The right-wing-o-sphere has found its next hypocritical story to focus on: The fall of crypto exchange FTX. It is important to note that FTX, founded and headed by Sam Bankman-Fried, deserves serious coverage. It is a disaster of unregulated crypto-market manipulations and will hopefully trigger some kind of regulatory response. However, the GOP, Elon Musk, and Fox News want to highlight FTX as some kind of secret (Jewish) money-laundering operation for the “liberals.” The fact that Bankman-Fried gave loads of money to the Democratic Party, and courted Democratic officials, is the jumping-off point for this allegation. The other fact, not reported by the right-wing-o-sphere, is that Bankman-Fried’s co-CEO, Ryan Salame, spread around almost the same amount of money to Republican officials.
The plan here is to make the FTX debacle the fault of the Democratic Party—and President Joe Biden, specifically. What makes this hypocritical is not that Democratic officials don’t share the blame for the lack of serious regulation in the markets (crypto or otherwise), but that conservatives are somehow clear of it all. They aren’t. But this is a political hot potato for conservatives to try and leave in the lap of the current administration.
On Tuesday, Tucker Carlson took a few moments away from hatemongering against the LGBTQ community to bring the CME Group’s CEO, Terry Duffy, on to his show to talk about Sam Bankman-Fried and the FTX collapse. CME Group is also an exchange group like FTX. Unlike FTX, the CME Group has far less crypto exposure in its assets. According to Forbes, the CME Group pulls in more than $2.6 billion in profits every year and holds something in the vicinity of $197 billion worth of assets, and is headquartered in Chicago. Duffy has a solid history of making big statements about how the market is not corrupt while at the same time admitting the market might be corrupt.
RELATED STORY: Here's a quick explainer of what happened with crypto giant FTX and how the GOP is lying about it
Terry Duffy has been openly and justifiably critical of Bankman-Fried and was brought on Tucker’s show to basically attack chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Gary Gensler. For Tucker and Fox News, attacking Gensler is the same as attacking Biden. Duffy’s job is to point to the abject incompetence being shown in a regulatory commission that has been relatively impotent for the last couple of decades, by basically saying that anyone with half an education in finance knew FTX was a hot mess of potential securities fraud. Duffy did his job, and then maybe let the cat out of the bag.
It didn’t go as planned.
When asked by the ever-incredulous Carlson, “where was Gary Gensler”—former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) and current chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)—in all of this market manipulation, Duffy tries to go into a riff about how SEC regulators seem to have tried to use a regulatory statute as an excuse for allowing bad behavior. The point here is two-fold: Duffy shows he’s an expert by quoting statute and making things sound complicated, while also saying that intelligent people like Duffy and others knew this was all hogwash, and so did the supposed regulators.
Unfortunately for Duffy, he makes quite a slip-up to begin, relaying his point as a story of meeting with “his” regulator. “I don't know where Gary Gensler was, but my regulator at the CFTC, I bribe. I asked them, why in the world are you invoking the Commodity Exchange Act?”
Excuse me, you what?
Now, this could simply be a few things. It could be an admission that CME Group bribes the person who is tasked with making sure they follow legal regulations. If that were so, the cavalier way in which he says it implies that it is a cavalier practice. Of course, Duffy may have simply misspoken for a few reasons that don’t confer guilt on CME Group for participating in corruption. The CEO might believe that bribery was going on, and instead of saying that, slipped the word into the wrong space in his story.
Maybe he just feels like regulators are being bribed and mistakenly stuck it into his section of the story because he meant to imply it about Sam Bankman-Fried later on in the story?
Hard to say. It is pretty funny, regardless.
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