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The Notorious S.B.F.

Sam Bankman Fried
The online focus on Sean McElwee, a media-savvy pollster, became more negative following the downfall of Sam Bankman-Fried (pictured). Photo: Tom Williams/Getty
Theodore Schleifer
February 15, 2022

Every so often in political and philanthropic consulting, there comes along a client whom everyone wants—needs—to find a connection to in order to pitch and, perhaps, land a hefty payday. Right now, that’s Sam Bankman-Fried, the provocative, whip-smart, and omnipresent 29-year-old C.E.O. of the crypto exchange FTX who has, in the words of Cory Booker last week, “a much more glorious afro than I once had.” Bankman-Fried, or S.B.F., as he is now universally known in this world, has been an in-demand character for months, but the chase to woo him has grown more feverish of late as he has expanded the tentacles of his political machine in new and fascinating ways. I know several Democratic advisers who are trying their damndest to get in front of him right now.