Happy Thursday! Remember Sam Bankman-Fried, wunderkind founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange who exploded last year into a plume of Ponzi scheme confetti?
A bunch of celebrities—Tom Brady, Larry David, Shaquille O’Neal—are now facing a class-action lawsuit alleging their FTX endorsements abetted fraud. But Taylor Swift reportedly dumped a $100 million deal after asking a pointed question about the legality of FTX’s product: “Can you tell me that these are not unregistered securities?”
She knew SBF was trouble when he walked in.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- House Republicans on Wednesday released the “Limit, Save, Grow Act,” which would raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion or suspend it until March 2024—whichever comes first—cap discretionary spending for next year at fiscal year 2022 levels, and limit spending growth to no more than 1 percent per year. It would also claw back unspent COVID-19 relief, add work requirements for government benefits, and block student loan forgiveness. President Joe Biden has thus far spurned Republicans in debt ceiling negotiations, but McCarthy hopes passing this bill—far from a certainty—will put pressure on the White House to come to the table. Goldman Sachs economists now estimate, based on tax receipts, that the U.S. will hit the debt ceiling by early June, rather than August as previously projected.
- The Department of Defense announced a new $325 million security assistance package for Ukraine on Wednesday, tapping into previously approved congressional aid as Ukrainian troops prepare for an expected spring offensive. The package will include ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, artillery rounds, anti-tank mines, and other munitions and equipment.
- The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended its stay to Friday on a Texas judge’s ruling that ordered the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw its approval of mifepristone, a drug used in pill abortions. The order, written by Justice Samuel Alito, doesn’t offer judgment on the case’s merits.
- Three people—including two teen brothers—have been arrested and charged as adults with reckless murder for a shooting at a sweet 16 party in a Dadeville, Alabama, dance studio this weekend that killed four people and injured 32 others. Prosecutors did not release details about the weapons used or motive.
- Outside actors have reportedly begun offering support to both parties in the ongoing conflict between Sudan’s military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, risking regional escalation of the fighting—which has continued despite multiple ceasefire agreements. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Egypt has sent warplanes to back the military—led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan—while at least one plane from Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar has helped carry supplies for the RSF, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The World Health Organization said at least 296 people—including three World Food Program workers—have been killed and more than 3,000 injured since fighting broke out Saturday.
- Iranian officials have reportedly sent thousands of texts to business owners warning they will be shut down if female employees don’t wear head coverings—beginning implementation of a promised crackdown on violations of the country’s religious dress code.
Is DeSantis Losing His Mojo?
He’s down in the polls. He’s losing donors and endorsements. He’s in an extended spat with one of his state’s largest private employers. This isn’t exactly the runway from which Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hoped to launch his much-anticipated presidential campaign. Just a few short months ago—after he won reelection by 19 points while Donald Trump was being blamed for the GOP’s disappointing midterms—DeSantis seemed almost destined to supplant his former mentor as the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Now, a rough few weeks has some commentators wondering if he’s the second coming of Scott Walker.