A watchdog group has demanded an investigation into Sam Bankman-Fried’s political donations, alleging that the former FTX CEO admitted to donating tens of millions to Republicans under the table, in violation of federal law.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed the complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Dec. 8, citing comments made by Bankman-Fried in a Nov. 16 interview with cryptovlogger Tiffany Fong posted via from Youtube on November 29.
In his complaint, CREW suggested that wealthy donors often take advantage of the Citizen United ruling to evade federal disclosure laws by using intermediaries and claiming they were unaware where the funds ended up, but that Bankman-Fried’s admission negates this denial. plausible. As Donald Sherman, CREW’s senior vice president and chief counsel, points out:
“Bankman-Fried said the quiet part out loud. He admitted he violated federal laws designed to ensure Americans have transparency in funding choices and now he must be held accountable.”
CREW has asked the FEC to investigate the violation and take any action it deems appropriate, including referring the matter to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.
The group accused Bankman-Fried of “direct and serious violations of the Federal Election Campaign Law,” which requires the disclosure of political donations of more than $200 a year.
In the November 16 interview with Fong, Bankman-Fried claimed to have “donated more or less the same amount to both parties”. Since he was the second largest donor to the Democrats, according to OpenSecrets, these “dark” donations appear to involve a substantial amount of money.
“All my Republican donations were obscure,” SBF noted, before adding:
“The reason wasn’t for regulatory reasons, it’s because journalists go crazy if you donate to the Republicans, they’re all super liberal. And I didn’t want to have that fight.”
Since his fall from grace, Bankman-Fried has gone on something of an apology tour, with various public appearances including interviews at The New York Times DealBook Summit, Good Morning America, and plenty of Twitter spots.
He has repeatedly claimed that he is conducting these interviews against the advice of his lawyers, who have advised him to lie low and say nothing to avoid getting him in trouble for his comments.
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