Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at a campaign rally at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, September 25, 2019.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., took another stance against Big Tech and Wall Street firms on Tuesday by pledging to turn down large contributions from their executives.
Warren announced on her campaign website that she will decline contributions over $200 from executives at Big Tech companies, large banks, private equity firms or hedge funds. After previously pledging not to take large contributions from pharmaceutical executives, Warren’s announcement on Tuesday expanded the umbrella of forbidden donors.
Some Democratic donors in those sectors have already expressed reluctance to side with the Massachusetts progressive.
“You’re in a box because you’re a Democrat and you’re thinking, ‘I want to help the party, but she’s going to hurt me, so I’m going to help President Trump,'” a senior private equity executive recently told CNBC on the condition of anonymity.
Warren has doubled down on her attacks on the tech and banking industries in recent weeks, claiming their executives wield a disproportionate amount of power on politics and elections. Warren has been campaigning on her plan to “break up Big Tech” since March and has long been an outspoken critic of the finance industry.
Warren has capitalized on the fear she’s stirred in executives at tech and banking firms over her campaign. After CNBC reported that Democratic donors on Wall Street are privately warning they may sit out or even back President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign should she be the nominee, Warren tweeted that she “won’t back down from fighting for the big, structural change we need.”
After a recording of a private staff meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaked calling her potential presidency an “existential” threat to the business, Warren used it in her ads encouraging supporters to donate to her campaign. This week, she escalated her fight with the company over its new policy that states ads placed by politicians will not be fact checked by deliberately running a false ad of her own.
Warren’s attacks on Big Tech have not kept some pockets of Silicon Valley from supporting her. Several Democratic donors in the region recently told CNBC they are now planning to support her campaign despite her unambiguous jabs at the tech industry.
“I think people are begrudgingly coming around to admit that she’s the best answer, because Bernie [Sanders] is crazy,” a California-based money manager recently told CNBC on the condition of anonymity. “The guy they thought they were going to get in Joe Biden is looking like an old man, and I think they are looking around and wondering who else is there.”
-CNBC’s Brian Schwartz contributed to this report.