Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was the Democrats’ second-largest donor during the 2022 election cycle (after George Soros, of course). The Wall Street Journal explains Bankman-Fried’s attempt to buy influence with Democrats. The WSJ‘s editors write:
Cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried’s Icarus-like crash could make compelling Netflix material. One story line that deserves more attention is how the FTX founder tried to buy influence with Democrats in Washington.
Mr. Bankman-Fried became a celebrity and spokesman for the crypto-currency industry by embracing progressive causes and giving liberally—literally. Last year FTX committed to making its trading platform “carbon neutral” and promised millions of dollars to climate causes.
He also supported a nonprofit that gave to progressive media outlets such as ProPublica, Vox and the Intercept. In an interview with the New York Times last month, he said he planned to give away most of his fortune over the next couple of decades to “effective altruistic” causes. After FTX’s collapse, he might not have any to give.
The media loved the 30-year-old. But reports that he leveraged customer funds to make risky bets are making his bank-rolling of liberal causes inconvenient. Mr. Bankman-Fried was Democrats’ second biggest donor this election cycle after George Soros. Democrats accounted for more than 90% of his nearly $40 million in political giving.
During a September interview on NBC, he said his goal was “to support great public servants”—apparently, his code for Democrats. He also said his top issue was Covid. No doubt lockdowns and pandemic transfer payments helped boost trading on his platform. Rival exchange Coinbase reported a surge in deposits tied to Congress’s first Covid relief bill.
Notably, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s individual donations mainly went to Democrats who will be crucial to enacting crypto legislation that would affect his company, including Senate Agriculture Committee members Debbie Stabenow, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Tina Smith. He also gave to ranking Republican John Boozman.
Now, like so many other major Democrat Party donors such Harvey Weinstein, Ken Buck, and Jeffrey Epstein, Bankman-Fried is looking at trouble with law enforcement. Bloomberg reports that Bankman-Fried may soon be extradited to the United States from the Bahamas for questioning by the FBI. Bloomberg’s Katanga Johnson, Lydia Beyoud, Allyson Versprille, and Annie Massa report:
American and Bahamian authorities have been discussing the possibility of bringing Sam Bankman-Fried to the US for questioning, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The conversations between law-enforcement officials in the two countries have intensified in recent days as they probe his role in the implosion of cryptocurrency firm FTX. Bankman-Fried has been cooperating with Bahamian authorities, said one of the people, who like the others asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.
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