Donor Helped Warren Pay for Access to DNC Voter File

Warren will appear at DNC fundraiser in San Francisco, where $10,000 grants attendance at private reception

Sen. Elizabeth Warren / Getty Images

A multi-million-dollar Democratic donor helped Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) pay for access to the Democratic National Committee voter base in April.

Silicon Valley physician Karla Jurvetson gave $100,000 to the DNC to help Warren's campaign cover the $175,000 cost for the crucial voter file, BuzzFeed News reported. The DNC allows campaigns to access the file by either paying the money directly, or, in the case of Warren, having the money raised to the DNC via a donor.

The Warren campaign pledged in February not to give outsized access to big donors and hold "fancy receptions and big money fundraisers," but her team told BuzzFeed she hadn't broken any promises:

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Warren officials say she did not violate that pledge when her campaign turned to one of California's top Democratic donors, a wealthy Silicon Valley physician named Karla Jurvetson, to help pay for access to a crucial voter database earlier this spring.

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Jurvetson, who contributed about $7 million to Democratic causes during the 2018 election, gave a total of $100,000 to the DNC in April 2019, Federal Election Commission filings show. The donations, according to two Democratic operatives with knowledge of the agreement, helped Warren pay for the voter file.

In a statement, a Warren campaign official said that the candidate herself did not make any calls to Jurvetson in order to facilitate the contribution, nor did the campaign solicit the money at a fundraising event. The official said Warren has remained consistent with the standard she set earlier this year in her pledge: not trading access for money.

Although Warren said she would not hold big fundraisers, she is required now to appear "once every three months at DNC fundraisers, send quarterly fundraising emails on behalf of the DNC, and record promotional videos for DNC use," according to BuzzFeed. She'll have to appear at a San Francisco fundraiser next month, where donors can pay $10,000 to attend a private cocktail and dinner reception.

The Warren campaign didn't respond to a request for comment about how it reached out to Jurvetson to get the six-figure donation.

The April donation on Warren's behalf came on the heels of a disappointing first-quarter fundraising haul of $6 million. However, she raised $19.1 million in the second quarter and has established herself in the top tier of the crowded 2020 field.

Warren established a populist tone for her campaign with a pledge, writing in February, "We're going to take the time presidential candidates typically reserve for courting wealthy donors and instead, use it to build organizing event after organizing event in the early primary states and across the country."