The 2020 Democratic presidential race has so far featured a common theme: candidates clamoring to demonstrate who will most fearlessly take on corporate America. Across the field, Democrats have staked out progressive – and at times startlingly new – positions on everything from instituting single-payer healthcare to reviving the Glass-Steagall Act, rejected corporate PAC money and refused to take lobbyist cash, all in a bid to prove their progressive bona fides.
“These numbers reveal a campaign powered by the people,” said a member of California Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign about her first 24-hour donation haul. “The system is being rigged by people with money and people with power,” said New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker as he pledged not to “take a dime from corporate PACs.” “I think it’s important for people to know my values are never for sale,” said New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
But even as these candidates vocally reject corporate America, their latest fundraising reports show corporate America hasn’t rejected them. In These Times examined the April 15 FEC filings of the leading Democratic candidates – Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – and analyzed the donations they received from employees of the six largest U.S. banks (J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) and the world’s six largest private equity firms (The Carlyle Group, Blackstone, KKR, Apollo Global Management, CVC Capital Partners and Warburg Pincus).