Biden campaign bundlers to score senior White House positions
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At least eight top Biden campaign bundlers will be appointed or nominated to senior White House positions, according to a Fox News count.
These top fundraisers “bundle” together donations from business associates, family members and friends to help finance presidential campaigns.
Rep. Deb Haaland, President-elect Biden’s nominee for secretary of the interior who would be the first Native American Cabinet member, donated at least $100,000 to his campaign and affiliated joint-fundraising committees.
So did Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, nominated for labor secretary, Peter Harrell, who’s been offered a spot on the National Security Council, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, tapped to head Health and Human Services, Rep. Cedric Richmond, appointed senior adviser to the president, Jeff Zients, who will serve as counselor to the president and coordinate the Covid-19 response, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, plucked for transportation secretary and Evan Ryan, tapped to serve as White House Cabinet secretary.
The list of individuals who rounded up donations over $100,000 has since been pulled from Biden’s website but remains accessible through web archives. Disclosing a list of campaign bundlers is not mandated by law, though they’ve played an increasing role in presidential and congressional campaigns.
President George W. Bush appointed about 200 bundlers to his administration over eight years in office, according to Public Citizen. President Obama appointed 184 in his first term alone. President Trump did not make public the names of his bundlers.
Biden’s list offered less transparency than Obama’s, who divided his list from those who had collected more than $500,000 apiece to those who had collected between $50,000 and $100,000 each.
It’s become standard practice for new presidents to dole out ambassadorships to high-dollar donors and bundlers, particularly to posh locales such as London or Paris, but these fundraisers scored spots on the Biden team closer to home.
The president-elect in December 2019 declined to rule out appointing donors to political posts, but said no one would be appointed based on what they contributed.
Still, he added, “you have some of the people out there … that are fully qualified to head up everything from being the ambassador to NATO to be ambassador to France … who may or may not have contributed.” But he insisted those contributions “would not be any basis” for his decision.
“I’m going to appoint the best people possible,” Biden said at the time.”Nobody, in fact, will be appointed by me based on anything they contributed.”
In recent administrations, aside from ambassadorships, top funders have been chosen for commerce secretary: Penny Pritzer under President Obama, Don Evans under President George W. Bush, Ronald Brown under President Bill Clinton, and Robert Mosbacher under President George H.W. Bush.
Trump paved the way for the campaign donor-to-White House pipeline, announcing in the weeks before his term began six mega donors who would be chosen for top posts. The donors together with their families offered a total $11.6 million to support his presidential bid, his allied super PACs and the Republican National Committee, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Linda McMahon, co-founder of WWE, contributed $7.5 million to pro-Trump super PACs, the Republican National Committee and his campaign, making her the third biggest financial backer of Trump’s election campaign. She was tapped to lead the Small Business Administration. The DeVos family donated $1.8 million, and Betsy DeVos served as education secretary.
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The family of Deputy Commerce Secretary Todd Ricketts donated $1.3 million, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin donated $425,000, Labor Secretary Andy Puzder donated $332,000 and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross donated $200,000.
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