The Maine Democratic Party was the recipient of $100,000 in donations stemming from notorious fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried’s corrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange, and they have no plans to give it back.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which on Thursday won seven guilty verdicts against Bankman-Fried, has called on political committees that received donations from FTX to return that money.
Maine Democrats have refused.
“Sam Bankman-Fried perpetrated one of the biggest frauds in American history, a multibillion-dollar scheme designed to make him the king of crypto,” Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a news briefing following the verdict Thursday.
“Here’s the thing: the cryptocurrency industry might be new. The players like Sam Bankman-Fried might be new. This kind of fraud, this kind of corruption, is as old as time, and we have no patience for it.”
Bankman-Fried was found guilty on all seven counts against him, including fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering.
In March, the U.S. Attorney for SDNY said donations from Bankman-Fried and his FTX employees “represent the proceeds of Bankman-Fried’s crimes.”
That includes the $100,000 donation from an FTX employee that the Maine Democrats used to boost their members’ campaigns in the 2022 elections.
FTX collapsed shortly after the Nov. 2022 elections.
Maine Democratic Party Chairperson Bev Uhlenhake told the Bangor newspaper in December her party was in a “holding pattern” until the courts sorted out the matter.
“I need a lot more information,” she said. “What I will say is that we will navigate in the most ethical way possible.”
Rep. Marc G. Malon II (D- Biddeford), who according to financial disclosures works as the “Party Affairs Director” for the Maine Democratic State Committee, declined to comment when asked on X about his party’s plans for the dirty money.
Bankman-Fried gave nearly $40 million to Democrats in the 2022 election cycle, according to campaign finance documents.
But he also used employees to funnel donations to political organizations, including Nishad Singh, the 3rd ranking employee at FTX, who gave $100,000 to Maine Democrats.
The soon-to-be-jailbird has said used similar arrangements to pass money to GOP politicians.
Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins received $5,800 from FTX’s ill-gotten gains. Her office told the WSJ almost immediately after Bankman-Fried was indicted that she would donate an equivalent amount to charity.
According to campaign finance records, Collins for Senator disbursed $2,900 to the Harrison Food Bank and $2,900 to the Aroostook County Food Bank on Dec. 29.