Elizabeth Warren told supporters on Monday that she won’t hold fundraising events that bring in large amounts of campaign contributions. She has heavily criticized the influence of corporations and wealthy individuals on government.
Fundraising events with high ticket prices are a traditional way to raise the campaign contributions that have become increasingly necessary in presidential races. Warren had already promised to refuse money from lobbyists or corporate political action committees, Reuters reported.
In an email to supporters, the Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts senator wrote that “this decision will ensure that I will be outraised by other candidates in this race.”
“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,” she further wrote.
Her campaign will focus on online contributions and small donations from grassroots supporters.
Under current federal rules, people are limited to donations of $2,800 per candidate for primaries and then another $2,800 for a party’s nominee. Individuals can donate to more than one primary candidate.
Running only on smaller donations is virtually unheard of. Even candidates with reputations for strong grassroots support typically take larger sums as well. For example, the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign raised nearly $228.2 million. Of that, 57.7% came from donations of under $200, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But 41.6% was from large individual contributions, although his only PAC contribution was $5,621.
Former President Barack Obama also had a reputation for strong grassroots fundraising, especially online. In the 2012 contribution, 75% of the money he raised was from individual contributors, with 32% from small contributors, and 44% from large ones, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
For her 2018 Senate re-election campaign, Warren did take $351,172 in PAC money, with $161,775 from labor organizations and $176,897 from ideological and single-issue groups. Contributions from such sources wouldn’t be considered corporate PAC money, so she still could accept those funds without breaking her promise.