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Buttigieg's bundlers include Blackstone vice chair, tech chiefs

Bill Allison, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Pete Buttigieg's campaign on Friday released the names of nearly 150 people who raised at least $25,000 for his presidential bid, including Blackstone Group Vice Chairman Tony James and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Swati Mylavarapu.

The disclosure of the names of the so-called bundlers -- supporters who collect campaign contributions from multiple donors -- comes in response to rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has criticized Buttigieg for what she says is a lack of transparency.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has brought in $51.5 million so far, putting him in third place among Democratic presidential candidates in fundraising behind Bernie Sanders and Warren, both of whom have sworn off holding big-dollar fundraisers behind closed doors.

Buttigieg has been climbing in the polls and leads in many Iowa surveys. He has held several high-dollar fundraisers with Wall Street and Silicon Valley donors, and said Monday that he would open those events to the media. Former Vice President Joe Biden allows reporters into his fundraisers but has yet to release the names of his bundlers.

Some of the names on the list, including James', are likely to spark criticism. The Sanders campaign attacked Blackstone in a September email to supporters that said the firm "fuels a housing crisis." James, a billionaire and a longtime Democratic donor, wasn't mentioned in the release, but Chairman Stephen Schwarzman, a Trump donor, was.

Other financial industry bundlers include Deven Parekh of Insight Partners, Matthew Granade of Point72 Asset Management LP, and William Susman of Threadstone Advisors.

 

Several top fundraisers who aided former President Barack Obama's campaigns appear on the list, including David Jacobson, who served as ambassador to Canada, and Tod Sedgwick, a former ambassador to the Slovak Republic. Warren pledged that she would not appoint big donors to head embassies.

Mylavarapu, a former partner at the private equity company Kleiner Perkins who co-founded the Arena accelerator program, serves as Buttigieg's finance chair. Jacob Helberg, who leads news policy for Google products also raised money for Buttigieg.

The list of bundlers also includes some longtime Democratic fundraisers, including Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, Esprit co-founder Susie Tompkins Buell, who has raised money for the Democratic National Committee and several presidential candidates, and Agnes Gund, a New York philanthropist. Justin Rockefeller, a son of former West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller and a descendant of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller, also appeared on the list.

Beyer, who was raising money for Democratic candidates before his election in 2014, was the first member of Congress to endorse Buttigieg.

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