Axios PM

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December 09, 2022

Good afternoon and happy Friday. Today's newsletter, edited by Sam Baker and copy edited by Sheryl Miller, is 440 words, a 2-minute read

1 big thing: Why Sinema left

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's decision to leave the Democratic Party was long in the making, but she waited until after the midterms to avoid interfering in ongoing races, sources familiar with her move tell Axios' Alayna Treene.

What they're saying: The Arizonan hopes that becoming an Independent will free her from any expectations that she'll side with Democrats, and it'll help carve out an identity as a bipartisan broker, the sources said.

  • "It's kind of a helpful reset of expectations," former Sinema aide John LaBombard told Axios. "Anyone who assumed at any point that moderates in our party would always just fall in line and do what the most vocal and loudest voices in our party wanted them to do was never a reasonable expectation."

What we're watching: Sinema says she won't caucus with Democrats β€” as do Independent Sens. Angus King and Bernie Sanders β€” but that her new party affiliation will not impact the way she votes and that she'll continue to support President Biden's nominees.

Go deeper.

2. Scoop: SBF funded crypto news site

Photo illustration of Sam Bankman-Fried against a background of The Block logos

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sam Bankman-Fried's cryptocurrency trading firm secretly funded The Block, a news site that purported to cover the crypto world independently, Axios Media Trends author Sara Fischer scoops.

  • One $16 million batch of funding was used in part to purchase an apartment in the Bahamas for The Block's CEO, Michael McCaffrey, according to sources familiar with the transactions.
  • LLCs controlled by McCaffrey received three loans from Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried's trading firm, totaling more than $40 million.

The fallout: Employees of The Block were previously unaware of the payments and are livid about the secret now that they've found out β€” especially as they continue to cover the repercussions of FTX's collapse.

Go deeper.

3. Catch up quick

A temporary memorial at George Floyd Square last year. Photo: Christian Monterrosa/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  1. The city of Minneapolis will buy the gas station at the intersection where George Floyd was killed and turn it into a memorial. (AP)
  2. Maxwell Frost, soon to be the first Gen Z member of Congress, says he was denied an apartment in Washington because of his credit. Go deeper.
  3. Croatia knocked Brazil out of the World Cup. (AP)

4. 1 fun thing: "Goonies" house sells

Image: RETO Media via AP

Hey you guys ... The Astoria, Oregon, home featured prominently in the movie "The Goonies" has sold to a fan of the film who intends to preserve the house, AP reports.

  • It's become a magnet for "Goonies" fans β€” attracting 1,500 daily visitors in 2015, the film's 30th anniversary. Astoria celebrates Goonies Day every year on the film's release date, June 7.
  • The Victorian home listed for $1.7 million, per AP. The buyer's identity is not yet known.