After Vowing To Not Take Corporate Money, Democratic Presidential Candidates Cozy Up To Wall Street

Excepting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, all Democratic presidential candidates have embraced Wall Street.

Buttons of 2020 presidential contenders Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker.
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Excepting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, all Democratic presidential candidates have embraced Wall Street.

The Democratic Party’s supposed shift leftward has prompted virtually all Democratic presidential candidates to disavow corporate money. Kamala Harris, for instance, said in April that she will no longer accept money from corporate political action committees, according to The Hill.

As The New York Times reported, rising Democratic star — and South Bend Mayor — Pete Buttigieg’s campaign said that the candidate “will not be influenced by special-interest money.”

Similarly, front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden rejected the help of a super PAC formed to support his candidacy, according to HuffPost.

All Democratic presidential candidates have made similar pledges, seemingly embracing the power of grassroots organizing and small donor financial support.

But apparently these pledges had nothing to do with Wall Street. All Democrats, excepting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, are “dropping by for lunch and money,” according to a new report from Bloomberg.

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Jay Inslee, Cory Booker, John Hickenlooper, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Amy Klobuchar have all reportedly attended meetings with Wall Street donors, accepting their campaign contributions.

Buttigieg met with Wall Street veteran Charles Myers, and Harris attended a fundraiser organized by Citigroup Inc. executive Yann Coatanlem. Former Goldman Sachs partner Bruce Heyman raised more than $100,000 for Amy Klobuchar, and he is already planning a similar event for Joe Biden.

Gillibrand, Booker, Biden, and Buttigieg have all met with investors and bankers “to talk policy or raise money,” according to the report.

According to money manager Marc Lasry, who was a bundler for Hillary Clinton in 2015, all Democrats running for president — except Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — are holding meetings with Wall Street executives and big donors. “At the end of the day, candidates need money,” he told Bloomberg.

“In the past, there was no candidate who didn’t come to New York, Chicago, L.A. for money,” says Lasry. “Today, there are two candidates who aren’t doing that — Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders,” he added.

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Ann Ravel, a former chairperson of the Federal Election Commission, argued that the candidates’ alleged embrace of investors, executives, and donors is hypocritical — especially given that virtually all Democrats have pledged to not accept campaign contributions from corporate political action committees, vowing to instead rely on grassroots support.

It remains to be seen how — and if — the candidates’ embrace of Wall Street will influence the 2020 election. However, according to polls conducted thus far, only two candidates have a real shot at winning the presidency — Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

The two men, according to polling data compiled by RealClearPolitics, are currently leading the field, with Biden ahead of Sanders by a significant margin.