The Laramie County Republican Central Committee on Tuesday passed a resolution calling on the state Democratic committee to refund a nearly $10,000 donation from accused cryptocurrency fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried, though the Democratic Party already had.
Bankman-Fried on Aug 31 donated $9,756.19 to the Wyoming Democratic Party Central Committee, according to Federal Election Commission reports. The same ledger shows the state Party returned the money on Jan. 19, about a month after the crypto-giant’s fraud claims emerged.
The Laramie County Republican Central Committee’s resolution points to a letter by the new corporate leadership of Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange FTX, asking recipients of the defendant’s political contributions to return those funds by Feb. 28.
“The Wyoming Democratic State Central Committee has been notably silent as to whether they intend to keep the contributions from Sam Bankman-Fried or return the funds to help make whole Sam Bankman-Fried’s defrauded consumers,” the resolution reads.
‘Glad To Move On’
Party Chair Joe Barbuto told Cowboy State Daily on Saturday that the state party sent the money to the Democratic National Committee, which then sent it to Bankman-Fried.
“It’s really not a situation for us anymore,” said Barbuto. “We’ve taken care of it and are glad to move on.”
Barbuto said the donation came via a joint fundraising partnership the state entity has with the Democratic National Committee.
“It’s not money we solicited personally,” he said.
Barbuto said his committee was indeed silent when it gave the money back.
“We didn’t make a public statement that I recall,” said Barbuto. “For us it was just about doing the right thing and returning that money.”
If people had asked about the money, Barbuto added, “we were glad to tell them.”
The Laramie County Republican Central Committee did not immediately comment Saturday on the state Democratic Party’s refund.
Billion Dollar Fraud
Bankman-Fried faces numerous federal charges relating to an alleged billion-dollar fraud scheme exposed in December. Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried and others misused customer accounts at his cryptocurrency trading platform FTX to bolster his pet projects, enrich himself and buy influence with politicians.
According to Time.com, Bankman-Fried contributed more than $70 million to election campaigns in less than 18 months, almost entirely to Democrats and liberal-leaning groups, making him the second-top donor to the Democratic cause, after George Soros.
Bankman-Fried told a pundit in November that he donated an equal amount of money to Republicans but did it through “dark” or undisclosed methods. He said he did so because he feared that most reporters are political Leftists and would “freak the f -k out” if they saw him donating to the political Right.