Warren clarifies pledge on fundraisers if she's the nominee

CBS News 1 month ago

Democratic presidential front-runner Elizabeth Warren clarified a pledge she gave Tuesday not to attend high-roller campaign fundraising events, should she win the Democratic nomination. 

According to her campaign, she has been attending fundraiser events for the national party and will continue to do so. "When she is the nominee, she will continue to raise money and attend events that are open to the press to make sure the Democratic National Committee, state and local parties and Democratic candidates everywhere have the resources not just to beat Donald Trump, but also to win back Congress and state legislatures all across the country," Warren campaign communications director Kristen Orthman said in a statement Thursday. 

Warren recommitted to her own campaign pledge not to hold large-dollar fundraising events, even if she is the Democratic nominee and can't match President Trump's rapid fundraising. Asked about the Trump campaign and RNC's unmatched third quarter fundraising haul, Warren said to hold large-dollar fundraisers would be counter to the message of her campaign. 

"No, I will not be forced to make changes in how I raise money. Look, to me this is pretty straightforward," she told CBS News in an interview Tuesday. "Either you think democracy works and electing a president is all about going behind closed doors with bazillionaires, corporate executives and lobbyists, and scooping up as much money as possible. Or you think it's about a grassroots. Let's build this from the ground up."

When asked whether she'd guarantee she would continue not to attend big-money fundraisers during the general election, Warren had told CBS News, "Sure. Now, I want to be clear, I'm going to help the party, because I'm a team player here and I don't want to see Democrats unilaterally disarmed. But I know exactly how I'm going to run my campaign." But at the time, she didn't explicitly say she would attend the larger fundraiser events.

While Warren will continue to limit the funding of her own campaign to small-dollar donations, her approach to the party's high-roller fundraisers is a tacit acknowledgment that "voluntary efforts are not enough to create the big, structural change we need for our rigged political system," Orthman said. Warren also plans to roll out a campaign finance plan some time in the next few weeks to address this.

Warren raised $24.6 million in the third quarter entirely from small-dollar donors, putting her near the top of of the field in fundraising, surpassed only by Bernie Sanders, who raised $25.3 million.

NBC News first reported that she was clarifying her position and that she would in fact attend high-dollar events for the party. 

Swearing off the large-dollar fundraisers was sure to create conflicts with the national party committees, since her approach would be less effective in helping to raise money for the Democrats running down the ticket in Senate and House races, as well as in state legislatures. It would make that kind of fundraising significantly more difficult for party activists and leaders who would be working for her campaign in swing states.

Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.


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