Warren to shutter joint fundraising committee as she pursues 2020 run

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKamala Harris: Trump administration ‘targeting’ California for political purposes Harry Reid says he won’t make 2020 endorsement until after Nevada caucus Gillibrand to appear on Fox News Monday night MORE (D-Mass.) will shutter her joint fundraising committee as she explores a 2020 White House bid, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Democrat told CNBC.

The decision comes after Warren urged Democrats to reject campaign money from political action committees (PACs) and ultra-wealthy donors during an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday.

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“I think this is a moment for all of the Democratic nominees to come into the race to say ‘in a Democratic primary we are going to link arms and we’re going to say grassroots funding. No to the billionaires,” Warren said.

Kristen Orthman, a spokesperson for Warren, told CNBC that the senator’s team is “in process of winding down” Elizabeth Warren Action Fund. Orthman did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

Warren moved toward a White House run on Monday, announcing the formation of an exploratory committee and a trip to Iowa this weekend. The exploratory committee allows Warren to begin raising money ahead of what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary.

The announcement made her the highest-profile Democrat to date to enter the 2020 presidential contest.

A joint fundraising committee allows candidates to coordinate fundraising efforts with PACs,  party committees or other candidates. While individuals are still bound by contribution limits, joint fundraising committees allow donors to write a single large check.

Warren’s joint fundraising committee, Elizabeth Warren Action Fund, raised roughly $4.9 million during her 2018 Senate reelection bid, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Roughly $3.5 million of that haul was transferred to Warren’s official campaign committee.

Warren’s campaign finished up November with $12.5 million cash on hand, federal filings show.

 

In moving to close her joint fundraising committee, Warren risks limiting her access to high-dollar donors who can provide much-needed cash in a long and expensive presidential campaign.

But the move could also help her evade criticism, particularly from many on the left who have urged candidates to shun PAC money and high-dollar donations in favor of grassroots fundraising and small-dollar contributions.

Calls for candidates to steer away from PAC money and high-dollar donations have grown in recent years, and many candidates have leaned increasingly on small-dollar donations to power their campaigns.

What’s more, other potential contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, including Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersKamala Harris: Trump administration ‘targeting’ California for political purposes Harry Reid says he won’t make 2020 endorsement until after Nevada caucus Gillibrand to appear on Fox News Monday night MORE (I-Vt.) and outgoing Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), have touted their independence from PACs and corporate donors as a strength.  

Also in her interview with MSNBC, Warren said that billionaire presidential candidates should refrain from self-funding their campaigns, though she added that personal wealth should not preclude them from running.

At least two billionaires – Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer – are seen as potential contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

Bloomberg is reportedly prepared to spend at least $100 million of his own fortune on a presidential campaign should he decide to enter the race.

He spent as much on his successful 2009 bid for New York City mayor, and dropped more than $110 million to boost Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.