Heavy New Developments In The SBF FTX Case/Scandal
Oddly, No Politicians Arrested For Taking Bribes-- DOJ Should Begin With McCarthy And Jeffries
For me, the key point in the 12 new criminal counts in the superseding indictment unsealed in New York yesterday was that Bankman-Fried and his cronies made more than 300 illegal political donations— tens of millions of dollars worth— as part of a straw donor scheme using stolen corporate funds to evade contribution limits on individual contributions to candidates.
One notable new charge, reported Matt Stieb, “involves how Bankman-Fried allegedly made ‘unlawful political contributions to acquire bipartisan influence.’ While he was publicly known as a super-donor for Democrats since 2020, prosecutors describe how SBF allegedly broke the law by routing customer funds through straw donors. In a scheme he pretty much admitted to in December, the indictment states that SBF gave money to one FTX co-conspirator (believed to be Nishad Singh) when he wanted to donate to Democrats and gave money to another (believed to be Ryan Salame) when he wanted to donate to Republicans in an effort to influence politicians to craft industry-friendly crypto regulation. In one instance, according to the indictment, SBF wanted to donate to a super PAC supporting pro-LGBTQ+ congressional candidates and asked the unnamed co-conspirator donating to Democrats to do it. An unnamed political consultant working for SBF said to them, ‘You being the center left face of our spending will mean you giving to a lot of woke shit for transactional purposes.’ The co-conspirator wasn’t comfortable with putting the transaction in his name but admitted that there was no one else ‘trusted at FTX [who was] bi/gay’ who could make the contribution.
Writing for CNBC, Dan Mangan and Brian Schwartz reported that “The 12-count indictment also provides new details of political donations that Bankman-Fried allegedly directed in violation of federal campaign finance laws. The document lays out how Bankman-Fried allegedly operated an illegal straw donor scheme as he moved to use customers funds to run a $40 million political influence campaign. ‘To avoid certain contributions being publicly reported in his name, Bankman-Fried conspired to and did have certain political contributions made in the names of two other FTX executives,’ the new filing claims.” The indictment charges him with contributing to— they never call it bribing— “candidates of both major political parties and across the political spectrum” but notes that Bankman-Fried, a conservative Democrat, did not want to be associated with left-wing of the Democratic Party.
It appears that SBF’s whole inner circle— other than his crooked and complicit family— is working with the Feds to nail him, particularly, Nishad Singh, Caroline Ellison, Ryan Salame and Gary Wang.
Interestingly, much of the mainstream media either ignores the political aspect of the scandal or plays it down. Yesterday’s reporting by the Wall Street Journal, for example, covered up for their friends in Congress entirely. Not a single word that would lead readers to understand that Bankman-Fried and his cabal were bribing dozens of members of Congress from both corrupted party establishments to the tune of over $100 million. Crickets from The Journal.
So far, there is no public spread sheet showing which members of Congress took bribes from the stolen FTX loot. Tracing all that money accurately— at least $100 million— will be extremely complicated because Bankman-Fried and his cronies went to great lengths to hide much of it, contributing towards other entities that then contributed to the candidates SBF was trying to bribe. Over 100 Republicans and over 50 Democrats took direct contributions from FTX executives and designated straw donors, like, for example, Daniel Friedberg, a minor character in the scheme who was directed by Salame to max out to George Santos, who Friedberg had never heard of but who is exactly the kind of ethics-free, dishonest political animal SBF was eager to buy. Friedberg also maxed out to Salame’s girlfriend, Michelle Bond, like Santos a Republican candidate on Long Island. Often designated crooked candidates got multiple contributions from several FTX executives and their PACs, especially obvious crooks like Santos and Alabama Senator Katie Britt, who took in immense amounts of FTX bribes and has already been screaming about how crypto shouldn’t be regulated, which is exactly what they paid her to do.
Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, has emphasized that "These contributions were disguised to look like they were coming from wealthy co-conspirators when in fact the contributions were funded by Alameda Research with stolen customer money in service of Bankman-Fried’s desire to buy bipartisan influence and impact the direction of public policy in Washington."
Bankman-Fried was eager for whatever regulations would come down to be overseen by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and absolutely not the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is easily corrupted and “lenient,” the opposite of the SEC. And the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, which explains why huge sums in FTX bribes went to members of those two otherwise unlikely committees. Bankman-Fried paid at least $1.2 million to John Boozman (R-AR), the ranking member on the Senate committee in return for him writing the bill Bankman-Fried preferred. His co-sponsor was the committee chair, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) who wasn’t on the ballot last year but who was given $59,000 in direct contributions from Bankman-Fried and his fellow FTX executives. FTX executives spent a minimum of $6.2 million— probably much more— bribing members of the Agriculture Committee. In the House, the big recipients were 5 notorious crooks:
Rodney Davis (R-IL)- $2.4 million
Brad Finstad (R-MN)- $1.2 million
Shontel Brown (D-OH)- $1 million
Dusty Johnson (R-SD)- $150,000
Glenn GT Thompson (R-PA), the new committee chair, $76,000
Senate Agriculture Committee members who were amenable to taking bribes in return for supporting SBF’s ideas about lax regulations, also included John Thune (R-SD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Cory Booker (D-NY). But it wasn’t just the Ag Committees. Salame donated $2,900 each to the 21 Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who ran for reelection and to 23 of the 26 Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee. SBF and Salame nearly bought the entire House Financial Services Committee, already known as the most corrupt nexus of influence peddling in DC— where FTX-owned members like Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Andrew Garbarino (D-NY), Erin Houchin (R-IN), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Ted Budd (R-NC), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Mike Flood (R-NE), Monica De La Cruz (R-TX), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Sean Casten (D-IL)— who had hired SBF’s younger brother after being bribed for SBF’s mother’s conservative Dem PAC, Mind the Gap— Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Bill Foster (D-IL), David Scott (D-GA), and Brittany Pettersen (D-CO) were swimming in FTX stolen funds.
Now that they got rid of a shady judge whose husband was involved with FTX and who gave Bankman-Fried a sweet bail deal, a real judge, Lewis Kaplan, is currently deciding how to toughen his bail requirements... now that it’s been shown that he’s been trying to influence witnesses.
Any contemplation of crypto, should be a contemplation not just of scandal and corruption but more specifically of Ponzi scheme. And that brings us to two of the worst grifters from the MAGAverse, Steve Bannon and Boris Epshteyn, who have been running a MAGA-branded cryptocurrency scam since December, 2021. Lots of sub-intelligent MAGAts bought in— and, predictably, lost their money, although the mass suicides I was hoping for haven’t happened yet. It’s lost 95% of it’s value since Bannon and Epshteyn took over. Some of the brain-dead MAGAts who “bought the coin are flocking to social media with complaints about the fund's management and allegations that the coin's leadership and representatives have made false promises— including accusations that they've failed in their commitment to continue to donate portions of the coin's proceeds to the Wounded Warriors Project and other charities. Compounding the coin's lackluster performance is a growing concern among self-identified buyers that Epshteyn and Bannon have, in effect, jumped ship.”
Have you noticed that corruption has been more pervasive throughout society since the national advent of Trump. They should have a national firing squad event with him after a quick trial and see if things turn around.