U.S. presidential candidate Buttigieg releases list of major fundraisers


(Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg released the names of his major fundraisers on Friday, bowing to growing pressure from rival Elizabeth Warren and U.S. journalists to be more transparent in his campaign.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg holds a town hall event in Creston, Iowa, U.S. November 25, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan/File Photo

The list of 113 people includes everyone who has raised at least $25,000 for his campaign as bundlers, a common fundraising practice in which typically wealthy supporters arrange for groups of individuals to all make large donations at once, often at a reception for the candidate.

Wall Street executives and prominent Democratic fundraisers are among those named, including the hedge fund manager Orin Kramer; Hamilton James, executive vice chairman of the private equity firm Blackstone; and Adam Bart, a partner at McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm where Buttigieg worked in his 20s.

Individuals can donate up to $2,800 to a campaign under current federal limits. Fundraisers who bundle many such contributions together can provide a major source of revenue for campaigns, often gaining access to the candidate in exchange.

Earlier this week in New York, Buttigieg began opening his fundraisers to press coverage for the first time.

As he has risen from his relatively obscure position as the mayor of the small city of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg has faced criticism from Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, to disclose more about his financial backers.

Warren and Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont also seeking the Democratic nomination, have shunned courting wealthy fundraisers, instead favoring grassroots campaign financing through small-dollar amounts sent in by hundreds of thousands of supporters.

Others, like former Vice President Joe Biden, still hold traditional big-money fundraisers, but allowed press access from the start, leaving Buttigieg facing prickly questions from reporters in recent weeks as to why he would not do the same.

His campaign touted Buttigieg’s transparency in a statement accompanying release of the list.

“He has made public 12 years of tax returns, he has held three multi-day bus tours with reporters that were completely on the record, and he has committed to restoring daily press briefings in the White House,” the statement said.

Buttigieg, 37, is the youngest of 15 candidates vying to be the Democrat who will take on President Donald Trump, a Republican, in the election next November. The state-by-state nominating contests begin in February with Iowa and then New Hampshire.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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