The White House has chosen to remain silent on whether it will return any donation made to President Joe Biden by FTX ex-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Karine Jean-Pierre said that the White House would also not comment on whether other U.S. elected officials should return similar donations.
In response to questions about the status of the Bankman-Fried’s million-dollar political donations, Jean-Pierre claimed that the provision of the Hatch Act of 1939 does not allow her to engage in public discussion about the subject or give the president’s views on it.
The Hatch Act, signed by former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeks to prevent non-elected executive employees from publicly making political statements. Most violations of this law have involved leaders of federal agencies attempting to run for political office or endorsing political candidates. However, the law does not apply to the president.
Therefore, it is unclear how clarifying President Joe Biden’s take on donations from Bankman-Fried would jeopardize Jean-Pierre’s compliance with the Hatch Act. Not only would the president’s views be exempt from the Act, but discussing the matter of the FTX ex-CEO’s questionable donations does not appear to constitute a political statement.
Data Indicates Democratic Candidates Received Majority of Bankman-Fried’s Donations
A few months before FTX collapse, Bankman-Fried made about $46 million in political donations. According to data from a non-governmental organization, OpenSecrets.org, the Democratic candidates received the majority. Bankman-Fried became the second-largest donor, only trailing behind businessman George Soros.
Following FTX’s downfall, reports alleged that Bankman-Fried regularly took the crypto exchange users’ funds, transferred them to other firms like Alameda Research, and utilized them for his purposes. Whether Bankman-Fried used stolen users’ money to finance his political donations remains unclear.
Part of Politicians Return or Donate Bankman-Fried’s Contributions Following FTX New CEO’s Revelations
Some politicians, including Senator Dick Durbin, Senator John Boozman, and Senator Kristin Gillibrand, donated to charity or returned the donations made by Bankman-Fried. FTX’s new CEO, John J. Ray’s recent testimony before Congress that the former CEO of the exchange and co-conspirators indeed embezzled users’ money for their purposes fueled the moves.