Hillary Clinton Goes Back to Well, Hits Up Financial Industry for Fundraisers

Clinton attends morning fundraiser at BlackRock for first Wall Street fundraiser of day

Hillary Clinton / AP
February 16, 2016

Hillary Clinton will attend a pair of fundraisers hosted by members of the financial industry on Tuesday despite criticism that her campaign is in the pocket of Wall Street.

Clinton met with Rev. Al Sharpton and other members of the civil rights movement on Tuesday morning, but that was not the only reason she traveled to New York City. She is also scheduled to attend a fundraiser at the house of Matt Mallow, who is senior managing director of BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Following her stop with Mallow, she will head south to McLean, Virginia, for a fundraiser at the home of Beatrice and Anthony Welters, the executive chairman of the BlackIvy Group, an investment firm founded by long-time Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, who is also listed as a co-host for the event.

That event will also be co-hosted by Deborah Harmon, the chief executive officer of Artemis Real Estate Partners, a real estate investment firm that she founded with Penny Pritzker, the long-time Democratic donor who currently serves as secretary of commerce.

The fundraiser with Mallow was originally scheduled for late January just before the Iowa caucuses but was pushed back so Clinton could spend more time in the state and take ammunition away from a Bernie Sanders' campaign, which has made Clinton's ties to Wall Street its main attack.

Clinton's ties with the Blackrock executive were formed long before the announcement of this fundraiser. Mallow and his wife Ellen Chesler have long been financial supporters of Clinton; they donated to her campaign for U.S. Senate and were both bundlers for her failed presidential campaign in 2008.

The two were also hosted as overnight guests at either the White House or Camp David during the final year of Bill Clinton's presidency, as was customary for many donors to Hillary Clinton's 2000 campaign for Senate.

At the time, Clinton defended the practice of using visits to the White House to reward donors to her campaign. "We have friends and supporters come and spend time with us and spend the night with us, that we are getting to know and who like spending time with us," she said in September 2000, just before the election. "I don’t see what’s news about that."

BlackRock, which controlled $4.6 trillion worth of assets as of the end of last year, has ties to the Clintons that extend beyond Mallow. The firm's founder Larry Fink has signaled his belief that a Clinton victory in 2016 could put him on the receiving end of a presidential appointment to become treasury secretary, according to a report from Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business.

It took less than a year for BlackRock to appoint Cheryl Mills, who was Clinton's chief of staff at the State Department and is one of her most trusted aides, to its board of directors after Clinton left the Obama administration.

Although Mills won't be attending the BlackRock fundraiser, she will be waiting in Virginia for the "Evening with Hillary" event hosted by Anthony Welters, an executive at the BlackIvy hedge fund she founded that focuses on investments in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Welters, who was a senior executive at UnitedHealth Group before he joined BlackIvy, and his wife Beatrice are also longtime Democratic donors but chose to support Barack Obama over Clinton in 2008. They bundled up to $500,000 for his campaign and an additional $100,000 to his Presidential Inaugural Committee.

The donations paid off—Obama appointed Beatrice Welters the ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago and put Anthony Welters on the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where he serves as chairman of its finance committee.

The Welters appear to have made efforts to keep a relationship with the Clintons despite their support for Obama. They made their first contributions, each worth $2,300, to Clinton in January 2009, after Obama had already been elected president.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday's fundraisers. The Clinton campaign has had at least 30 other fundraisers hosted by individuals in the financial industry, but maintains that Clinton is "not in the pocket of anyone."