With a guilty plea (and probably plea deal) from Sam Bankman-Fried’s closest allies, as well as the arrest of SBF himself, the walls may finally be closing in on the young (former?) billionaire and his cryptocurrency scam.
But while there is all this talk of legal proceedings regarding making the money just disappear, we need to make sure law enforcement is also looking at what can best be described as some shady tomfoolery going on in the political realm.
Democrats have acted fairly nervous about what FTX’s downfall could mean for them, with Maxine Waters shutting down a congressional hearing early because of SBF not showing up and… looking kind of frantic in the process. They have good reason to be nervous, mind you – they have been SBF’s biggest benefactors over the years.
One Democrat, in particular, stands out: Chuy Garcia.
Garcia, a Democratic congressman and machine politician from Chicago, currently appears to be the frontrunner in the Chicago mayoral race.
Garcia has benefited from high name recognition in the mayor’s race, and early on the polling puts him as the front runner. The poll, paid for by a union that has endorsed him, shows Garcia leading the field with 25%, with Lightfoot in second at 18%, followed by Paul Vallas at 14% and Willie Wilson with 10%.
Lightfoot’s campaign noted the poll was conducted in mid-November and said it does not reflect the current state of the race. Paul Vallas was encouraged by his showing, especially since he has not been running TV ads yet.
There is a problem for Garcia, though. In a recent congressional election, he received $200,000 from Bankman-Fried, which he has openly admitted. The problem for Garcia? He was unopposed in that race.
“When you’ve got folks putting that much money into a race that’s unopposed you’ve got to ask questions about what are they really trying to do, what are they trying to influence,” said mayoral candidate Kam Buckner.
Garcia’s campaign spokeswoman issued a statement, saying, “These are misleading and desperate attacks from floundering campaigns. Congressman Garcia is and always has been a skeptic of cryptocurrencies and continues to advocate for stronger financial regulations on an industry he considers ripe for fraud.”
Garcia did donate a $2,900 direct donation to charity, but the campaign said he had no knowledge or control of the other money spent on his behalf.
Garcia sits on the House Financial Services Committee, where he has done the bidding of corporate interests for years. He has been described on occasion as a “corrupt, machine-style” Democrat, and his policies would probably be no different than current Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, except that he’d manage to get riched from the job than she did.
Garcia found tall cash from at least two sources of Bankman-Fried’s political donations to Democrats.
The Chicago-based congressman already tried to pivot away from the accusations and donated some of his Bankman-Fried cash to charity to get out from under its taint. According to The Block, Garcia gave away $2,900 to a Chicago charity last week.
But according to Crain’s Chicago Business, Garcia also received funds from the FTX-supported Protect Our Future PAC.
Crain’s says that the Protect Our Future PAC spent $200K for texting services and mailings for Garcia’s campaign.
Congress needs to look into its own members, and my hope is that a Republican-controlled House would start that investigation immediately.
Garcia isn’t bad because he’s a Democrat. He’s bad because his politics are for sale and in America the bidders have deep pocketbooks. Of course, not all of them are currently in trouble for cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes, either.