A law firm that defended a businessman against criminal charges in Saudi Arabia. A lawyer representing bankers charged with fraud in securities. These are some of Manhattan’s wealthy elite that will hold fundraisers for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden early next month as he trains for February’s first Democratic presidential caucuses.
The next week, more than a dozen people will be attending another party to raise money for the former Delaware senator and vice president, most of whom are employees at corporate law firms. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both opposed large-dollar fundraisers and resisted the tradition of granting special access to them and their efforts for wealthy donors.
Their reliance on electronic donations for small funds has netted them much more money than the more traditional approach adopted by Biden, and as a consequence, the Biden team abandoned its previous position of disavowing political funding from super PACs. Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg announced his bundlers in April then stopped the procedure in November, only to reverse course again after Warren and the media felt challenged.
Mayor Pete released the names of 113 people and couples for his campaign last week who raised at least $25,000 but left out over 20 famous donors. While Pete is clean of his bundlers, there is no other candidate who uses bundlers.
Biden, on the other hand, who continues to lead national Democratic primary polls as he is among the top contender in the early primary states, has not made such a promise. Health care and climate change are among the top issues for Democratic voters. While his democratic rivals have laid out bold plans to implement a Green New Deal, and Sanders has introduced a robust Medicare for All program, Biden’s policy platform evinces more modest goals that progressives see as insufficient to reel in health care profiteers and fossil fuel companies.
Nonetheless, Biden claims to support a Green New Deal, calling it “a critical opportunity to address the energy challenges we face,” and has suggested an alternative for public health care. Based on their resumes, many of Biden’s key allies appear to see things a little differently in the presidential contest. Many hosts of the January fundraisers from Biden’s Manhattan are corporate lawyers.
Biden has had a friendly relationship with the finance industry throughout his career, unlike his main rivals, Sanders and Warren. Biden represented Delaware in the Senate for 35 years, a corporate tax haven that has been home to several credit card companies.