The New Hampshire Attorney General’s campaign watchdogs said they are “aware” of Samuel Bankman-Fried’s campaign contributions to U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Meanwhile, Hassan and the party both remain silent about returning the indicted investor’s money.
Bankman-Fried is at the center of one of “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history,” according to federal prosecutors. They have charged the 30-year-old political progressive with multiple counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and violations of campaign finance laws. Before his crypto scheme collapsed, he donated $40 million, mostly to Democratic candidates, during this year’s midterm elections.
“All of this dirty money was used in service of Bankman-Fried’s desire to buy bipartisan influence and impact the direction of public policy in Washington,” said Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
And no member of Congress received more of that “dirty money” than Hassan. She was tied for sixth place on the list of Bankman-Fried donation recipients, just ahead of New Hampshire’s Democratic Party at number eight.
On Monday, Hassan and NHDP chair Ray Buckley again declined to respond to questions about whether they intend to return the tens of thousands of dollars they received from Bankman-Fried and his companies, FTX and Alameda research.
While donations to federal candidates are policed by the Federal Election Commission, a spokesperson for state Attorney General John Formella said his office is keeping an eye on the investigation.
“Although federal law is likely controlling, our NH DOJ Election Law Unit is aware of and reviewing FTX-related campaign finance activities,” said spokesperson Michael Garrity.
Bankman-Fried’s financial collapse was massive. At its peak, FTX had more than one million users and was the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. It was valued at $32 billion.
Bankman-Fried was the second-largest contributor to the Democrats’ campaign coffers in the 2020 election cycle, trailing only longtime progressive activist George Soros. He was notably generous to Democrats. Based on data at OpenSecrets.org, Bankman-Fried gave at least $815,000 to the DNC, $103,000 to the DSCC, and $250,000 to the DCCC, the national party’s senatorial and congressional campaign organizations.
While Hassan has the ability to easily raise the money needed to pay back the FTX donations she received- – she raised more lobbyist money in the 2022 cycle than any rank-and-file member of Congress — the state party may not be in the same position. Historically, the First in the Nation presidential primary has been a financial boon to Buckley and the party’s bottom line. But now that President Joe Biden has decided to strip Granite State Democrats of their FITN status — the DNC is expected to pass Biden’s plan in February — their funding stream is uncertain at best.
After a chaotic day in a Bahamas courtroom, Bankman-Fried agreed late Monday not to challenge his extradition to the U.S. to face prosecution.
“Bankman-Fried had initially planned to fight efforts to return him to the United States,” CNN reported. “But after a week in Nassau’s notorious Fox Hill prison, he appears less interested in keeping up what would have likely been a years-long battle to avoid extradition.”