Person

Barbara Fried

Nationality:

American

Organization:

Founder, Mind the Gap (stepped down as of November 2022)

Barbara Fried is a Stanford Law School professor and a co-founder of Mind the Gap, a pro-Democratic super PAC. She is the mother of cryptocurrency investor Sam Bankman-Fried. [1]

Career

After earning bachelor’s, master’s, and law degrees from Harvard University, Barbara Fried started her career as a clerk to Judge J. Edward Lumbard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She then worked for the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City. In 1987, Fried became a professor at Stanford University. [2]

Mind the Gap

Barbara Fried and fellow Stanford University colleagues Graham Gottlieb and Paul Brest are the co-founders of Mind the Gap, a “secretive Silicon Valley” PAC that supports Democratic candidates. [3]

Mind the Gap is known for its secretive operations, where it attempts to quickly gather donations over a short period of time to prevent Republicans from mobilizing their own donors in response. [4]

When asked about her role in Mind the Gap, Fried, who has no campaign experience, “downplayed the organization” as “merely” a “pro-bono donor advisor to people who are interested in evidence-driven decision making.” She told Vox Media’s Recode: [5]

Our aim is to evaluate the efficacy of different forms of political and civic engagement, and provide our conclusions free to individual, interested donors so they can make more educated decisions about where their money would be most effectively spent. [6]

In 2018, Fried donated $75,000 to Mind the Gap. [7]

In November 2022, Fried stepped down from her position with Mind the Gap. [8] The move came in light of her son Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency company FTX filing for bankruptcy amid revelations that Bankman-Fried “misappropriated FTX user deposits, gambled with customer funds, and used the proceeds to lend himself massive sums of money, liquidity that he was then able to use for his political and philanthropic projects.” [9]

Political Views

In October 2017, Barbara Fried wrote an article for Luxemburg advocating for the creation of a “feminist class politics” which incorporates both working class and woke values into feminism. [10]

Fried is critical of political libertarianism and wrote a criticism of Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Libertarian Mark Friedman described the paper as “deeply misinformed about or deliberately ignored what Nozick claimed for ASU and the substance of much of his argumentation. Moreover, her partisan attack on Nozick was rife with intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy. Apart from these quibbles, it was a noble effort.” [11]

Fried authored The Progressive Assault on Laissez Faire, a positive biography of economist Robert Hale, a stern critic of libertarianism. [12]

Fried has also been critical of the philosophy of John Rawls which underpins much of modern progressivism. She has argued that both libertarianism and Rawlsianism fail because they reject utilitarianism which is essential for mediating trade-offs between individuals: “The fundamental problem any liberal society faces is how to balance competing interests… Rights theory, which starts with the prima facie assumption that the interpersonal tradeoffs entailed are morally impermissible, lacks the internal resources to solve it.” Fried attributes many modern political problems with the refusal of politicians and the public to acknowledge the difficulty and reality of trade-offs (ex. trading off security and freedom, or health care and costs). [13]

Barbara Fried has given over $164,000 to Democratic candidates and PACs since 2006. [14]

Family

Barbara Fried is married to Joe Bankman, a Stanford University professor of law and business. Their son, Sam Bankman-Fried, is a “vegan crypto billionaire” with a net-worth of $10 billion in 2021 due to his cryptocurrency start-up FTX. Bankman-Fried donated $5 million to Future Forward, a Super PAC that supported President Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020, as part of a coordinated effort by tech leaders to support the Democratic candidate. [15] [16] [17]

References

  1. Schleifer, Theodore. “The Lost Gospel of S.B.F.” Puck, November 22, 2022. https://puck.news/the-lost-gospel-of-s-b-f/ ^
  2. “Biography.” Stanford Law School. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://law.stanford.edu/directory/barbara-fried/. ^
  3. Schleifer, Theodore. “Inside the secretive Silicon Valley group that has funneled over $20 million to Democrats.” Recode. January 6, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/6/21046631/mind-the-gap-silicon-valley-democratic-donors-stanford. ^
  4. Schleifer, Theodore. “Inside the secretive Silicon Valley group that has funneled over $20 million to Democrats.” Recode. January 6, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/6/21046631/mind-the-gap-silicon-valley-democratic-donors-stanford. ^
  5. Schleifer, Theodore. “Inside the secretive Silicon Valley group that has funneled over $20 million to Democrats.” Recode. January 6, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/6/21046631/mind-the-gap-silicon-valley-democratic-donors-stanford. ^
  6. [1] Schleifer, Theodore. “Inside the secretive Silicon Valley group that has funneled over $20 million to Democrats.” Recode. January 6, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/6/21046631/mind-the-gap-silicon-valley-democratic-donors-stanford. ^
  7. “Mind the Gap PAC Donors.” Open Secrets. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/political-action-committees-pacs/mind-the-gap/C00683649/donors/2018. ^
  8.  Schleifer, Theodore. “The Lost Gospel of S.B.F.” Puck, November 22, 2022. https://puck.news/the-lost-gospel-of-s-b-f/ ^
  9. Schleifer, Theodore. “The Lost Gospel of S.B.F.” Puck, November 22, 2022. https://puck.news/the-lost-gospel-of-s-b-f/ ^
  10. Fried, Barbara. “””Feminism is for Everyone” – Perspectives for a Feminist Class Politics.” Luxemburg. October 2017. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://zeitschrift-luxemburg.de/artikel/feminism-is-for-everyone-perspectives-for-a-feminist-class-politics/. ^
  11. Friedman, Mark. “Utopia in ASU: A Reply to Barbara Fried.” Natural Rights Libertarian. July 10, 2011. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://naturalrightslibertarian.com/2011/07/utopia-in-asu-a-reply-to-barbara-fried-2/. ^
  12. “The Progressive Assault on Laissez Faire: Robert Hale and the First Law and Economics Movement.” Amazon. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Assault-Laissez-Faire-Economics/dp/0674006984. ^
  13. Driscoll, Sharon. “On Trolley Cars, Blame, and Other Diversions.” Stanford Lawyer. November 11, 2013. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://law.stanford.edu/stanford-lawyer/articles/barbara-h-fried/. ^
  14. “Search: Barbara Fried.” Federal Election Commission. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=barbara+fried&contributor_employer=stanford+university. ^
  15. Shleifer, Theodore. “Silicon Valley megadonors unleash a last-minute, $100 million barrage of ads against Trump.” Recode. October 20, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/10/20/21523492/future-forward-super-pac-dustin-moskovitz-silicon-valley. ^
  16. “Joseph Bankman.” Stanford Law School. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://law.stanford.edu/directory/joseph-bankman/. ^
  17.  Schleifer, Theodore. “How a crypto billionaire decided to become one of Biden’s biggest donors.” Recode. March 20, 2021. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.vox.com/recode/2021/3/20/22335209/sam-bankman-fried-joe-biden-ftx-cryptocurrency-effective-altruism. ^
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