Beyond the seemingly ready-made crypto-strangling legislation that Senator Liz Warren (D-MA) and other Constitution-flouters pushed within days of the Nov. 11 FTX bankruptcy announcement, one of the most curious and disturbing facets of the Ukraine-tied, media-adored, and now-collapsed crypto-currency exchange has just come to light.
On December 22, Politico’s Ryan Lizza, Rachael Bade, and Eugene Daniels reported that a close ally and adviser to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (“SBF”) was part of a direct backchannel communications portal with leftist activists and…the White House.
And, curiously, the members of that FTX-White-House-Leftist-Activist portal appear to have shut it down the day after FTX filed for bankruptcy.
The figure involved with the controversy is Sean McElwee, who, as Politico notes:
“…in 2018 founded Data for Progress (DFP), a progressive think tank with an emphasis on influencing public policy through polling.”
If the name “Data for Progress” evokes thoughts of another organization, the John Podesta-created Center for American Progress (CAP) and its George Soros-funded political action group, Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP Action), that’s possibly because McElwee is said to have become connected with Bankman-Fried via mutual friend and leftist data-guru David Shor, who is a “senior fellow” with the Center for American Progress.
According to Politico:
“More recently, McElwee became a close political ally and adviser to FTX founder SAM BANKMAN-FRIED. (They were connected through Shor, according to a friend of both men.)”
Why is this significant?
“McElwee had easy access to the White House and the press. And he made sure they had access to him. He kept an open Slack channel at DFP that became a rolling conversation between McElwee, Biden administration officials and some well-known reporters — a kind of JournoList for the early 2020s.”
And that might make one pause to wonder how “well-known reporters” can be so closely involved with heretofore non-public communications channels that not only are tied to left-wing “influencers” like McElwee, but to Biden officials and to Bankman-Fried – and, by extension, to the data-maestro, CAP “senior fellow” Shor – all of whom have vested interests in steering public policy and steering the “reporting” on said policy.
And, in yet another facet of this “how strange it is” category, the Politico team notes:
“On Nov. 12, the day after FTX filed for bankruptcy and SBF resigned as CEO, McElwee abruptly shuttered the Slack channel. Six days later, he and Data for Progress began negotiating his exit from the firm he had built.”
Adds the Politico trio:
“Then on Dec. 13, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York unsealed an eight-count indictment against SBF. The first seven counts, which were about financial crimes, garnered the most attention. But it was the eighth count that turned heads in Washington, alleging a straw-donor scheme in which SBF funneled corporate money to candidates and committees through third parties. And SDNY alleged that SBF had help: SBF ‘and others known and unknown,’ the indictment says, made contributions ‘in the names of other persons.’”
Of course, as I reported December 19:
“…it appears as if a large portion of Bankman-Fried’s unbalanced FTX ledger was funded via the U.S.-subsidized government of Ukraine, and that facilitated Sammy’s $40 million in campaign contributions to Democrats, making him the second-biggest donor to the Dems in the 2021-2022 cycle behind the all-enlightened George Soros, and ahead of Michael ‘Ban The Guns’ Bloomberg, and it does seem odd that, once the election was over, FTX suddenly got exposed for all this alleged fraud.”
So, adding “straw donations” to the indictments might make some sense.
And is there merit to wonder if any of the participants in these “back-channel” communications were tied to the “straw donations” mentioned in the eighth indictment?
The Politico does engage in the speculation, but only provides unnamed “sources” to back it up:
“In the race to figure out who might have helped SBF make straw donations, McElwee’s name was at the top of the list. The leadership at DFP suddenly feared they could be in the middle of a much bigger scandal. Nobody at DFP makes more than $200,000 a year, yet several employees who worked for McElwee made thousands of dollars in campaign donations in 2022. One employee, ETHAN WINTER, DFP’s lead analyst, made nearly $31,000 in donations, which a source at DFP said was more than a quarter of his salary.
On Tuesday morning, David Freedlander reported in N.Y. Mag that McElwee had pressured a DFP employee to be a straw donor. On Wednesday, sources at DFP identified Winter as that employee and told us that he had resigned. (Winter’s resignation was first reported by CNBC.)”
Whether this triggers American umbrage remains to be seen.