Elizabeth Warren attacks Joe Biden for fundraising from same donors she courted in 2018

Chris Riotta

Elizabeth Warren has criticised Joe Biden for hosting “fancy private fundraising events” and courting “big donors” — despite meeting with many of the same top Democratic fundraisers throughout her 2018 re-election campaign.

The 2020 hopeful has pointed to Mr Biden’s private fundraising events as an apparent difference between her campaign and that of the former vice president, who maintains a frontrunner status in the ever-growing pool of Democratic presidential candidates.

“Our democracy is not for sale, and neither is my time,” Ms Warren wrote to her supporters in an email requesting donations. Other messages have lambasted Mr Biden for hosting “fancy private fundraising events where only big donors are invited” and noting he attended “a swanky private fund-raiser for wealthy donors at the home of the guy who runs Comcast’s lobbying shop.”

While the Massachusetts senator may be avoiding private fundraising events as she attempts to portray herself as a grassroots option to Mr Biden’s candidacy, Ms Warren received top-dollar donations from wealthy donors at events benefiting her 2018 re-election campaign.

Several of those donors are the same people Ms Warren has singled out Mr Biden for courting just a year later, with one going on-record to describe the senator’s attacks against her opponent as “preposterous.”

“I was pleased to support Senator Warren, I think she’s a terrific senator, but I think it makes no sense for her to criticise Biden for taking checks at the maximum allowed,” Kenneth Jarin, a law professor who hosted one of Mr Biden’s recent events, told Philadelphia's The Inquirer. “I know that she took lots and lots of $2,700 (£2,076) checks raising money for her Senate campaigns.”

The Inquirer first reported the similarities between Ms Warren’s 2018 campaign fundraising efforts and that of Mr Biden’s 2020 campaign.

The newspaper noted two additional hosts of recent fundraising events for the vice president, former Governor Ed Rendell and attorney Stephen Cozen, had also hosted a similar event for Ms Warren in March 2018.

Each host contributed thousands of dollars to Ms Warren’s Senate campaign.

Mr Jarin said the senator accepted major fundraising dollars at a 2017 event held at the Rittenhouse Hotel by a top political donor, Peter Buttenwieser.

She’s also transferred the remaining dollars from her Senate campaign account to that of her presidential bid, adding over $10m (£7.7m) to her coffers.

Alan Kessler, an attorney who has attended both politician’s fundraising events in the past, told the Inquirer, “Anybody that’s criticising the Biden-type fund-raiser wouldn’t turn down one if they were offered.”

In response to the newspaper’s report, Ms Warren’s campaign spokesperson Chris Hayden said the senator has “decided not to do any closed-door events with wealthy donors because special access for the wealthy and well-connected should not be how we choose the Democratic nominee for president.”

“She believes that this primary is an opportunity to build the kind of grassroots movement that will win the general election and bring real structural change to our government,” he added.