Most of the 2020 Dems Are Still Happy to Take Wall Street's Money

Illustration for article titled Most of the 2020 Dems Are Still Happy to Take Wall Streets Money
Photo: Tom Williams (Getty Images)

Some Democrats are having a harder time quitting Wall Street than others.

Starting with the campaign announcements that began trickling out last year, the ever-growing field of 2020 Democratic candidates began swearing off corporate PAC contributions. As campaign finance experts have pointed out, the promise wasn’t of much consequence given that corporate PAC donations have never factored heavily into presidential races. But that was OK, because the symbolic gesture was supposedly a precursor to Democrats moving away from the crutch and corruption of wealthy donors...right?


Not exactly! Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that, minus the two actually decent candidates, the majority of Democratic candidates have happily played the role of lapdogs for the sentient wallets that call Wall Street home. Rather than force the bankers and venture capitalists and financiers to shuffle money through a super PAC, they’ve opted to take the cash straight from their hands, as if openly wooing the uber-wealthy is a better alternative. From the site:

In February, Pete Buttigieg stepped into the Manhattan office of Wall Street veteran Charles Myers to talk politics over deli sandwiches. Citigroup Inc. Managing Director Yann Coatanlem hosted a fundraiser in March for Kamala Harris at his Fifth Avenue apartment, where she shook the paw of the banker’s labradoodle. Three days later, former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner Bruce Heyman raised more than $100,000 for Amy Klobuchar at his home in Chicago. He’s planning an event for Joe Biden this fall.


In a report produced by MapLight and published by Splinter—which focused on past corporate PAC contributions to 2020 Democrats—it was revealed that, before they took the pledge, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Kamala Harris all previously cashed at least $129,000 in corporate PAC donations. That’s a decent amount of coin, but in a campaign that requires millions, not tens of thousands, passing on the PAC money wasn’t a dealbreaker given these are members of the political class that regularly rub shoulders with the one percent and feel perfectly fine about it.

After all, we’re talking about Joe “the folks at the top aren’t bad guys” Biden, Silicon Valley-produced android Booker, and Harris, who collected just 15 percent of campaign contributions from donors giving less than $200 in her 2016 Senate race, per the Sacramento Bee. (Through the first quarter of 2019, she’s only been able to raise that to 39 percent, per Bloomberg; Booker’s rate is currently sitting at 12.3 percent) That these people would do the absolute minimum to pander to working class voters and then go out and just ask their rich buddies for money is kind of their whole schtick.

Thankfully, as was pointed out by a person working in finance, two of the candidates—yes, the ones you’d expect—have actually stuck to their word.

“In the past, there was no candidate who didn’t come to New York, Chicago, L.A. for money,” Marc Lasry, described by Bloomberg as a money manager, said. “Today, there are two candidates who aren’t doing that—Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.”


In February, Warren made as much clear when she denounced the imbalance that accompanies begging wealthy donors for funds and said she would not host high ticket, exclusive fundraising events. And it’s that adamant nature by which Warren and Sanders told Wall Street exactly where they can shove their cash that has had both corporate PACs and wealthy donors alike fretting about the possibility of either of them winning the nomination.

Too bad their fellow Democrats are just off to the side, happily lapping from the dish.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter