The Biden Department of Justice reversed its decision not to pursue a campaign finance charge against FTX moneyman Sam Bankman-Fried, accused of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from would-be investors.
Specifically, federal prosecutors had dropped the campaign finance charge against SBF (as Bankman-Fried is known) over his more than $100 million of allegedly illegal political campaign contributions, laundered through two c0-conspirators to evade political contribution caps.
The issue wasn’t a lack of evidence or questions about Bankman-Fried’s potential guilt. Rather, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s office told the judge it didn’t have permission from the Bahamas to extradite SBF under those specific charges when it took him from the island nation and returned him to the U.S.
But now new charges have been filed. The new indictment alleges that Bankman-Fried concealed the fact that FTX customer deposits were a source of those donations.
Meanwhile, two of the largest recipients of Bankman-Fried’s allegedly ill-gotten gains, Sen. Maggie Hassan and the New Hampshire Democratic Party, still refuse to disclose whether they continue to have SBF cash in their coffers.
Many elected officials and campaign committees who received the almost-certainly stolen money have either given it to charity or handed it to federal officials for a special fund. In January, the Union Leader reported Laura Epstein, a spokesperson for Hassan, said the $25,800 given to Hassan’s campaign and the additional $5,000 given to her Granite Values Super PAC would be “returned to victims” after donors chipped in more money.
“Contributions made towards Sen. Hassan’s 2022 campaign have already been spent. As additional funds are raised, the campaign will set aside the amount of those contributions to be returned to victims,” Epstein said in a statement.
But Epstein and Hassan ignored multiple requests for comment regarding how much, if any, of the money has been handed over or if the decision to drop the charges had any impact on Hassan’s plans.
In April, the Washington Free Beacon reported Hassan’s campaign had given $5,800 of the funds from Bankman-Fried to a victim fund set up by the U.S. Marshals Service but has thus far kept the rest of the money.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party also refused to respond to requests for comment about its FTX funding, despite having been asked by the FTX’s new management to return the funds. Critics note there have been several special elections in New Hampshire since Bankman-Fried’s arrest, with more to come. If the party has the FTX money, Buckley could be using it in local elections right now.
“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,” New Hampshire GOP chairman Chris Ager told NHJournal when this story broke. “It’s the right thing to do. So why haven’t the Democrats done it?”