This will likely add to the fundraising war between Buttigieg and Warren.
A prospective donor to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg revealed an email sent from a top fundraiser with language implying pay-to-play.
What they’re saying: “If you want to get on the campaign’s radar now before he is flooded with donations after winning Iowa and New Hampshire, you can use the link below for donations,” the fundraiser, H.K. Park, wrote in an email to the donor, which was reviewed by Axios.
- The Buttigieg campaign lists Park on its website as one of its top fundraisers — those who have raised at least $25,000 for the campaign.
The email bothered the donor, who asked to remain anonymous. The donor shared the email because if Buttigieg is going to operate this way “it’s in the public interest for people to know what’s being said.”
The donor told Axios the email is “very telling and concerning that one of the campaign’s major bundlers would talk like that.”
The donor also mentioned the email would make people wonder how Buttigieg would “interact with Silicon Valley if the implication is pay-to-play?”
Buttigieg’s campaign distanced itself from the email:
Sean Savett, a Buttigieg campaign spokesperson responded: “The campaign did not see or authorize the language in this email. But it is ridiculous to interpret it as anything more than asking potential supporters who may be interested in Pete to join our campaign before caucusing and voting begins.”
- “We are proud to have more than 700,000 donors who have already donated to our campaign, and the only promise any donor will ever get from Pete is that he will use their donations to defeat Donald Trump.”
Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have slammed Buttigieg’s fundraising tactics. Both have sworn off raising money from bundlers, who raise the big bucks.
Fundraising came up in the last debate. Buttigieg quickly pointed out Warren’s hypocrisy:
“Senator, your presidential campaign right now, as we speak, is funded in part by money you transferred, having raised it at those exact same big-ticket fundraisers you now denounce,” he said. “Did it corrupt you, Senator? Of course not . . . these purity tests shrink the stakes of the most important election upon us.”
Buttigieg responded by pointing out Warren was far wealthier than him. “According to Forbes magazine, I am literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire,” he said. “This is important — this is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass.”
Buttigieg argued that “if I pledge never to be in the company of a progressive Democratic donor, I couldn’t be up here.”
“Senator, your net worth is 100-times mine,” he said, asking Warren her opinion of a max donation from a wealthy individual — “would that pollute my campaign?”
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