Just days after New Hampshire Democrats spent an eye-popping $150,000 on a House special election in which just 1,100 votes were cast, new indictments in the Sam Bankman-Fried fraud case raise the question: Did the New Hampshire Democratic Party use stolen money to help pay for the campaign?
On Tuesday, incumbent Rep. Chuck Grassie (D-Rochester) handily defeated Republican David Walker, 568 to 449 in an election required after the November general resulted in a tie. Combined, the House Democratic Victory Campaign Committee and the candidate spent close to $200,000 on the race — around $350 per vote.
Approximately $30,000 of that money came from the state Democratic Party, the recipient of a similar amount of allegedly stolen money from FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried. In fact, the New Hampshire Democratic Party was one of the largest recipients of SBF-linked money in the 2022 cycle, along with Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).
For months, state Democratic chairman Ray Buckley has refused to return the potentially criminal donations, as Hassan and most other Democrats have done. On Thursday news came Bankman-Fried has been slapped with “an expanded indictment accusing the founder of the now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange of conspiring to make more than 300 illegal political donations,” Reuters reported.
“Bankman-Fried now faces 12 criminal charges, including four for fraud and eight for conspiracy, up from eight charges in an earlier indictment, to which he has pleaded not guilty.”
Asked Thursday if the state party is finally ready to honor federal prosecutors’ requests and return the money, Buckley and the party both declined to answer.
While Hassan has agreed to give the money back, she has also said she will only return it as she raises new campaign cash to replace it — essentially asking her donors to pay back the stolen funds. Granite State Republicans believe it is likely Buckley is doing the same, and he is refusing to return money that he needed for the Rochester rematch. Did Democrats use stolen FTX dollars to bankroll Tuesday’s victory?
“Given that Democrats just spent nearly $200,000 to buy the state Rep. seat in Rochester, one must wonder how much of that was contributed illegally by SBF and not returned by the party,” said New Hampshire GOP chair Chris Ager. “State Democrats are using stolen money to prop up their attempts to destroy the New Hampshire Advantage and turn us into a progressive state with less freedom like Massachusetts.”
Not that the House Democrats needed any help. Under the leadership of Rep. Matt Wilhelm (D-Manchester) the House victory fund was flush in 2022, raising a record $1.4 million. Is Wilhelm OK with his party using money stolen from Bankman-Fried investors?
Wilhelm wouldn’t say.