Just as images emerged of 2020 Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg dining with wealthy donors at a high-dollar weekend fundraiser, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday delivered a fresh indictment of a “rotten” system in which the wealthy back candidates in order to buy access and influence.
Sanders, in comments to CBS News, took a critical view of the super-rich donating large sums to political campaigns.
“Why would many, many billionaires be contributing to candidates if they didn’t think they were getting something out of it?” said Sanders. “They’re not doing it through the goodness of their hearts.”
Buttigieg, whose campaign had already by 2019’s third quarter attracted the support of 39 billionaires, came under fire from progressives on social media after pictures surfaced from a fundraiser on Sunday in Napa, California’s Hall Rutherford wine caves which appeared to show the mayor dining with elites.
The Associated Press described the scene of the dinner in an article Friday:
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“Looks like a really good Black Mirror episode about the luxurious life in a billionaire’s bunker as a climate apocalypse unfolds up on the surface,” said Sanders speechwriter David Sirota.
According to Recode, a separate Buttigieg fundraiser on Monday was expected to be attended by a who’s-who of Silicon Valley’s powerful:
On Saturday, Buttigieg faced tough questions from labor reporter Mike Elk, who asked the mayor to disavow Monday fundraiser host Hastings over the CEO’s support for charter schools. Buttigieg declined to do so, claiming that his positions would not be affected by big money.
In his comments to CBS News, Sanders expressed doubt that billionaire donors get nothing for their cash.
“I think what history tells us is that the big donors, the people who make large contributions, do get access,” said Sanders. “They get tax breaks, they get deregulated. That’s the way the unfortunate system is working.”