Already a member? Log In

S.B.F.’s McConnell Money Tickle, Part 2

Photo: Tom Williams/Getty Images
Theodore Schleifer
September 26, 2023

Two months before the collapse of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried walked into a restaurant in Washington, D.C.’s Wharf neighborhood for a meeting with Mitch McConnell. They both wanted to be there, of course. McConnell was in the final sprint of fundraising for the 2022 midterms, in which Republicans had found themselves outgunned in the Senate. And S.B.F., seeking a more sympathetic ear for his financial and personal pet projects, was pivoting that autumn, hard, to the right.

Over the preceding year, he had very publicly poured tens of millions of dollars into Democratic causes, feeding the perception that he and FTX were a motley crew of liberal hacks. So at 6 p.m. on that Wednesday evening in September, S.B.F. walked into The Grill with an entourage including his brother Gabe and FTX executive Ryan Salame, for some private time with the Republican majority leader and Senator Susan Collins.