Former Vice President Joe Biden is officially running for the Democratic presidential nomination, but his first official fundraiser is being co-hosted by people diametrically opposed to the party’s working-class coalition.
According to Politico reporter Holly Otterbein, the first official fundraiser of Biden’s 2020 campaign is being co-hosted by Steve Cozen, David L. Cohen, and Dan Hilferty, among several Democratic members of the House and Senate. Donors are being asked to give the maximum allowable contribution of $2,800.
While those names are likely unknown to the Democratic Party’s rank-and-file voters, activists in the labor, net neutrality, and healthcare fronts know them well.
Here’s the invitation for Joe Biden’s fundraiser tomorrow night in Philadelphia. Of note: @SenBobCasey and six Democratic members of the Pennsylvania House delegation are expected to join. pic.twitter.com/XeDlJibS61
— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) April 25, 2019
As Mike Elk of the Payday Report wrote Wednesday, Cozen is best known for his work as partner at Cozen O’Connor — a law firm dedicated to helping their public sector and corporate clients bust their workers’ attempts to unionize, including locking out unionized workers. This is particularly ironic, as Biden will be going from the fundraiser to a campaign event at a Teamsters union hall.
“Cozen O’Connor’s traditional labor attorneys demonstrate a real commitment to understanding and supporting their clients’ business goals. We think not only about the technical legal matters, but also about how labor issues connect in a practical sense to business operations and strategy,” the Cozen O’Connor website reads. “Our attorneys manage labor relations with a clear eye toward the bottom line.”
In addition to Cozen, the Biden fundraiser will be co-hosted by David L. Cohen, one of the major Democratic power-brokers in Pennsylvania, who is also a senior executive at Comcast. The Young Turks reported in 2017 that Comcast spent approximately $4 million lobbying against net neutrality (the term used for keeping the internet free of corporate control) between 2014 and 2017. Biden has been a skeptic of net neutrality dating back to 2006, according to campaign finance news site Sludge.
Hilferty’s name on the Biden fundraiser invitation comes at a time while support for Medicare for All has become a litmus test for Democratic presidential candidates. As CEO of Independence Health Group (parent company of Independence Blue Cross), Hilferty was paid $4.8 million in 2017, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Should Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vermont) Medicare for All bill pass, it would eliminate private, for-profit health insurers, meaning Hilferty has a vested interest in making sure the bill is defeated. Biden, for his part, has only said that he wants Americans to have “peace of mind of health insurance.”
Here's the very brief health care section on Biden's website at launch. I guess a nod at pursuing universal coverage/access but does not feel like he's going to be a Medicare-for-all guy. pic.twitter.com/hJEkMmP3AD
— Max Nisen (@MaxNisen) April 25, 2019
According to the latest polls, Biden and Sanders are neck-and-neck for first place, leading the rest of the crowded 2020 Democratic primary field.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.