The new management of FTX trying to clean up the fiscal fiasco left behind by scammer Sam Bankman-Fried has a message for Ray Buckley and the New Hampshire Democratic Party he chairs:
Give back Bankman-Fried’s stolen campaign cash.
According to a press release from FTX Trading Ltd., the organized FTX Debtors “are sending confidential messages to political figures, political action funds, and other recipients of contributions or other payments that were made by or at the direction of the FTX Debtors, Samuel Bankman-Fried or other officers or principals of the FTX Debtors (collectively, the ‘FTX Contributors’). These recipients are requested to return such funds to the FTX Debtors by February 28, 2023.”
That includes both Sen. Maggie Hassan and the state Democratic Party (NHDP), who are among the top recipients in the nation of campaign donations from the now-disgraced crypto king.
Hassan accepted $30,800 between her campaign and her PAC from Bankman-Fried, while the NHDP collected $20,000. That ranks the two as number five and six on the list of Democrats and Democratic organizations to total campaign cash from FTX and its affiliates.
“Rough week for Chairman Buckley and the NH Democrats,” said New Hampshire GOP state party chair Chris Ager Monday. “First, the DNC shuts off their First in the Nation funding spigot, and now they’re being asked to open their wallets.”
For weeks, both Hassan and the state party declined to respond to questions about the Bankman-Fried donations. Late last month, the Union Leader reported Hassan’s campaign plans to return the money to victims “as additional funds are raised.” Asked if the senator is informing people she has solicited that their money will be sent to the FTX Debtors fund, Hassan’s office declined to answer.
And as of January 21, the NHDP was refusing to commit to returning the money. “We are awaiting for further developments and instructions from the proper authorities relating to the possible return of the funds,” party spokesperson Monica Venzke told the Union Leader in a statement.
Asked about receiving a message from the fund and if they have made a final decision about the cash, the state party also declined to answer any questions.
When the reports of the Bankman-Fried contributions to New Hampshire Democrats first hit, Attorney General John Formella’s office told NHJournal they were “keeping an eye” on the situation. After Sunday’s statement from the FTX Debtors, AG spokesperson Michael Garrity said the office is “still reviewing the situation about possible election law violations.”
Some have raised questions about Hassan raising donations, not for the campaign but to pay back the stolen cash donated by Bankman-Fried. While some may find the practice dubious, it’s entirely legal.
“Campaign funds can be used for many purposes,” Garrity said. “We cannot comment on a specific use of campaign funds as a hypothetical question given that the facts involved are important in completing our analysis of a particular situation.”
Buckley has shown in the past he’s willing to take and keep money from sources other Democrats reject. When tech billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya made controversial statements dismissing China’s ongoing genocide against their Uyghur Muslim population, other Democratic Party organizations and candidates returned his campaign contributions. The New Hampshire Democrats kept theirs.
Ager said that stance is unacceptable.
“The problem is the New Hampshire Democratic Party hasn’t returned this money already to make the FTX victims whole. Anyone who received FTX donations must return them immediately,” Ager said. “It’s the right thing to do. So why haven’t the Democrats done it?”
That is the hope of both the new FTX management and the prosecutors in the Bankman-Fried case, who have also publicly urged recipients like the NHDP to return the cash.
As of Monday morning, Chairman Buckley and his organization were still a “no comment.”