The funding is intended to help meet the bureaucratic handover costs, including the hundreds of aides already hired to staff the transition and the agencies review teams, which are a mix of paid staff and volunteers.
Half a dozen Democratic donors, coordinators, and others familiar with the transition’s fundraisers granted anonymity to speak openly about private meetings and described a noticeable shift in urgency in recent days, driven by the increasing likelihood of being president Donald Trump wouldn’t give up the money before leaving office in January, as well as the numerous crises the in-depth administration is facing.
“Their urgency has definitely increased and their main argument, their main concern for donors, is to make up for that.” [GSA] Deficiency, ”said a democratic coordinator.
Another person familiar with the transition’s fundraisers said the Biden team anticipated before the election that the Trump administration could hold up the release of federal funds if Biden wins.
“If he doesn’t give us the money the law requires, we will raise it,” the person said.
In an email to some of the donors received by POLITICO on Monday evening, Chris Korge, national finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, warned that the Biden team “still has not received the money we need to fully fund the Biden Harris transition Because President Trump Quit The GSA backed our transition efforts with more than $ 8 million in cash and in kind. ”
“In all honesty, this is just FALSE and the American people will be the big loser if we don’t do something about it right away,” Korge continued. “We need to collect the rest of the money we need before Thanksgiving so we can focus on the transition and not raise money for it.”
“The transition from Biden to Harris has been slated for all sorts of scenarios for months,” a transition official said in a statement. “While we wait for the GSA administrator to do the will and be an adequate steward of tax resources, we will implement contingency plans, including further raising private funding to support transition planning.”
The Trump administration has violated transitional norms in unprecedented ways, from failing to publicly allow the race to Biden to blocking federal agency staff from informing Biden campaign officials. This silence could extend into December, POLITICO has already reported, and hinders in-depth administration on several fronts.
It’s not clear how long the Trump administration will refuse to admit that Biden won the election and will delay the release of federal funds. The closest parallel is that the GSA refused to determine who won the 2000 election by December after the Florida recount.
Under the Presidential Transition Act, Trump does not necessarily have to release the money even if the electoral college meets when the GSA has not determined a winner. “If he doesn’t want the money running out and he doesn’t want the executive to work together, I think he can stop it,” said Paul Light, a public service professor at New York University who testified before the Congressional matter on the matter Year 2000 and asked the legislature to clarify the ambiguity in the law.
It is not yet clear whether the GSA, which has so far refused to initiate the transition process, can maintain its position, especially after the electoral college voters are selected and meet in mid-December to confirm the 2020 election results.
“On the way to certification, Biden is unlikely to have to take legal action to gain access to GSA funds because” I can’t see the administrator having a basis for it, “said Joe Sandler, former general Counsel to the Democratic National Committee, however, Sandler noted, “There is no legal precedent for this.”
The transition fundraising team also hosted several Zoom fundraisers this week with Korge, as well as Evan Ryan, a former assistant secretary of state during the Obama administration who led much of the transition fundraiser, and Marcus Switzer, a Democratic fundraiser who Help with fundraising during the transition was hired.
“[The transition] has undoubtedly stepped up their efforts to encourage fundraising for the transition because they have no choice, “said a Chicago-based Bundler. “While the federal government is not releasing the funds, there is now a whole new round of calls to donors.”
When the Biden team reaches their new fundraising goal, it will be one of the best funded transitional measures yet – at least when it comes to private donations. In 2016, Trump raised $ 6.5 million before assuming the presidency. Hillary Clinton, who would have been taken over by another Democrat, raised only $ 2.1 million. Mitt Romney raised $ 8.9 million in 2012, which was part of one of the best-organized transitional measures to date.
Biden’s transition team began fundraising in June as Biden officials anticipated a potentially difficult handover from the Trump administration. The Biden transition raised money discreetly during the campaign, with donors and Biden officials trying to avoid the appearance of presumption, but both parties typically raised private funds to supplement public funding earmarked for the changeover.