Massachusetts senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren likes to disparage Big Money. She's pledged to cross all rich donors off her address book in her 2020 campaign and instead rely on small donations to get her to the White House. Sounds noble. But as the New York Times reminded us on Monday, the popular progressive who is now all about "the grassroots" was once all too happy to host big donor fundraisers. She's accepted donations from major political players all over the country - Boston, New York, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Martha’s Vineyard and Philadelphia, to name a few.
"The open secret of Ms. Warren’s campaign is that her big-money fund-raising through 2018 helped lay the foundation for her anti-big-money run for the presidency," the piece reads. "Last winter and spring, she transferred $10.4 million in leftover funds from her 2018 Senate campaign to underwrite her 2020 run, a portion of which was raised from the same donor class she is now running against."
The editors quote former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who asks, "Can you spell hypocrite?” He once supported Warren but has switched allegiance to Joe Biden. Last year, he hosted a fundraiser for Warren and said he received a warm thank you note from her. Fast-forward to this year and suddenly the senator is shaming him for holding a similar "swanky" affair for Biden.
"All of a sudden, we were bad guys and power brokers and influence-peddlers," Rendell observed. "In 2018, we were wonderful.”
Former President Obama adviser David Axelrod was one of the political pundits who read the piece. He wasn't surprised by the content or the timing.
With her campaign steadily gaining, this story about the large donor fundraising by @ewarren that laid the foundation for her campaign was going to come. It’s a shot at her oft-repeated boast of foreswearing such practices in the Dem race.https://t.co/FscX7kZ0Vy— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) September 9, 2019
Warren, still one of the 2020 frontrunners, should be prepared to answer more questions about her former relationship to those major political donors.
Her supporters, like Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, says the "hypocrite" label for Warren is unfair because she's now "trying to change the system step by step."