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February 27, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

2020Campaign Finance

Biden and Buttigieg See Pharma Money As The Cure For Campaign Woes

HHS secretary Alex Azar refused to guarantee a coronavirus vaccine would be affordable to all during Congressional testimony on Wednesday. The outrage reminded Americans why they are sick and tired of the unchecked pharmaceutical industry’s abuses. As we wrote for the American Prospect, Azar is a former pharma lobbyist who, like the rest of President Trump’s coronavirus response team, has no background in public health or research.

February 21, 2020 | The American Prospect

Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020Campaign Finance

The Top Lawyer Bankrolling Democrats

The insidious influence of the wealthy over our politics, as Alexander Sammon wrote last month, is perhaps the defining issue of the 2020 Democratic primary. It’s the reason we at the Revolving Door Project have been yammering on about bundlers—the wealthy and well-connected volunteer fundraisers who almost inevitably end up receiving or influencing key jobs across the executive branch. Bundlers have driven the facile premise of both Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg’s campaigns: “I can’t be bought by the rich, because I am one of the rich who buys.” This was initially Donald Trump’s pitch, too. And the desire to reject the influence of bundlers raise hopes in Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s campaigns, largely driven by small dollars and people power.

February 21, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

2020Campaign Finance

Biden Corporate Loyalists Unite Around Super PAC

Andrea Beaty
Joe Biden’s campaign is hurting for cash and increasingly reliant on the pro- Biden super PAC, Unite the Country, for help. Unite the Country is spending big in early states — the super PAC threw over $5.5 million into Iowa and is now expanding into South Carolina. But the Unite the Country donors swooping in to save Biden’s messaging efforts build on the super PAC’s established base of corporate lobbyists and consultants. Unite the Country recently picked up new supporters from private equity, venture capital, real estate, and other sectors that may be looking for favorable policies or to influence strategic appointments.

February 19, 2020 | Truthout

Eleanor Eagan

Blog PostOp-Ed

2020Campaign Finance

As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands

At this time last year, newly declared Democratic primary candidates were racing to outdo each other with escalating promises to shun big money support. Contenders vowed not to take corporate PAC money, to reject lobbyists’ dollars, to discourage super PACs, and to tell fossil fuel executives, “no, thank you”. Now, however, many seem to be in a wholly different sort of race: to put the most distance between themselves and their prior principled stands.

January 31, 2020

Eleanor Eagan Max Moran

Blog Post

2020Campaign FinancePrivate EquityTech

Who Exactly Are Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg's Bundlers?

Eleanor Eagan | Max Moran

Beginning in the fall, the Revolving Door Project was one of a handful of voices drawing attention to Democratic primary candidates’ failure to release the names of their most important fundraisers. In op-eds, newsletters, and across other forums throughout the fall we repeatedly made the case that this consequential information could not stay hidden.

Why were we so insistent? A candidate’s list of top fundraisers, or bundlers, provides clearer insight than perhaps any other piece of campaign material into how a candidate would actually do the job of being president.

January 29, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

2020Campaign Finance

Dem Prez Candidates Fundraising from Union-Busting Lawyers

Andrea Beaty

The Iron Workers Union endorsed Joe Biden last week, citing his dedication to “defend rights and jobs of American workers”, and calling him “a friend to union ironworkers”. The union endorsement marks one of many that Democratic candidates are fighting for by unveiling detailed labor plans and promising to overturn “right-to work laws” that weaken unions. While they seek union endorsements, several of the candidates are also seeking direct contributions from wealthy individuals. And therein lies a largely hidden tension.

January 27, 2020 | InsideSources

Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020Campaign Finance

The Issue Dividing Democratic Candidates Is Hidden in Plain Sight

Takes came in hot and heavy last weekend after the New York Times editorial board endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination, mercifully ending the paper’s self-aggrandizing pseudo-event widely compared to … that’s right … “The Apprentice.”

The Times split its endorsement due to the intra-Democratic cleave between what it termed a “radical” path represented by Warren and a “pragmatic” path represented by Klobuchar.

January 03, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020Campaign Finance

The Christmas Miracle: Biden’s Unexamined List of High-Powered Fundraisers

’Twas the Friday after Christmas, when all through the land, not a person was working, the computers unmanned. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while Joe Biden released the names of the wealthy and well-connected volunteers who are fundraising for his campaign.
These fundraisers, otherwise known as bundlers, have all brought in at least $25,000 for the campaign, although many have likely brought in sums an order of magnitude larger, or at least plan to throughout the course of the campaign.

October 03, 2019 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020Campaign Finance

The DNC’s Debate Gambit Prevents Donor Accountability

Late last week, the Democratic National Committee announced that it would hold only one October debate (on the 15th, rather than the 15th and 16th), packing the 12 qualifying candidates onto a single stage. As others have highlighted, the overcrowding will likely mean even less substance and more quibbling. There is, however, another important and overlooked consequence of the DNC’s decision: The single debate will slip in hours before the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) third-quarter fundraising filing deadline, delivering an undeserved blessing to candidates who don’t wish to answer questions about their unsavory fundraising ties.

July 30, 2019 | BuzzFeed News

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020Campaign FinanceRevolving DoorTech

Mayor Pete Is Silicon Valley's Hottest New Startup

You might think Big Tech is facing an existential reckoning in Washington, based on recent congressional hearings with Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google. Add in Facebook’s $5 billion Federal Trade Commission settlement and the Trump administration pursuing antitrust inquiries into Big Tech while “looking into” Peter Thiel’s accusation that Google has been treasonously collaborating with China and it begins to sound consequential.

But if you look elsewhere — to the fundraising totals released by presidential candidates this month, and perhaps even to this week’s presidential debates — you can glimpse the seeds of the industry’s political revival.

June 25, 2019 | The American Prospect

Jeff Hauser Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

2020Campaign Finance

Do Pete Buttigieg’s Donors Know Him Better Than We Do?

In a field of 24 candidates, Democratic presidential hopefuls must attempt to stand out from the crowd, and Pete Buttigieg is no different. He foregrounds his personal story, relative youth, and roots in the country’s geographic center to pitch voters on a generational departure. “Such a moment calls for hopeful and audacious voices from communities like ours,” Buttigieg said in his announcement speech. “And yes, it calls for a new generation of leadership.”

March 25, 2018 | The Hill

Jeff Hauser

Op-Ed

Campaign FinanceFinancialization

17 Senate Dems Broke their Contracts with their Voters

“Trump in power constitutes a crisis for America, and the opposition must be unified!” That’s been the cry from the Democratic party establishment since the presidential election of 2016.

As calls for unity go, this one is unusually justifiable, imperative, in fact. But the Democratic establishment broke faith with its own credo in the past few weeks, even as the benefits of a unified effort against Trump and the Republicans became clear in the congressional election that delivered a victory to Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania.