By Brian Schwartz
Joe Biden’s joint fundraising committees benefited from big money contributions from finance leaders on Wall Street and across the country during the third quarter.
Biden’s fundraising strength has grown as the election draws closer and his polling lead over President Donald Trump remains consistent. The Democratic nominee raised $383 million in September, with $203 million coming from small-dollar donors. Biden’s campaign had more than $400 million going into October. Democrats have largely crushed Republicans in fundraising over the past three months, mirroring the struggles they have in the polls.
The joint committees, which raise money for the Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties, are being fueled, at least in part, by Wall Street executives. Those committees accept six-figure contributions.
This surge of donations from people in the finance and investment industry comes even as Biden calls for raising taxes on those making over $400,000, as well as an increase in the corporate tax rate. It also comes as Biden faces pressure from progressive activists not to allow Wall Street leaders to join his Cabinet if he were to defeat Trump.
Tim Geithner, former Treasury secretary under President Barack Obama and current president of private equity firm Warburg Pincus, contributed $150,000 to the Biden Action Fund in August. Antonio Gracias, founder of Valor Equity Partners, and Jonathan Shulkin, a partner at the same firm, each shelled out more than $300,000 that same month to the committee.
John Doerr, chairman of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, gave over $355,000 to the Biden Action Fund last quarter. Stephen Mandel, founder of Connecticut-based hedge fund Lone Pine Capital, contributed more than $310,000. Pete Muller, founder of investment manager PDT Partners, gave the committee $360,000. Jonathan Soros, an investor and son of billionaire George Soros, gave just under $145,000.
Biden Action also saw large contributions from leaders at Blackstone, JPMorgan Chase, The Carlyle Group and Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, among other firms. The Biden Action Fund raised more than $4 million from those in the finance industry in the third quarter of 2020. The fund raised over $30 million overall last quarter.
People in the financial industry have largely favored Biden, spending more than $50 million to back his candidacy, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, compared with more than $10 million for Trump.
Several finance executives privately say that they’re tired of dealing with the impact of Trump’s tweets on their investments. They are starting to be convinced of a sweep by Democrats come Election Day.
Wall Street donors’ lack of enthusiasm for Trump comes even after the industry benefited from corporate and individual tax cuts passed during his administration.
Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the campaign and the Republican National Committee, saw very little from Wall Street executives during the third quarter.
Big contributions came from several Trump allies, including $765,000 from Geoff Palmer, owner of Los Angeles-based real estate company G.H. Palmer Associates. David Fischer, the president’s ambassador to Morocco, donated $250,000. Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, gave $315,000.
Several previous Trump allies and supporters – including billionaire and the president’s longtime friend Ronald Lauder, Silicon Valley executive and investor Peter Thiel, and conservative financier Robert Mercer – were notably absent, however. All three have noticeably scaled back their support for the president and many other leading Republicans.
Trump Victory ended up raising close to $120 million in the third quarter. The president’s other joint fundraising group, Trump Make America Great Again Committee, brought in $235 million.
Yet, Biden’s other joint fundraising committee, known as the Biden Victory Fund, raked in nearly $420 million over the same time period.