On Thursday, The New York Times reported that former Vice President Joe Biden’s wealthy allies want to unleash a super PAC in order to help their favorite win the nomination.
Biden has, like all prominent Democrats running for president, sworn off super PACs, but the donors backing his candidacy believe that his campaign needs a new influx of money in order to make it across the finish line.
Former Biden aide Larry Rasky held a meeting in his Washington office last week, discussing the possibility of launching a pro-Biden super PAC. Philip Munger, a prominent Democratic donor, was in attendance, as was political strategist Mark Riddle.
“For me, this week puts everything into stark relief,” Rasky said of the Trump-Ukraine scandal implicating the former vice president, describing the Biden campaign’s decision to reject super PAC money as “naive.”
“A lot of us believe there should be a fair fight,” Rasky added, suggesting that other Biden allies are also on board with the idea.
Biden’s campaign confirmed that the candidate will not accept super PAC money in the primary, telling the NYT that the former vice president “has not and will not welcome the help.”
As the publication notes, apart from being implicated in the Trump-Ukraine scandal, Biden is also stalling in the polls, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren breathing down his neck in key states.
Although Biden may have said no to PAC contributions, he has — much like fellow candidates Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris — attracted the attention of wealthy donors, racking up contributions from big bank executives and Wall Street, according to CNBC.
Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, known for decrying the influence of money in American politics, has relied on small individual contributions for his presidential bid.
Following news of Biden allies pushing for a super PAC, Sanders sent an email to supporters warning that the former vice president’s donors are “trying to buy this election,” according to a report from the Washington Examiner.
“It should not be a surprise that wealthy donors of the political establishment are trying to buy this election. Now we need to be ready for when they do,” Sanders wrote, before attacking super PACs as a “threat” to American democracy.
“The antidote to a super PAC is a political revolution funded by working people, chipping in what they can. We are the only campaign that is entirely funded by grassroots donations from start to finish,” Sanders said.
As the Washington Examiner notes, Sanders outraised all other Democratic White House hopefuls in the first quarter of 2019 with $18.2 million; the average donation being $34. In the second quarter, however, he has stalled, raising $18 million.