A fundraiser for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign appeared to offer a wealthy donor influence in exchange for cash, Axios reports.
The email was sent by H.K. Park, who is listed as a top bundler for the Buttigieg campaign among those who have raised $25,000 or more for his campaign.
Park made the pitch to a wealthy donor whose name was not disclosed.
"If you want to get on the campaign's radar now before he is flooded with donations after winning Iowa and New Hampshire, you can use the link below for donations," Park said in the email.
Campaign accused of offering pay-to-play:
Brendan Fisher of the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center said the email is an “example of a campaign offering potential donors an opportunity to buy influence."
"It's rare that the public has an opportunity to see it in writing," Fischer said, "but this is not the only campaign that's offering big donors the opportunity to get on the radar of the candidate in exchange for large contributions."
Donor was alarmed too:
The donor, whose name was withheld, told Axios that he was disturbed by the email.
"It's very telling and concerning that one of the campaign's major bundlers would talk like that," the donor said. “What would this suggest about the way he's going to interact with Silicon Valley if the implication is pay-for-play? If that's the way he's operating, it's in the public interest for people to know what's being said."
The Buttigieg campaign said it was unaware of the email and said it was “ridiculous to interpret it as anything more than asking potential supporters who may be interested in Pete to join our campaign before caucusing and voting begins."