Politics

Amy Klobuchar woos donors in the Bay Area

Senator hosted high-dollar fundraiser

In her first visit to California since announcing her presidential candidacy, Sen. Amy Klobuchar will host Tuesday night a high-dollar fundraiser in big tech's backyard.

At a cost of up to $5,600 a chair, the event is being held at the Spruce restaurant in the upscale neighborhood of Presidio Heights of in San Francisco, known for its caviar, beignets and burgers, according to Zagat. According to the invitation, first reported by Recode, donors who contribute $2,800 or $5,600 can enjoy a seated dinner and reception with the senator. Those who give $1,000 get to attend a reception. The restaurant confirmed the event was happening Tuesday night.

Klobuchar has made a name for herself in Washington for taking on Silicon Valley's giant tech companies. The Minnesota Democrat is now engaged in a delicate balancing act, as she courts San Francisco's prominent donor class to contribute to her campaign.

As a senator, she has become one of the harshest critics in Congress against Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon and others over issues of consumer privacy and tech accountability. She has grilled social media CEOs in congressional hearings, introduced get-tough legislation, and has made protecting online data a major platform in her presidential campaign.

Last week, before a live audience at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, she declared she "didn't trust" big tech.

But while Klobuchar has been a vocal critic of the big tech industry, she has also maintained her personal relationships with those at the center of the social media swirl. She has publicly spoken about how she has privately talked with her friend Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg about the same concerns she has tackled publicly.

According to the invitation, Tuesday night's fundraiser hosts include Minnesota native and CEO of the global hospitality company Carlson Diana Nelson; her husband, real estate investor John Atwater; Obama fundraiser and former ambassador to Sweden Azita Rajil; and tech company investor Tom McInerney.

While some of Klobuchar's Democratic competitors like Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont have sworn off big donor gifts and costly fundraising dinners, Klobuchar is taking a more hybrid approach. Klobuchar's campaign boasted that the senator raised $1 million in the first 48 hours after Klobuchar announced her presidential bid, and that 95% of that came from those who gave less than $100. Klobuchar also tweeted that she had donors from all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. Klobuchar herself has vowed not to take money from corporate PACS or federal lobbyists.

Klobuchar is competing to be among more than a dozen Democratic presidential contenders to qualify to participate in the first two televised primary Democratic debates. According to the Democratic National Committee, that will mean achieving at least 1% in a series of polls, and show an ability to raise money by receiving donations from 65,000 people in at least 20 different states. Klobuchar's campaign has yet to provide an updated fundraising figure, but, the hope is, certainly some of it will come from Silicon Valley.

The fundraiser will come after Klobuchar hosted a roundtable earlier in the day with local community and environmental leaders in San Francisco, during which they discussed "the effects of climate change in California," from wildfires to rising sea levels.


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