SEC General Counsel Steps Down Amid Controversy Over FTX Founder Meetings

• Dan Berkovitz, General Counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission, has stepped down amid reports that he had met and dined with disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
• The emails were initially obtained by the watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust, showing the SEC official had a warm relationship with SBF.
• SBF was the second largest donor to the Democratic Party in the 2021-2022 election cycle, donating $39,884,256 to Democrats.

Dan Berkovitz, the General Counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has stepped down amidst mounting controversy surrounding his meetings with Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the now-defunct FTX. According to a recent announcement, the SEC said that Berkovitz is departing his role at the agency effective January 31. Megan Barbero, currently SEC Principal Deputy General Counsel, will be appointed General Counsel following his departure.

The news of Berkovitz’s departure is linked to a series of meetings he had with Bankman-Fried and other crypto lobbyists. The emails were initially obtained by the watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust and were viewed by the Washington Examiner. These emails revealed a warm relationship between the two, suggesting that Berkovitz was an ally of FTX within the financial regulatory agency.

The meetings in question took place in October 2020, while the SEC and CFTC were discussing the best methods for regulating cryptocurrency. Bankman-Fried, FTX General Counsel Ryne Miller, and then-FTX President Brett Harrison all attended the dinner with Berkovitz at a luxury restaurant. The presence of Berkovitz at the dinner shows Bankman-Fried’s efforts to influence lawmakers and regulators.

It was later revealed that Bankman-Fried was the second largest donor to the Democratic Party in the 2021-2022 election cycle, donating $39,884,256. This revelation prompted criticism from Elon Musk, who suggested that it was a sign of corruption in Washington.

In light of the controversy, Berkovitz has now stepped down from his role at the SEC. Although the exact reasons for his departure remain unclear, it appears that the allegations of corruption were too much for him to bear. Meanwhile, the agency has appointed Megan Barbero as the new General Counsel, and she will be tasked with restoring public trust in the SEC.