The Democratic National Committee is calling in its top money man to squeeze Silicon Valley, despite calls from several candidates to crack down on Big Tech.
Former president Obama is heading to California to headline a fundraiser in the Bay Area in Nov. 21 and tickets are going for between $10,000 and $355,000, depending on level of access, The Mercury News reports.
In other words, Obama and other Democrat big wigs are meeting with tech billionaires to plot a campaign about “kitchen table issues” over a lunch that costs more than most Americans can afford to spend on a car, or house.
“Since President Trump’s election, the DNC has struggled to keep up with its Republican counterpart, which has been boosted by an active digital fundraising effort coordinated with the president’s reelection campaign,” according to the news site.
“The Democratic committee is also millions of dollars in debt, which could hinder its work supporting the Democratic presidential nominee and the party’s other candidates in 2020.”
Earlier this year, Obama announced “The Democratic Unity Fund” – a DNC effort he said is “dedicated to electing our party’s eventual presidential nominee and sinning up and down with ballot in 2020.”
“The Democratic Unity Fund is a promise that whoever earns our nomination, he or she will have a strong, united, and well-organized DNC ready to spring into action the moment the general election starts – a DNC that’s ready to lift us all to victory in November,” Obama said, according to CNN.
It’s unclear what, exactly, tech billionaires are promised for their contributions, but it’s clear they’ll play a critical role is bankrolling the DNC. Chairman Tom Perez will join Obama in Los Altos Hills for the fundraiser, which will be hosted by Karla Jurvetson, an ex-wife of a venture capitalist who donated nearly $7 million during the last election cycle, according to Recode.
“Donors can get in the doors for $10,000 – but to even snap a photo with Obama they’ll have to pony up $35,500,” the News reports. “The eye-popping top ticket price ($355,000) will get attendees access to a VIP reception and a premium attendance package for the party’s national convention next year.”
The big ask in Silicon Valley makes sense as Obama enjoyed strong support from Big Tech through both of his campaigns, a relationship he’s parlayed into a multi-million dollar partnership with Netflix.
But it’s not 2012 anymore, and accepting money from billionaires isn’t as cool as it used to be.
Some Democrats running for president are now openly hostile to Big Tech, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders swearing off donations from the same executives the DNC is hoping with show up in Los Altos Hills. Warren is relentless in her insistence “It’s time to break up Amazon, Google and Facebook.”
“Other aspirants, such as (openly gay South Bend, Indiana Mayor) Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker, have waged more traditional campaigns, visiting the Bay Area almost monthly to collect big-dollar checks. That tech money, though, could eventually become a political liability,” Recode reports.
The fundraiser also comes as the party’s frontrunner, former vice president Joe Biden, reverses course on a pledge not to accept campaign contributions from billionaires and SuperPACs. Biden backed off that promise last month when he was outpaced by Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg, then launched a round of private fundraisers with the ultra-wealthy and well-connected.
On Wednesday, nearly three dozen former Obama administration officials are expected to attend a fundraiser for Biden at the home of former National Economic Council director Jeff Zients, where tickets will range from $1,000 to $2,800, the maximum donation for the primary, Politico reports.