This week, the Biden administration announced that Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) had met with Biden aides to discuss ‘pandemic prevention.’ The announcement raised questions and suspicions among the public.
On one hand, SBF gave $25 million to the Protect Our Future PAC, which focuses on pandemic preparedness. On the flip side, SBF also gave $50,000 directly to the Biden Victory Fund.
Pressure mounts on the White House over SBF connections
Sam Bankman-Fried, the discredited CEO of FTX, met with key Biden federal authorities in the White House on four separate occasions throughout 2022, including a recently publicly disclosed meeting on Sept.9.
So what was discussed at this meeting between SBF and the Biden administration? Was pandemic prevention truly on the agenda, or were other factors at play? These are the questions that everyone is thinking about.
When questioned about it during a news conference this week, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre asserted that the meetings exclusively focused all discussions between White House representatives and the disgraced crypto tycoon’s business partner on Bankman’s non-profit pandemic preparedness programs.
However, she added that the discussions might have also involved ‘general knowledge’ about the virtual currency market. In response to the question, she stated that the White House often meets with executives from various businesses and professions, including business leaders, labor, and non-profits.
Meeting up with Biden’s officials
Bruce Reed and Steve Ricchetti, President Biden’s most senior advisors, met with Bankman-Fried numerous times. Both individuals have offices outside the Oval Office to indicate their position in the government.
Discussions with Ricchetti and Reed by Bankman-Fried took place within the West Wing. In 2022, Bankman-brother Fried’s Gabriel Bankman-Fried also met with high-ranking White House aides.
While most of the talks occurred during the spring, records made public in December indicated that Bankman-Fried took a trip to the White House in September, only a few weeks before his $32 billion cryptocurrency enterprise fell apart.
Sam Bankman-Fried was once a major player in the industry, with a billion-dollar fortune and influence on Capitol Hill. In the early fall, Bankman-Fried visited the White House to lobby for the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act (DCCPA).
This regulatory framework would have favored centralized exchanges like FTX. However, with FTX’s sudden closure and Bankman-Fried’s arrest on conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering, everything changed.
The bill has since been put on hold. Many politicians have returned or donated the equivalent of the $46.5 million in donations from Bankman-Fried, including a $5 million contribution to a pro-Biden PAC. Despite calls for transparency, Press Secretary Jean-Pierre has yet to comment on whether the President will follow suit.