Joe Biden's campaign has completed a tech fundraiser hosted by a number of prominent Big Tech critics including Senator Elizabeth Warren. The event is the latest hint at the challenge of figuring out how a Biden government would run the tech industry, suggesting these critics would at least have a connection to his White House.
Warren and half a dozen other big names will host an event on October 27th on "Promoting Innovation, Competition and Wealth in America's Technology Sector," according to a copy of the invitation received from Recode. The event is one of the closest ties between the Democratic Party's most pro-government voices and the Democratic candidate who has not publicly stated his precise positions on technical regulation.
Biden Victory Fund
Speakers at the event include David Cicilline, the member of Congress who just led the Congressional investigation into big tech companies; Tish James, New York attorney general who leads the state's investigation; and leading proponents of a technical separation like early Facebook investor Roger McNamee and influential Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu. And Warren, who made big tech a cornerstone of her presidential campaign.
Biden, who will not be there, does not necessarily endorse every position that speakers take on his behalf at fundraising drives. But presidential campaigns screen and debate potential fundraiser hosts – and in this case, not just one or two hosts have a personal, private opinion on the topic of conversation and happen to be organizing a larger pro-biden event. Here the Biden campaign is blessing an entire event organized from one point of view – that the tech giants are too menacing and stifling competition – and includes a roster of the most famous executives on the subject.
The Biden campaign did not return any requests for comment.
One reason that's particularly illuminating is that Biden has proven elusive on technical issues. Activists on the left are hoping he will rule in a less tech-friendly way than Barack Obama. Although Biden has made critical comments scattered across Facebook in particular, he has not made tech regulation a campaign priority and both activists and tech companies themselves have largely speculated about what a Biden administration would mean for them.
Another interpretation of this, however, is that Biden is malleable on this issue – and therefore can be influenced by political assets like campaign fundraising. One goal of the October 27 event, hosted by Warren and others, could be to raise a huge amount and show Biden that there is money to be made – and that there are general political benefits – by getting involved with the Tech breakup crowd allied. Tickets cost between $ 250 and $ 100,000.
Because Biden knows for sure that there is a lot of money on the other side of the problem. Some Biden supporters who are critical of Big Tech are concerned about Biden's ties to tech elites, such as former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. And as a sign of how enigmatic Biden has proven to be in regulating technology, Biden's campaign also ran tech-driven fundraisers with Schmidt, a leading voice against the breakup of companies like his former employer.
All in all, the question these fundraisers ask is, who will have more leverage over Joe Biden's administration when it comes to big tech: Eric Schmidt or Elizabeth Warren?
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