Biden Donors Also Gave to His Charity Ahead of 2020 Announcement

Joe Biden
Joe Biden / Getty Images
April 25, 2019

Prominent political donors to Joe Biden poured money into the nonprofit Biden Foundation as they waited for him to launch his presidential campaign, the Daily Beast reported on Thursday.

Biden launched his long-awaited campaign on Thursday and has said he will shut down the Biden Foundation as he campaigns. The foundation's annual report, however, shows it has been the recipient of money from the same group of donors that have propped up Biden’s American Possibilities PAC over the past two years.

Tim Gill, a well-known Colorado donor who is part of the influential Democracy Alliance donor club, has in the past year given both the maximum allowed contribution to Biden's PAC and over $1 million to Biden's foundation. Bernard Schwartz, another longtime financier on the left, also gave to both Biden's PAC and his foundation.

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Those donors are among the 10 who have contributed to both Biden’s PAC during the 2018 cycle and his charitable group last year. But there may be additional ones who aren’t yet public. A day before it was scheduled to file its first Federal Election Commission report of 2019, American Possibilities PAC changed its filing schedule. Now we won’t get a look at this year’s finances until July.

The overlap between political and charitable donors is common for politicians who run nonprofit groups on the side. And it’s natural that donors who support a politician’s work in government would also support it in other forums.

But it also underscores the inherent synergy between a politician’s electoral activities and those geared toward more apolitical general welfare. The Biden Foundation never engaged in any activity that could be considered overtly political. But any vehicle for keeping a public figure’s name in the news—and associated with positive charitable endeavors—is one that can only help that public figure’s political prospects.

Biden has urgently called on his backers to donate in his campaign's opening hours, stressing the importance of matching fundraising feats set by candidates already in the race such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).

Published under: 2020 Election , Joe Biden