Indictment Demonstrates Sam Bankman-Fried’s Political Involvement

Federal prosecutors say disgraced cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried “steered tens of millions of dollars of unlawful campaign payments to both Democrats and Republicans” in a new indictment filed Thursday.

New Details

In 2022, Bankman-Fried garnered about $38 million in political donations. Yet, authorities allege he devised a “scheme” to funnel millions more in corporate funds to additional politicians and NGOs under the names of other firm officials.

Super PAC funding is not capped, but contributions to politicians and party committees are. Nonetheless, the Federal Election Commission must report all funds and sources.

Prosecutors allege Bankman-Fried didn’t want that.

They say he preferred to play all sides of the political system and expand his clout, but he did not want to be seen as a left-leaning partisan or associated with Republican politicians.

According to the prosecution, he wished to donate more to candidates, but had already donated within the limit.

He cast two FTX executives as the “left-leaning partisan” and the Republican donor. The indictment does not identify the executives, but the data and public campaign reporting records imply Nishad Singh and Ryan Salame.

Prosecutors believe Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange FTX and hedge fund Alameda Research provided tens of millions in 2022 political donations.

Straw donors are unlawful. In 2014, conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza was arrested for sending $20,000 through straw contributors, but Bankman-Fried may have given tens of millions.

In December, these same prosecutors indicted Bankman-Fried for fraud and money laundering. The fresh indictment plea is pending.

Bankman-Fried’s Campaign Donation Method

Bankman-Fried and a campaign strategist, unidentified in the indictment, allegedly chose candidates or groups to bankroll. Singh would put his name on contributions to left-leaning causes.

According to the indictment, the political consultant told Singh that as the center-left face of their spending, he would have to give in to a lot of “woke sh*t” for transactional reasons.

Singh donated millions of dollars over an extended period of time to various women’s groups, abortion rights advocates, and Democratic bodies.

According to the charge, Singh was uncomfortable making the LGBTQ Victory Fund gift since he was not homosexual, but he acknowledged there was no one “known at FTX [who was] bi/gay” who could have done it instead.

Authorities say Bankman-Fried and others organized donations over “an encrypted, auto-deleting Signal conversation” named “Donation Processing.”

They allege an FTX employee was directed to wire $107,000 from Bankman-Fried’s personal account to the New York State Democratic Committee, but Bankman-Fried then requested that Singh’s account be used.

Last week, Bloomberg News reported Singh was negotiating a plea agreement. Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, two Alameda/FTX executives, have pled guilty to fraud charges.

Salame donated $24 million to Republican politicians and causes. “Channeled by Bankman-Fried and funded by Alameda,” the indictment alleges. Salame paid $15 million to a Super PAC supporting GOP congressional candidates.

Another $1.5 million went to his lover, Michelle Bond, who lost the GOP primaries for a New York congressional seat. Salame is uncharged.