme where funds were sent under different FTX employee’s names. Lantz was an active member of a small group chat where those straw donations were coordinated, and processed paperwork for such political donations under FTX employee’s names in his role at FTX-affiliated Guarding Against Pandemics.

A representative for Lantz did not respond to requests for comment. 

A NYSN representative declined to comment on the $200,000 gift from Lantz, writing that they don’t “discuss individual donors.” 

Two top NYSN officials — Deaton and Parsons-Schwarz — had more business with Lantz that year, it seems. 

American Unity Fund, a conservative pro-LGBT group where Tyler Deaton and Nathan Parsons-Schwarz serve as senior advisor and director of operations, received a $300,000 grant from PTE. And a group named Allegiance Strategies LLC — the same name as a public affairs firm that Deaton and Parsons-Schwarz operate — was compensated over $500,000 by PTE for consulting services. 

Deaton and Parsons-Schwarz’s LLC, though, is based in the DC area; PTE’s document lists an Allegiance Strategies with a New Hampshire PO box address (the same PO box that the document lists for Lantz himself). A search for “Allegiance Strategies” in New Hampshire’s business search database yields no results. Neither Deaton, Parsons-Schwarz, nor a representative for Lantz responded to requests for comment or questions about whether these two LLCs are one in the same. 

If they are, that would mean 43% of Lantz’s $2.37 million in expenses for 2022 went towards projects under Deaton and Parsons-Schwarz’s oversight.

The vast majority of PTE’s remaining expenses — $1.3 million — went towards Defending America Together, another FTX-affilliated group that spent huge on Republican candidates in 2022.

Multiple outlets have noted that NYSN and Solidarity PAC, focused on influencing the outcome of Democratic primaries, have some notable Republican and corporate influence. Jewish Currents wrote about NYSN’s place in a larger trend of bipartisan collaboration to prevent Democratic critics of Israel from winning primaries. New York Focus noted that real estate giant Hal Fetner — CEO of Fetner properties and executive board member of the Real Estate Board of New York — is listed as having operational control of Solidarity PAC. 

One investigative journalist, Teddy Schleifer, alleges a far more direct connection between the FTX web and Tyler Deaton in particular; he’s written repeatedly that insider sources have told him Deaton guided former FTX executive Ryan Salame’s political giving (which included giving millions in stolen funds to American Prosperity Alliance, a conservative group that gave $380,000 to PTE in the same year). 

Deaton did not respond to requests for comment.

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