When People Give Away Fortunes, Everyone Takes Their Cult Seriously-- Conservative Dem Bankman-Fried
Part of a Bahamas-based cult trying— with limited success— to be serious and more than a spoiled frat house, Sam Bankman-Fried is blindly stumbling around the American political stage like King Lear killing his daughters. In her profile for Politico of the 30 year old crypto-billionaire this morning, Elena Schneider noted that “in the last year, he’s hired a network of political operatives and spent tens of millions more shaping Democratic House primaries. It was a shocking wave of spending that looked like it could remake the Democratic Party bench in Washington, candidate by candidate. Looking ahead to the 2024 election, he has said he could spend anywhere from $100 million to $1 billion.” No mention of the down payment he's anted-up towards the Hakeem Jeffries Democratic House leadership position.
Lots of political operatives have become richer and some of his biggest bets have failed while others have succeeded. The most recent— joining his shady Israel lobby allies to try to defeat Michigan state Rep. Shri Thanedar and elect corporate toady state Sen. Adam Hollier-- failed spectacularly. As of last week, his main political finance tool, the innocuously-named Protect Our Future PAC, which he has given $27 million, spent over a million dollars in the relatively low-profile race between Hollier and Thanedar. The Detroit district (MI-13) became open when Brenda Lawrence decided to retire. Despite over $3 million from the Israelis and $1 million from Bankman-Fried, their candidate failed in the end:
Admitting that backing conservative Democrats— think Hillary and Biden— is a family tradition he adheres to, Bankman-Fried laid out who he is pretty clearly, although not clearly enough for the media, which has been ignoring the obvious and trying to make the Bankman-Fried saga seem deeper and more mysterious than it is. In the end, Bankman-Fried is spending his money to elect easily-controlled establishment nebbishes. There is no component that has anything whatsoever to do with pandemics, which is the absolute nonsense he claims and only the most foolish and ingratiating media hack could take seriously for more than a second and a half. The concept of “effective altruism” is a rich people joke. Helping AIPAC, DMFI and Hakeem Jeffries win nominations for conservatives like Robert Garcia (CA), Robert Menendez Jr (NJ), Francis Conole (NY), Sydney Kamlager (CA), Valerie Foushee (NC), Shontel Brown (OH) and Morgan McGarvey (KY), rather than their more independent-minded progressive opponents is all the crypto billionaire is about. There really isn’t much of anything else there. “The head-spinning speed of Bankman-Fried’s entrance onto the national political scene,” wrote Schneider, “kicked off a race in Washington to understand him and define him— as a potential Democratic savior, a head-scratching mystery or, occasionally, a corrupt crypto bogeyman. Candidates, consultants and members of Congress are all eager to direct the millions he’s spending. And Bankman-Fried seemingly wandered into the middle of the Democratic Party and pulled out his wallet at the exact moment when many Democratic megadonors are pulling back, all ahead of a blistering midterm environment.” You don;’t accept that the Democratic Party is fully pathetic?
Some Democrats see Bankman-Fried’s investments and engagement as the thing that could help them hold back a red midterm wave.
“We’ve never seen something like this on this scale,” said Bradley Beychok, co-founder of American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC. “On our side, there’s a small pool of people who write these kinds of checks and they tend to be the same folks. But Sam, to his credit, came right in with a big splash.”
In 2022, Beychok continued, “he could make a big difference for Democratic candidates— if he wants.”
But it’s not clear if that’s what Bankman-Fried wants. Even though he spent about $40 million on campaigns this year, according to publicly disclosed filings with the Federal Election Commission, he told Politico that he plans to only spend about half that amount during the general election, when the Democratic Party faces losing its congressional majorities. He’s more motivated by promoting new candidates in safe seats than the battleground combat that decides partisan control in Washington. While his biggest spending has been on Democratic primaries, he has also contributed directly to Democratic and Republican campaigns alike.
And though Bankman-Fried has what it takes to be the biggest donor in politics— an eleven-figure bank account he’s committed to giving away before he dies, as well as some very specific ideas about what needs fixing and how— he is only now explaining the unconventional path he plans to cut through the world of Washington. It often comes with an enormous caveat: “It depends.”
He’s guided by an arcane social philosophy that’s obsessed with doing the most good for humanity by tackling intractable and neglected problems, which led him to investing in certain types of endangered-species candidates: people who commit to making pandemic preparedness funding a top issue, and people willing to work across the aisle to achieve it. And Bankman-Fried is taking great pains to shed traditional labels as quickly as Democratic operatives are trying to pin them on him.
I hope your bullshit alarm is going wild now. Although she did manage to spit this out: “His critics insist, too, that for all his focus on pandemics, he’s really just getting everyone’s hands dirty in preparation for when crypto comes up for regulation before Congress.”
One off his phony-baloney candidates is another random kid like Carrick Flynn, the one he wasted so many millions on in Oregon— Orlando fraud Maxwell Frost, who Bankman-Fried pledged to support last May based on some claptrap about pandemics but which turned out to be nothing more than a crypto-deal. In late April, the Miami Standard reported that “Frost is setting up a national council to advise him on cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies so that he might champion regulatory policy to utilize them.”
“I’ve seen a growing number of community-based organizations and individuals here in Central Florida teaching cryptocurrency to folks in our poorest zip codes,” Frost said in a news release.
“I’ve been contacted by many of them about leaning in to learn how it could be used to benefit people in Central Florida. This campaign is about listening to the wants and needs of our constituents and taking action. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are the future and they are here to stay.”
…Frost’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Advisory Council will include a Democratic Congressman from New York, Ritchie Torres [another hustler and phony], whom Frost’s campaign says is a “leading proponent for smart cryptocurrency and blockchain regulation.”
And the payoff? So far, about $1.2 million in TV ads from Bankman-Fried. [Note: Frost is claiming to be a progressive and, sadly, many progressive groups, including the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have bought into it. Because, you know, progressives are always selling out to crypto-billionaires, right?]
Schneider: “Whatever he’s doing, what Bankman-Fried wants now matters to Washington. And Washington is racing to figure him out. ‘Sam cares about ideas. He cares about ideas that make the world a better place. Now, that sounds trite, but without naming names, I think a lot of large donors don’t. They care about supporting their tribe, whatever it is,’ said Gabe Bankman-Fried, Sam’s younger brother.”