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Meet the (SBF) Parents

The left-wing apple doesn't fall far from the tree

Clockwise from top left: Barbara Fried, Sam Bankman-Fried, and Joseph Bankman / law.stanford.edu and Getty Images
• November 23, 2022 12:35 pm

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"I'm a big advocate for Sam because he has two parents that are compliance lawyers," FTX spokesman and investor Kevin O'Leary, better known as Shark Tank‘s Mr. Wonderful, said earlier this month of his relationship with crypto scam-artist Sam Bankman-Fried. "If there's ever a place I could be that I'm not going to get in trouble, it's going to be at FTX."

We're hardly sophisticated investors, but: LOL.

It's true, Sam Bankman-Fried's parents are lawyers: professors at Stanford Law School, fanatical left-wingers, and as greedy as they come. The apple, apparently, did not fall far from the tree.

Bankman-Fried's mother, Barbara Fried, is a tax expert whose scholarship focuses on moral philosophy and "questions of distributive justice." She has three degrees from Harvard and led a left-wing super PAC that funneled millions of dollars to Democrats. Bankman-Fried's father, Joseph Bankman, earned an undergraduate degree at Berkeley and a law degree from Yale. According to Fortune, he has helped Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) write tax legislation. He's also a clinical psychologist who specializes in the "treatment of anxiety, depression, and adjustment in both teens and adults."

Mom and Pops didn't teach Sam how to drag a brush through his hair or tie his shoes, but they did school him in the argot of the high-society bullshit artist: "utilitarianism," "effective altruism,"  "commitment to the well-being of all people," yadda, yadda, yadda.

The do-gooder schtick was just that. "Man all the dumb shit I said," Bankman-Fried texted a reporter, "it's not true, not really." The reporter followed up: "So the ethics stuff—mostly a front?" You know the answer.

So we weren't exactly shocked to read Tuesday's Reuters report indicating that Bankman and Fried appear to have been in on the FTX scam. The two purchased a Bahamian beachfront home in a gated community "that was once home to a British colonial fort built in the 1700s to protect against pirates." These warriors for distributive justice now tell the press—through an unnamed spokesman paid for with God knows whose money—that they've been desperately trying to return the deed for their estate, they just can't figure whom to give it to. Noted house-flipper Elizabeth Warren is smiling somewhere.

We may not know investment, but we do know politics. So Mr. Wonderful, the next time you meet a billion-dollar founder with left-wing platitudes coming out his ears, understand that you're probably getting played. Especially if his parents are high-flying academics who moonlight as shrinks. Not six months ago, Bankman was making overtures to an advocacy group for the so-called recently incarcerated, floating a $600,000 donation from FTX. He has since told them he is "heartbroken" he won't be able to deliver. Not to worry: The money just went to a different set of crooks.