Hours before Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate and just days after she swore off big fundraisers, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced that she would no longer be accepting campaign donations of more than $200 from big businesses and challenged her fellow White House hopefuls to be more transparent about how they’re funding their own campaigns.
Warren blasted some of her Democratic primary rivals in a post on Medium, in which she accused them of “hobnobbing with the rich and powerful” and “handing out secret titles and honors to rich donors.”
“I’m proud to be running a grassroots-funded campaign for president, and I hope my fellow candidates for the Democratic nomination will do the same,” Warren wrote. “That’s why I’m also calling on every candidate in this race to disclose any donor or fundraiser who has a special title on their campaign…and to disclose the dates and locations of their fundraising events and the names of every person who appears on a host committee on invitations tied to those events.”
Warren added: “If Democratic candidates for president want to spend their time hobnobbing with the rich and powerful, it is currently legal for them to do so – but they shouldn’t be handing out secret titles and honors to rich donors. Voters have a right to know who is buying access and recognition — and how much it costs.”
In her post, Warren does not specifically call out any of her fellow candidates, but her words appear to be a rebuke of Democratic presidential primary hopefuls like former Vice President Joe Bide, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif, and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Each of these candidates have raised millions of dollars through fundraisers and private events with wealthy donors — a practice that is common in both major political parties in the U.S.
Warren, along with fellow candidate and Vermont lawmaker Bernie Sanders, have spurned big-dollar donors this campaign season, in favor of relying on small-dollar, online donations. The results have surprisingly seen them outraising other candidates last quarter.
Warren’s critics have slammed her for holding fundraisers in the past and using some of the money left in her war chest to launch her 2020 presidential bid. But since announcing her candidacy, Warren has not taken any PAC or big-dollar donations.
“I’m not going to take any contributions over $200 from executives at big tech companies, big banks, private equity firms, or hedge funds,” Warren wrote. “And when I’m the Democratic nominee for president, I’m not going to change a thing in how I run my campaign: No PACs. No federal lobbyists. No special access or call time with rich donors or big dollar fundraisers to underwrite my campaign.”
Despite outraising most other candidates last quarter, Warren’s rivals still say that the small-dollar donations will hinder her chances of defeating President Trump should she win the Democratic nomination.
“We're not going to beat him with pocket change," Buttigieg said in a Snapchat post, adding that Democrats "need the full spectrum of support in order to compete.”