Elizabeth Warren will host a high-dollar fundraiser with rich donors for Joe Biden, after vowing to avoid such events in her own presidential campaign and accusing her rivals of ‘selling access to their time for money.’
Warren, who is on the short-list to be Biden’s running mate, will host the fundraiser on June 15, The New York Times reported, citing three people with knowledge of the event.
Biden promised to pick a woman as his running mate. Warren is one of several he’s considering, including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, California Senator Kamala Harris, Georgia politician Stacy Abrams, and Florida Congresswoman Val Demmings.
Elizabeth Warren will host a high-dollar fundraiser with rich donors for Joe Biden
Warren is one of several contenders to be Joe Biden’s running mate
Warren remains to the left of Biden in terms of policy positions but he has embraced some of her ideas, particularly on student debt.
The two are reported to speak weekly and Warren has said she would accept the vice presidential slot should Biden offer it to her.
But her attacks on big donors and corporate money worried Wall Street and other high-dollar industries during the Democratic primary process. Holding a fundraiser with them would a way to start to alleviate those concerns.
It could, however, subject her to criticism after she attacked her Democratic rivals for courting rich donors at posh events, most memorably during the December 2019 primary debate, when she criticized Pete Buttigieg for attending a fundraiser in a wine cave.
Shortly before that debate, Buttigieg had dinner in the wine cave of a billionaire couple in Napa Valley that featured a chandelier with 1,500 Swarovski crystals and bottles of cabernet sauvignon that sell for as much as $900.
‘The mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave, full of crystals and served $900-a-bottle wine. Think about who comes to that,’ the Massachusetts senator said. ‘He had promised that every fundraiser he would do would be open-door, but this one was closed-door.’
‘We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States,’ Warren added of her campaign. ‘Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States.’
Buttigieg, in return, pointed out Warren is a millionaire and warned her about issuing a ‘purity test’ she may not be able to pass.
‘You know, according to Forbes magazine, I’m literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire,’ Buttigieg said. ‘This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass. If I pledge — if I pledge never to be in the company of a progressive Democratic donor, I couldn’t be up here. Senator, your net worth is 100 times mine.’
‘I do not sell access to my time,’ Warren replied. ‘I don’t meet behind closed doors with big-dollar donors.’
In February 2019, Warren emailed supporters, promising to avoid fundraising through the traditional methods: dinners, donor calls and cocktail parties.
During December’s Democratic primary debate in Los Angeles, Pete Buttigieg (left) was criticized by rival Elizabeth Warren (right) for holding the fundraiser in the wine cave
Pete Buttigieg during that fundraiser in a wine cave in Napa Valley, California
The fundraiser took place in a wine cave with a crystal chandelier
She also vowed not to sell access to rich, big-name donors as is typical for candidates running for president.
‘That means no fancy receptions or big money fund-raisers only with people who can write the big checks,’ she wrote. ‘It means that wealthy donors won’t be able to purchase better seats or one-on-one time with me at our events. And it means I won’t be doing ‘call time,’ which is when candidates take hours to call wealthy donors to ask for their support.’
Her strategy provided successful, consistently placing in the top three among candidates each quarter in terms of fundraising totals, as she established a loyal group of small-dollar donors.
In total, she raised $115.8 million during her presidential campaign. Although she, like others in the field, struggled to compete against those who could self-fund, such as Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg.