Democrats have pledged and sworn off lobbyist and corporate contributions left and right in order to court progressives. The Daily Caller reported that Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are the only presidential challengers who have not been actively courting Wall Street. Warren has even taken it a step further and has said she will not host top dollar exclusive fundraising tickets to events and dinners.
- Pete Buttigieg: In February he met with Wall Street veteran Charles Myers
- Kamala Harris: In March Citigroup Inc.’s managing director, Yann Coatanlem, hosted a fundraiser in his apartment on Fifth Avenue.
- Amy Klobuchar: In March Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner, Bruce Heyman, raised over $100,000 in Chicago. Sources said he is in the works of planning a fundraiser for Joe Biden for the fall.
Does a "No PAC" pledge matter? Corporate PAC money accounted for just $2.7 million of the $4.5 billion raised by presidential candidates in the last three election cycles. https://t.co/8j6TqKH1wS
— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) February 25, 2019
Heyman said, according to Bloomberg, “I’ve talked to about half of them, and I have not run into a single one who said, ‘Hey you worked for Goldman Sachs, I can’t take your money.’”
2020 Democrats have focused on delivering a grassroots appeal but have to raise a massive amount of cash for the Iowa caucuses, and June’s Democratic debates in June.
In April, Buttigieg had to return $30,250 from lobbyists to keep his favorability up in a crowded field of Democrats.
Steven Billet, a professor of legislative affairs and expert on PAC management said PACs do not typically give in presidential primaries, thus a candidate taking a stance against PACs means very little right now.
A report on Splinter News stated that before taking the no PAC money pledge the following candidates all cashed at least $129,000 in PAC contributions — Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris.
Walter Shapiro, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice and columnist at Roll Call, told the Washington Examiner the Democratic Party pledge to refusal corporate PAC money “is, shall we say, a feel-good pledge that no one is going to have to worry about the consequences of adhering to.”
Marissa Martinez is a political contributor for Accuracy in Media. She is the former political director to Massachusetts Governor’s re-election campaign, alumna of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and political consultant to national PACs. Follow her stories, @MarissaAlisa.