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The S.B.F. Campaign Finance Whodunnit, Part 2

Sam Bankman-Fried
S.B.F. world has been rife with speculation about who else was implicated in what federal prosectors alleged, in vague terms, was some sort of “straw-donor violation.” Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Theodore Schleifer
December 22, 2022

Last week, in the days after Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas, I noted a blind item in my column about his indictment, which included a mysterious, unexpected campaign-finance violation. “While it would be irresponsible at this point to name specific names,” I wrote, “there is certainly some chatter about various S.B.F.-connected, not-that-rich individuals who cut an unusually large number of political checks in recent years.”

At the time, S.B.F. world was rife with speculation about who else was implicated in what federal prosecutors alleged, in frustratingly vague terms, was some sort of “straw-donor violation,” or an intentionally misrepresented contribution. There have been many theories making their way to my inbox and Signal chats over the last week: Was it another S.B.F.-allied FTX mega-donor, such as co-C.E.O. Ryan Salame or former director of engineering Nishad Singh, making political donations with money absconded from Alameda? Were prosecutors gearing up to make a too-clever-by-half argument that all of Sam’s money really belonged to his customers? Or, perhaps, was the Southern District of New York insinuating that S.B.F. or one of his entities had facilitated some sort of reimbursement scheme?