Biden Restores Deleted Donor List After Criticism

President-elect expected to announce key ambassadorships in coming weeks

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January 13, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden restored a page on his website that lists top campaign bundlers following criticism from conservative groups, only for the website to crash on Wednesday afternoon.

Biden recently pulled a list of individuals who raised at least $100,000 for his campaign from his site, with the URL showing an error message and prompting users to purchase Biden-branded merchandise as of Tuesday afternoon. After conservative groups such as America Rising criticized the decision, however, the list was restored, again disclosing the more than 800 individuals who raised six figures for the Democrat's presidential bid. The website briefly crashed Wednesday as the Biden team scrambled to update the list.

The move comes as Biden is expected to announce key ambassador picks in the near future. Top bundlers nominated for ambassadorships could face scrutiny in the Senate—while such positions have historically been awarded to high-dollar donors, progressive Democrats have condemned the practice in recent years.

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) promised not to give ambassadorships to wealthy donors during the Democratic presidential primary, with Warren calling the routine "Washington corruption at its worst" and asking "every candidate" in the race to take the same pledge. Biden stopped short of accepting Warren's challenge but claimed that his nominees would be the "best people" for the job regardless of their financial support.

"Nobody, in fact, will be appointed by me based on anything they contributed," Biden said in December 2019.

Biden has already awarded White House positions to a number of top campaign bundlers, including labor secretary nominee Marty Walsh, Health and Human Services secretary nominee Xavier Becerra, and secretary of the interior nominee Rep. Deb Haaland (D., N.M.), all of whom raised at least $100,000 for Biden's campaign. Multiple individuals rumored to be favorites for ambassadorships in the Biden administration—such as former congressman Steve Israel, Disney executive Bob Iger, and Miami real estate developer Michael Adler—also funneled six figures to the Delaware Democrat's campaign.

The Biden transition team did not respond to a request for comment on the decision to remove and later restore the bundler list, which can be viewed here.