TechDigits

Tech news
Monday, Feb 06, 2023

US political world seeks distance from disgraced donor Bankman-Fried

US political world seeks distance from disgraced donor Bankman-Fried

Now he is in risk to end up his life like Jeffery Epstein: After years of benefitting from the enormous contributions of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried — accused of massive financial fraud — America’s political elite are now skittering away, eager to put distance between themselves and the disgraced cryptocurrency darling. The 30-year-old tycoon — currently detained in the Bahamas awaiting US extradition proceedings — had in recent years become one of the largest public donors to the Democratic Party, and claimed to have privately donated an equal amount to the Republican camp too.
Recipients reach as far into the US political world as President Joe Biden, whose 2020 campaign accepted more than $5 million in donations from Bankman-Fried.

Asked about the situation Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre deflected.

“I’m limited on what I can say,” she said, in reference to a law that prohibits her from discussing political matters in her official capacity.

The former head of the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange platform was charged in the United States Wednesday with money laundering, violating campaign finance laws and wire fraud.

He is accused of making risky investments with clients’ money and fraudulently influencing the political sphere with his offerings.

“Samuel Bankman-Fried and his co-conspirators made millions of dollars in political contributions funded by (his other company) Alameda Research to federal political candidates and committees in advance of the 2022 election,” New York prosecutor Damian Williams said in a statement, referencing a practice which is allowed in the United States.

But he made those contributions in a way that was designed “to evade contribution limits and reporting requirements,” the statement added.

According to the prosecutor, Bankman-Fried made these donations in such a way that they would appear to be coming from wealthy associates, instead of him directly.

“All of this dirty money was used in service of Bankman-Fried’s desire to buy bipartisan influence and impact the direction of public policy in Washington,” Williams said during a press conference.

A search for Bankman-Fried on the US Federal Election Commission’s website shows 213 donations since 2020, including a September 2020 contribution for $5 million to a pro-Biden political group, and another for $50,000 in October of that year to the “Biden Victory Fund.”

The vast majority of those publicly declared donations were allocated to Democratic groups or candidates.

But Bankman-Fried, who made several media appearances and statements over the last several months as FTX took on water, insisted during a November interview with cryptocurrency expert Tiffany Fong that he had “donated about the same amount to both parties.”

“All my Republican donations were dark,” he said, but “not for regulatory reasons.”

Reporters “freak” out over donations to Republicans, he said.

“They’re all super liberal, and I didn’t want to have that fight.”

For some of those political beneficiaries, the bill on the price for those donations has come due: The money donated by Bankman-Fried, though legal, now feels toxic.

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York told the New York Post that she has given the money she received from Bankman-Fried to an organization working with marginalized communities.

The newspaper reported similar decisions by five other lawmakers, including four Democrats and one Republican.

But congressman Brad Sherman, a House Democrat opposed to cryptocurrency, recently told NBC that “the right answer” is giving the donations back to the FTX customers and investors through a bankruptcy trustee fund, “because it was never Bankman’s money.”

The nonprofit organization OpenSecrets, which works to demystify campaign finance, has calculated that Bankman-Fried ranked number six in top donors of the nearly $39.2 million in declared donations made during November’s midterm elections.

He becomes the number two donor when looking only at contributions made to Democrats, behind billionaire George Soros, who, via various avenues, gave more than $128 million to the party during the midterms.

The rules for US campaign finance — a complex scene which involves the exchange of billions of dollars each election cycle — depend on whether the money is given directly to candidates or raised through political action committees.

These so-called PACs — and super PACs, which are political entities that can accept unlimited contributions but can not spend directly on a candidate’s activities — play an important, if sometimes underground, role in US campaigns.

Investors, wealthy patrons, economic special interest groups and organizations representing different societal concerns donate to the PACs and super PACs in efforts to influence races for local office, Congress and the White House.

The political issue likely most top of mind for SBF, as he has come to be known? The still-nascent topic of regulations for the high-risk cryptocurrency market.
Newsletter

Related Articles

TechDigits
Close
0:00
0:00
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase
Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump's Twitter account.
George W. Bush and Barack Obama will hold back-to-back disinformation conferences
Solar + Powerwall ensures you never lose power, even if the grid goes down
This man paid for strangers' grocery and it moved them to tears
Meta introduces a new version of Mark Zuckerberg
Virtual Reality on billboards: BMW advertisement on Times Square
Apple CEO Tim Cook says coding should be taught as early as elementary school: 'It's the most important language you can learn'
Apple Executive Resigns After Viral TikTok Shows Him Making Crude Jokes
Huawei is not only better technology, but also protecting users better: Apple Warns Of Security Flaw For Iphones, Ipads And Macs
Mark Zuckerberg warns many teams will ‘shrink’ as Meta revenue drops
Elon Musk reportedly begged for forgiveness after his affair with Google co-founder Sergey Brin's wife
J.P. Morgan’s wealth management guru has some advice for recent college graduates on managing money and building wealth
Pentagon widens scope of UFO-hunting unit
Bezos' girlfriend Lauren Sanchez gives $1M to group focused on migrant kids at US-Mexico border
Hong Kong gets its first metaverse churches with avatars and virtual preachers
The ‘Dirty Quid Pro Quo’ Between Democrats and Big Tech
Elon Musk swore in March not to sell any Bitcoin, but Tesla cashed out 75% of its Bitcoin holdings amid the crypto winter just months later
Crypto winter continues at Gemini as another round of layoffs hits Winklevoss crypto exchange
Ex-CIA engineer Joshua Schulte convicted over massive data leak
EU to build new top-secret bunker
Elon Musk fathered twins with one of his executives last year
Apple launches Lockdown Mode to block spyware attacks on at-risk users
Australia floods worsen as thousands more Sydney residents evacuate
Women's own body dissatisfaction appears to influence their judgment of other women's body sizes
Hacker claims to have obtained data on 1 billion Chinese citizens
British Army's Twitter and YouTube accounts restored after hack
Google will delete location history for visits to abortion clinics after overturning of Roe v. Wade
Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Other Top Billionaires Lose $1.4 Trillion In Worst Half Ever
Philippines orders critical news site to shut down
Social media companies could be sued for addicting children to their digital-drug in California 
Airport chaos: European travel runs into pandemic cutbacks
The teen who tracks Elon Musk's jet agreed to stop monitoring Mark Cuban's flights on Twitter after the billionaire offered business advice
YouTube Shorts Claims 1.5 Billion Global Users As TikTok Rivalry Heats Up
×