Leading up to Sam Bankman-Fried’s spectacular implosion – in which his firm FTX evaporated billions in wealth after the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange allegedly commingled client assets with his trading firm into a liquidity crunch – he became the sixth-largest donor in this year’s midterm election cycle, giving some $40 million to mostly Democratic candidates and causes.
According to Forbes, Bankman-Fried was second only to George Soros among billionaire donors to Democratic groups during the 2022 midterm election cycle.
FTX allegedly loaned Alameda Research – a trading firm founded by Bankman-Fried – roughly $10 billion in client assets, which has landed him under federal investigation by the SEC, CTFC, and the Justice Department – the latter of which already had been working on a months-long investigation, according to the Wall Street Journal. The CTFC, meanwhile, is tasked with regulating certain elements of the crypto markets – including digital assets that are as commodities, and crypto exchanges and clearinghouses.
In late September, Bankman-Fried admitted that his political donations were mostly to Democrats, and Republican recipients were ‘targeted’.
Spot the rare journalism by host Chuck Todd;
But it goes much deeper than that
Bankman-Fried ‘heavily courted’ the CFTC, “and funded several key lawmakers charged with overseeing the agency, pouring cash into their campaign coffers,” as the Daily Caller notes.
The CFTC is charged with regulating certain elements of the crypto marketplace, including digital assets that are commodities as well as crypto exchanges and clearinghouses. The agency is overseen by the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, with the former tasked with approving CFTC commissioners nominated by the president.
The former FTX CEO personally donated to the Senate committee’s chairwoman, Democratic Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, contributing over $20,000 to the Stabenow Victory Fund and $5,800 to her campaignfor Senate. Bankman-Fried donated roughly $6,000 to the committee’s ranking member, Republican Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, as well, and $5,800 to the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management and Trade, Republican Montana Sen. John Hoeven. -Daily Caller
Others have connected dots and concluded that FTX may have been a money laundering operation.
What’s more, a PAC founded by FTX executive Ryan Salme, American Dream Federal Action, spent over $1 million on Boozman during the 2022 election cycle, as well as more than $1 million on House Agriculture Committee member and Republican Minnesota Rep. Brad Finstad.
Bankman-Fried also donated $27 million to the Protect Our Future PAC, which primarily works to elect Democrats. It spent over $1 million towards Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH), a member of the House Agriculture Committee.
Another donation linked to members of the House Ag committee includes $200,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), headed by Chair Sean Patrick Maloney, and nearly $6,000 to Maloney himsself. He also gave $20,000 to the campaign and victory fund of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), whose father worked for the NXIVM sex cult in the early 2000s, where he made $25,000 per month.
In addition to his campaign contributions to the lawmakers tasked with CFTC oversight, Bankman-Fried sought closer relations with the agency itself.
Bankman-Fried personally lobbied for legislation in the Senate Agriculture Committee that would grant the CFTC greater regulatory oversight over the crypto industry, according to Coindesk, and spent hundreds of thousandsof dollars lobbying the CFTC, SEC and members of Congress on the legislation.
The bill, known as the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act, which would grant the CFTC “jurisdiction to oversee the spot digital commodity market,” was introduced by Stabenow, Boozman, Booker and Republican North Dakota Sen. John Thune, three of whom are beneficiaries of Bankman-Fried’s donations.
For its lobbying team, FTX hired former Republican Rep. Mike Conaway, longtime chair of the House Agriculture Committee, and committee staffer Scott Graves to lobby lawmakers on crypto-related issues. -Daily Caller
As a thought experiment, imagine what Bankman-Fried’s financial ‘goodwill’ would have bought the firm if FTX hadn’t divided by zero and imploded.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Prestigious Liberal Watchdog Condemns New York Times’ Russiagate Coverage
In short, the hyper-partisan ‘paper of record’ was operating in bad faith.
It’s wasn’t just the Times either. CJR’s findings accurately reflect what most objective thinkers have known this whole time – they were all operating in bad faith.
That said, CJR aimed the majority of criticism towards the NYT.
“No narrative did more to shape Trump’s relations with the press than Russiagate. The story, which included the Steele dossier and the Mueller report among other totemic moments, resulted in Pulitzer Prizes as well as embarrassing retractions and damaged careers,” wrote CJR executive editor Kype Pope in an editor’s note.
The findings were published in a lengthy, four-part series. The first section begins with a story about then-New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet’s reaction when he found out Special Counsel Robert Mueller didn’t plan to pursue Trump’s ousting, telling his staff “Holy s—, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.” –Fox News
“Baquet, speaking to his colleagues in a town hall meeting soon after the testimony concluded, acknowledged the Times had been caught ‘a little tiny bit flat-footed’ by the outcome of Mueller’s investigation,” according to Jeff Gerth – the author of CJR’s lengthy retrospective.
“That would prove to be more than an understatement,” he continued. “But neither Baquet nor his successor, nor any of the paper’s reporters, would offer anything like a postmortem of the paper’s Trump-Russia saga, unlike the examination the Times did of its coverage before the Iraq War.”
According to Gerth, the Times destroyed its credibility outside of its “own bubble.”
What’s more, the Times appeared to legitimize former British spy, Christopher Steele, who was indirectly paid by the Clinton campaign to fabricate the infamous ‘dossier’ that so much of the Russiagate coverage – and the DOJ’s sham investigation, was based on.
The Times appeared to legitimize Christopher Steele, the ex-British spy who authored the infamous dossier, claiming he had “a credible track record” while Steele’s so-called “primary” source was telling the FBI that Steele “misstated or exaggerated” in his report and that information stemming from Russia was “rumor and speculation.”
Part three offered examples of the Times’ slight-of-hand coverage against Trump in comparison to other hostile outlets. For example, Trump explained his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, mentioning the “Russia thing” as being a “made-up story” to NBC’s Lester Holt but acknowledged the firing would likely “lengthen out the investigation.”
“The media focused on the ‘Russia thing’ quote; the New York Times did five stories over the next week citing the ‘Russia thing’ remarks but leaving out the fuller context. The Post and CNN, by comparison, included additional language in their first-day story,” Gerth wrote.
In another instance, the Times avoided covering some of the more damning texts from Peter Strzok, who wrote “there’s no big there, there” shortly after the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, something Gerth noted was covered by the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. -Fox News
In closing, Gerth concluded that “the erosion of journalistic norms and the media’s own lack of transparency about its work” is responsible for the broad distrust in the media.
“In January 2018, for example, the New York Times ignored a publicly available document showing that the FBI’s lead investigator didn’t think, after ten months of inquiry into possible Trump-Russia ties, that there was much there. This omission disserved Times readers. The paper says its reporting was thorough and ‘in line with our editorial standards,” wrote Gerth. “Another axiom of journalism that was sometimes neglected in the Trump-Russia coverage was the failure to seek and reflect comment from people who are the subject of serious criticism. The Times guidelines call it a ‘special obligation.’ Yet in stories by the Times involving such disparate figures as Joseph Mifsud (the Maltese academic who supposedly started the whole FBI inquiry), Christopher Steele (the former British spy who authored the dossier), and Konstantin Kilimnik (the consultant cited by some as the best evidence of collusion between Russia and Trump), the paper’s reporters failed to include comment from the person being criticized.“This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
“One Lie After The Next”: CNN Ratings Hit 9-Year Lows After Reputational Suicide
Establishment mouthpiece CNN – an integral part of both the Russiagate hoax and the Hunter Biden laptop coverup, has dropped to just 444,000 average primetime viewers between January 16 and January 22, according to Nielsen.
Of those, just 93,000 were in the all-important 25-54 news demographic.
This is the first time since May of 2014 that the network has failed to reach 450,000 viewers, The Wrap reports.
By comparison, during the same period Fox News drew 1.4 million viewers and 176,000 in the demo while MSNBC notched 629,000 total viewers and 69,000 in the demo. In primetime, Fox News had 2 million viewers, 256,000 in the demo and MSNBC had 943,000 viewers and 91,000 in the demo.
Some especially troublesome news out of this week’s Nielsen numbers is that Licht’s primary programming move, “CNN This Morning,” also suffered the lowest week since its launch just three months ago. It averaged just 331,000 viewers while “Fox & Friends” had nearly 1 million and “Morning Joe” drew 760,000. -The Wrap
As Glenn Greenwald notes, CNN’s downfall is “so well-deserved and good for the country.”
According to CNN insiders, hosts of the network’s rebooted morning show, Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, “seem to be growing frustrated” over the direction of the network.
“The show can’t decide strategically what exactly it is, so it’s trying to be everything which can create whiplash for a viewer when segments seem off-brand in tonality,” said one insider. “The audience for morning news on network TV is different than the cable news audience and since we’re not gaining new viewers we definitely need to retain our legacy ones.”
More on the network’s reputational suicide from Greenwald:This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Video: Ted Cruz Calls For FBI Raid On Hunter Biden
“We need to ascertain who’s had access to what and when.”
Senator Ted Cruz declared Sunday that the FBI should immediately search the home of Hunter Biden to check for classified documents.
In the wake of such documents being discovered in Joe Biden’s home garage and an office he uses in Washington DC, Cruz noted “It seems he leaves classified documents wherever he goes. And we also know that Hunter Biden at times was — declared his residence to be those very same places.”
During the Fox News interview, Cruz added “I also believe it is critical for the FBI to search Hunter Biden’s homes, home and office residences to make sure there are no classified documents there, given all the evidence that’s piling up. We need to ascertain who’s had access to what and when.”
Cruz added that it is imperative that lawmakers find out whether documents Biden had “illegally” involve “family business activities and potential corruption.”
“Whether they involve Burisma and Ukraine, whether they involve Communist China and the entities that were paying the Biden family millions of dollars,” Cruz urged, adding “If he, in fact, had classified documents that implicate his own financial well-being, that raises the potential of very serious criminal liability.”
Cruz also highlighted an email Hunter Biden sent to a Burisma colleague, alleging the correspondence, which was obtained by the New York Post from the infamous laptop from hell, indicates he had access to classified material.
“Hunter Biden didn’t write that,” Cruz stated, explaining that “Hunter Biden is not an expert on Ukraine. He’s not an expert on Eastern Europe. He’s not an expert on Russia, but that email did help get him on the board of Burisma. It did help get him paid $83,000 a month because it showed a level of expertise not coming from him, but he was getting it from somewhere. That’s clearly from some sort of briefing. We don’t know whether it was a classified briefing or not, but that is the sort of analysis that is often within a classified briefing.”
Cruz continued, “there’s a level of scholarship and erudition that if it magically appeared, somehow it doesn’t appear in the other emails he’s sending.”
“The obvious question is what was he cutting and pasting from? What was his source? And it raises the natural inference that Hunter Biden had direct access to these classified documents,” Cruz asserted.
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