What Did McConnell Promise SBF For His $10 Million Bribe?
Are Congressional Bribe-Takers Getting Subpoenas?
Let’s step back for a moment from the clusterfuck known as the GOP search for a speaker. (Friday they unceremoniously, 86-112, dumped the fascist candidate, Gym Jordan. Kevin Hern immediately declared he’s running.) Anyway… how about… another favorite crook, Scam Bankman Fried? More of him? Yes, and I’ll tell you why. The prosecutors finally seem to be getting around to the politics. And that means the mainstream media will soon follow. That’s what I’ve been waiting for since before he was even arrested and extradited back to the U.S. I just heard that one of the biggest and most crooked scumbags has already been served with a subpoena (though my source for that info is meh— sometimes right, sometimes wrong).
As I said the other day, there’s a spread sheet showing some of the SBF bribes to members of Congress and to committees that finance them that has been introduced as an exhibit. While the NY Times is still concentrating on peripheral nonsense (“the presence of crypto YouTubers, podcasters and commentators at the FTX founder’s fraud trial has created something of a culture clash in the courtroom”) and Fox News is even sillier (SBF’s testimony “may depend on whether the ex-billionaire’s dosage of Adderall is sufficient to help him maintain his focus”), CNBC has started realizing what the real story actually is.
“Former crypto king Sam Bankman Fried and his allies,” reported Brian Schwartz, "donated $50 million during the 2022 election cycle toward politically active groups that do not publicly disclose the names of donors, according to documents recently made public by prosecutors.” [“Allies” is the wrong word— “underlings” is the right one.] Schwartz, who apparently was leaked the same spread sheet that I was, started out by pointing to Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer… and also started sniffing around the culpability of Bankman Fried’s felonious mother, who also needs to be arrested and tried.
“The documents give the first full look at Bankman-Fried and his allies’ contributions to so-called “dark money” organizations. Nishad Singh, FTX’s former head of engineering,” wrote Schwartz, “provided further testimony earlier this week that shed light on how Bankman-Fried used a private signal chat called ‘Donation Processing’ to request certain contributions be made in Singh’s name. Bankman-Fried’s mother, Barbara Fried [a kind of criminal mastermind/moll], also encouraged donations that were actually from her son to be made in Singh’s name, according to evidence tied to a lawsuit brought by FTX.
It’s important to remember that something between 4 and 10 billion dollars are still missing and it is widely suspected that SBF’s family has that money hidden away. He gifted tens of millions of dollars in stolen deposits to family members when he was still riding high. His mother was a major connection between him and top Democrats in Congress through her own very shady conservaDem PAC.
Bankman-Fried said in an interview last year that he gave what he called “dark” contributions because he didn’t want the public to know that he was giving money to Republican-leaning organizations. While Bankman-Fried quietly funded more conservative dark money groups behind the scenes, he publicly cultivated a profile that was clearly aligned with the Democratic Party.
Separately, Bankman-Fried registered over $36 million in donations to Democratic campaigns and outside groups that disclose the names of their donors during the 2022 cycle, according to data from the nonpartisan OpenSecrets. He was a vocal and major financial supporter of charities promoting the concept of effective altruism, which argues people should work and use their money to better the world.
Bankman Fried became a known entity in Washington, D.C., as he directly advocated for crypto to lawmakers.
Prosecutors on Monday filed into evidence a list of organizations that received money from Bankman-Fried and those close to him. Then, on Wednesday, prosecutors filed charts showing how millions of dollars from FTX customers and affiliated accounts linked to the cryptocurrency company were used to help make political donations by Bankman-Fried and his allies.
The documents show that Bankman-Fried was clearly the lead “dark money” donor among the listed former FTX executives and the company itself.
Ryan Salame, who was the CEO of FTX’s digital markets division, donated [tens of] millions of dollars to Republican political action committees and affiliated “dark money” groups with funds from FTX’s affiliated hedge fund, Alameda Research, according to the documents. Salame pleaded guilty last month to federal campaign finance and money-transmitting crimes.
Caroline Ellison, who ran Alameda and once dated Bankman-Fried, also gave millions to right-leaning nonprofit groups, the documents say. She pleaded guilty to multiple federal charges and testified against Bankman-Fried in dramatic testimony last week.
Government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission that it anticipated Bankman-Fried’s “dark money” donations would amount to around $37 million. The list that prosecutors made public this week shows Bankman-Fried’s “dark money” donations were closer to $47 million during the 2022 cycle alone.
…Bankman-Fried donated $10 million to a McConnell-linked group named One Nation in August 2022, according to the evidence filed by prosecutors. The money came directly from an Alameda Research account, prosecutors said.
The donation came two months before the November elections. At the time, One Nation was running ads in U.S. Senate races in Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia and Arizona, according to the group’s website. Republicans won in Wisconsin and Ohio but lost in Georgia and Arizona.
…One Nation and its affiliated super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, spent millions to support Republicans running for Senate, as well as their policies, during the 2022 midterms. Law also runs the Senate Leadership Fund. FTX itself registered a $1 million donation to the Senate Leadership Fund late last year, according to a Federal Election Commission filing.
Salame allegedly used $5.5 million from a subsidiary of Alameda to donate to One Nation, according to another chart recently filed into evidence.
…Salame used funds from the same affiliated Alameda Research account to donate $2.8 million to the American Action Network, a conservative nonprofit that supports House Republican policies, according to the evidence.
…Salame also allegedly made a $3.2 million donation to a nonprofit group called American Prosperity Alliance with funds from the subsidiary of Alameda…
Bankman-Fried played both sides of the aisle, according to prosecutors.
The onetime billionaire also donated $8.5 million to Majority Forward from August 2022 through late September of that year, according to the donation list. The group is a rival to One Nation and is aligned with Schumer. At least $6 million of that $8.5 million came from an Alameda Research account, according to the documents.
…Bankman-Fried listed total donations for $17.5 million to Guarding Against Pandemics, which is abbreviated on the list as “GAP.” The nonprofit, which [pretended to] push for more public funding to prevent pandemics, was run at the time by Bankman-Fried’s brother, Gabe.
The nonprofit once boasted on its website that Sam Bankman-Fried was a donor but never said how much he gave. Prosecutors showed in one of their charts that at least $10 million from Bankman-Fried came from an Alameda Research account.
…FTX was a key funder of more obscure “dark money” organizations linked to Republican senators, according to the evidence.
In August 2022, FTX gave $50,000 to the American Leadership Fund, a little-known nonprofit allied with GOP Sen. Steve Daines. The group’s most recent public tax returns show that through 2021, it raised $820,000. The tax documents list a UPS Store in Washington, D.C., as the group’s mailing address.
Daines, who represents deeply conservative Montana, was reelected to the Senate that year.
…FTX also gave $25,000 to The Bastion Institute in August, according to the list.
The Bastion Institute registered with the Internal Revenue Service in 2022 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which by law means the group cannot participate in or intervene in any campaign on behalf of a candidate for public office.
Yet its website and social media pages show the nonprofit supports Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican.
The group’s website features Ernst in virtually every one of its videos. Its account on Twitter, also features videos of Ernst and retweets of posts from the Iowa senator’s page. The group also has a board loaded with political players, including Barry Jackson, a former chief of staff to ex-House Speaker John Boehner, and Morgan Ortagus, who previously worked in the Trump administration.
This is just the tip of an iceberg that would sink the whole U.S. political system if it were allowed to play out... And SBF will be suicided in his jail cell before that ever happens. I sent the CNBC story to 3 Members of Congress who have been outraged by the bribery scheme. One reminded me that “This is the first time since the Credit Mobilier scandal that someone tried to take over both parties with bribes.” I didn’t know that. Another noted that “This clearly is a very serious ‘straw donor’ violation, which lots of people have been prosecuted for— for instance, Ami Bera’s father, who went to prison protecting his son.” And the third Member said she was delighted to see CNBC covering the story but noted that “It’s not enough to describe what SBF did. There has to be a focus on the quid pro quo.”