By Jeff John Roberts. December 14, 2022. (Fortune).
The Securities and Exchange Commission sent a statement to reporters early Tuesday—2:10 a.m. ET to be precise—to announce its charges against Sam Bankman-Fried. The timing of the email didn’t make much sense since these sorts of communications typically go out between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. But it did make sense if you’re familiar with the motives of Gary Gensler, the SEC’s embattled chairman.
It’s only a guess, but the unusual timing of the email was likely an effort to preempt the Justice Department, which had announced it would unveil criminal charges against Bankman-Fried on Tuesday morning. By getting his agency’s complaint out first, Gensler was presumably hoping he could soak up credit on a day when SBF was being brought to justice.
Such behavior is par for the course for Gensler, who in October took the unusual step of making a Twitter video to announce an SEC fine against Kim Kardashian, releasing it early on a Monday morning for maximum publicity. The Kardashian fine involved a relatively minor crypto boondoggle from June of 2021, but it did involve an A-list celebrity, so Gensler was all over it.