Joe Biden’s First Move Was To Raise Money From The Swamp

Written by Ann Brown
Joe Biden
Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden interacts with a supporter during a campaign stop at the Community Oven restaurant in Hampton, N.H., Monday, May 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Former vice president Joe Biden might have pledged that his 2020 presidential campaign would not take money from special interest — but it seems he has found a way around that. He may not be accepting the money, but his PAC has taken contributions from lobbyists and corporate PACs — more than $30,000 in fact.

Biden created his political action committee back in 2017. Called American Possibilities, the PAC’s purpose is to support Democrats in the midterm elections. But for Biden’s presidential bid, the group “took about $29,000 in donations from federal lobbyists and $5,000 from a PAC affiliated with Masimo, a medical device company,” The Intercept reported.

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This is nothing new for Biden, however. He has had a history of close relationships with lobbyists and special interests. “Lobbyists donated more than $200,000 to Biden’s 2008 presidential run. That year, William Oldaker — a political consultant and lawyer with whom Biden’s son, Hunter, once worked as a lobbyist — served as Biden’s legal adviser,” The Intercept reported.

For a while, Biden did shift away from lobbyists. This was when he was on the campaign trail with Obama. But once he was elected vice president, he continued his relationship with the swamp and hired Steve Ricchetti, his longtime adviser and former lobbyist, to be one of his top aides.

Lobbyists were also among those to host his first 2020 presidential bid fundraiser.

Biden announced his run at the Philadelphia home of David Cohen. Cohen is Comcast executive who oversees the telecom giant’s lobbying operation and in the past, he has made big donations to Republican candidates while advancing his company’s regulatory agenda.

Biden is not only candidate who promised to shun lobbyist money and still took donations in other ways; other Democratic candidates, such as Cory Booker and Kamala Harris made the same pledge as well — and they too found a way around their promise.

“Like other Democratic candidates, Biden is launching his presidential bid with a pledge to reject federal lobbyist cash. But the lobbyists attending his Thursday fundraiser are either unregistered or registered with state entities, not the federal system. As The Intercept previously reported, Democratic contenders Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker have all leveraged the same loophole to collect cash from corporate interests while pledging to eschew funding from federal lobbyists,” The Intercept reported.