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White House Silent on Whether it Will Return $5.2M in Donations From SBF

A White House official skirted direct queries about whether President Joe Biden intends to repay SBF’s campaign contributions.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, refused to answer a reporter’s query on whether US President Joe Biden would refund the $5.2 million in campaign donations previously provided by FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.

“Will the president return the gift?” In a news conference on December 13, Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller asked, “Does he call on all politicians who received campaign contributions that may have come from consumer money to repay those funds?”

“The Hatch Act protects me here,” Jean-Pierre said, adding that she was “restricted in what I can say.”

“Anything related to political donations, I’d have to send you to the DNC,” she added, referring to the Democratic National Committee, the governing body of the United States Democratic Party, of which Biden is a member.

The Hatch Act is a federal statute that prohibits members of the executive branch from participating in political campaign activities.

“But I’m seeking the president’s view,” Miller said. Jean-Pierre said again that she was “protected by the Hatch Act,” adding, “I simply can’t talk about political donations or anything linked to that from here.”

Miller pressed Jean-Pierre for a reaction to Biden’s perspective, which she refused to discuss since “even his opinion, even his ideas about the contributions, donations — I cannot talk […] about it from here.”

On December 13, Bankman-Fried was charged with violating campaign finance rules, including breaches of contribution regulations and hindering the work of the Federal Election Commission, as well as making donations in the name of others.

With his $5.2 million in donations, he was the second-largest “CEO-contributor” to Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, behind only media tycoon Michael Bloomberg’s $56 million.

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