Buttigieg's bundlers include Blackstone vice chair, tech chiefsDecember 14, 2019 5:16am

Dec. 13-- WASHINGTON-Pete Buttigieg's campaign on Friday released the names of nearly 150 people who raised at least $25,000 for his presidential bid, including Blackstone Group Vice Chairman Tony James and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Swati Mylavarapu.

The disclosure of the names of the so-called bundlers-supporters who collect campaign contributions from multiple donors-comes in response to rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has criticized Buttigieg for what she says is a lack of transparency.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has brought in $51.5 million so far, putting him in third place among Democratic presidential candidates in fundraising behind Bernie Sanders and Warren, both of whom have sworn off holding big-dollar fundraisers behind closed doors.

Buttigieg has been climbing in the polls and leads in many Iowa surveys. He has held several high-dollar fundraisers with Wall Street and Silicon Valley donors, and said Monday that he would open those events to the media. Former Vice President Joe Biden allows reporters into his fundraisers but has yet to release the names of his bundlers.

Some of the names on the list, including James', are likely to spark criticism. The Sanders campaign attacked Blackstone in a September email to supporters that said the firm "fuels a housing crisis." James, a billionaire and a longtime Democratic donor, wasn't mentioned in the release, but Chairman Stephen Schwarzman, a Trump donor, was.

Other financial industry bundlers include Deven Parekh of Insight Partners, Matthew Granade of Point72 Asset Management LP, and William Susman of Threadstone Advisors.

Several top fundraisers who aided former President Barack Obama's campaigns appear on the list, including David Jacobson, who served as ambassador to Canada, and Tod Sedgwick, a former ambassador to the Slovak Republic. Warren pledged that she would not appoint big donors to head embassies.

Mylavarapu, a former partner at the private equity company Kleiner Perkins who co-founded the Arena accelerator program, serves as Buttigieg's finance chair. Jacob Helberg, who leads news policy for Google products also raised money for Buttigieg.

The list of bundlers also includes some longtime Democratic fundraisers, including Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, Esprit co-founder Susie Tompkins Buell, who has raised money for the Democratic National Committee and several presidential candidates, and Agnes Gund, a New York philanthropist. Justin Rockefeller, a son of former West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller and a descendant of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller, also appeared on the list.

Beyer, who was raising money for Democratic candidates before his election in 2014, was the first member of Congress to endorse Buttigieg.

The list released by the campaign gives the name and city and state of each of the fundraising hosts. New York is home to 30 of his bundlers, while 12 are in Los Angeles and nine in San Francisco.

Alone among the major candidates, Buttigieg released a list of campaign bundlers in the first quarter, listing 32 people. The names included hedge-fund manager Orin Kramer, who raised more than $500,000 for Obama's 2008 campaign, and Steve Elmendorf, a lobbyist who represents Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Facebook Inc.

Buttigieg discontinued the practice after the initial release just as his fundraising took off: He raised $24.9 million in the second quarter, the most of any Democratic contender.

In April, Buttigieg's campaign announced it would no longer accept money from registered lobbyists or allow them to raise money for him. It also said it would not accept money from corporate political action committees. His campaign refunded $30,250 it had received from lobbyists up to that point, including $2,800 given by Elmendorf.

Warren launched a thinly veiled attack on Buttigieg in a speech on Thursday, describing a candidate who "calls the people who raise a quarter-million dollars for him his 'National Investors Circle' and he offers them regular phone calls and special access. When a candidate brags about how beholden he feels to a group of wealthy investors, our democracy is in serious trouble."

Warren had also criticized Buttigieg for withholding the names of the clients he worked for as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. from 2007 to 2010, before he entered politics. They have been trading jabs over their experience working in the private sector. Earlier this week, Buttigieg made public his client list after McKinsey released him for a nondisclosure agreement.

Buttigieg has assailed Warren for failing to release her tax returns covering the years she did work as a bankruptcy lawyer.

On Sunday, Warren disclosed that she had made $1.9 million from that work. She had previously released the names of the clients and cases she took on during her tenure as a professor at Harvard and other law schools, as well as 11 years of tax returns, back to 2008. The documents released Sunday cover her compensation between 1985 and 2009, but don't include tax returns.

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(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

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