Major donors to President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign are being asked this week to contribute to his transition effort, as the Trump administration has refused to turn over millions in federal funding.
The Biden-Harris transition is holding a Zoom event for donors on Thursday with Evan Ryan, a Biden adviser and former assistant secretary of state. Donors are being asked to contribute $5,000, the legal maximum.
Chris Korge, national finance chair for the Democratic National Committee, and Heather Murren, finance chair of the Biden campaign, sent an email on Monday to donors thanking them for their help in getting Biden elected.
“Unfortunately what we have seen from President Trump since he clearly and undisputably lost his bid for reelection as President of the United States is nothing less than total obstruction,” they wrote. “He has refused to accept defeat like Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kerry, Al Gore and every other person who has lost the race for president in our lifetime. To make matters worse the Trump administration has also refused to date to give the Biden Harris Transition Team the federal dollars that are supposed to be given for the transition. Quite frankly this is just flat out WRONG and the American people will be the big losers if we don’t immediately step up and do something about it!”
The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the General Services Administration had refused to acknowledge that Biden is the “apparent winner” of the election, which would trigger the release of $9.9 million to fund the transition.
Biden said on Tuesday that the work of the transition would not be impeded.
“We can get through without the funding,” he said. “We don’t see anything that’s slowing us down, quite frankly.”
The Biden transition on Tuesday released a list of personnel on various agency review teams, the vast majority of whom are volunteering their time. A handful, however, are being paid through PT Fund, Inc., the 501(c)(4) that collects private donations. The Biden team has been raising funds for the committee since early in the summer, but the message on Monday took on a tone of heightened urgency.
“Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and small businesses are going under and all President Trump cares about is himself!” Korge and Murren wrote. “The crises facing our country are severe from climate change to racial injustice. We have to step up NOW and give and raise the funding we need to have the necessary funds to make sure that the Biden Harris Transition Team has the money it needs to stay on track to be ready on Inauguration Day January 20, 2021. All Americans are counting on us and we can’t let them down!”
Citing the $5,000 limit, they asked donors to help raise money from their family and friends as well.
“The resources we raise during this short period of time before inauguration will significantly impact our ability to plan for the first 100 days of a Biden-Harris administration and ensure we can staff up and get to work for the American people on Day One,” they wrote. “Because of the $5000 limit we need EVERYONE to focus on raising this money now.”
The transition team has said it will release names of donors after Dec. 1. The committee does not accept contributions from political action committees, corporations, lobbyists, unions, fossil fuel executives, registered foreign agents or foreign nationals.