Joe Biden questioned about fundraiser’s fossil fuel ties
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden and his campaign pushed back against the suggestion at a CNN climate change forum Wednesday that he’s breaking a pledge to reject campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry with his plans to participate in a fundraiser hosted by the co-founder of a Houston-based natural gas producer.
Biden is set to attend a fundraiser in New York Thursday hosted by Andrew Goldman, who helped co-found the company Western LNG.
Goldman, who previously worked a senior adviser to Biden while he served in the Senate, was an original investor in Western LNG, according to the Biden campaign. But Goldman currently works as managing director for New York-based investment firm Hildred Capital Partners.
The issue arose after Biden was questioned at a CNN climate town hall Wednesday by an audience member about Goldman.
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“I know that you signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, but I have to ask: How can we trust you to hold these corporations and executive accountable for their crimes against humanity, when we know tomorrow, you are holding a high dollar fundraiser hosted by Andrew Goldman, a fossil fuel executive?” said Isaac Larkin, who CNN identified as a backer of Biden rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“He’s not a fossil fuel executive,” Biden responded.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who was moderating Biden’s segment, noted following Larkin’s question that Western LNG’s biggest project is a floating facility for natural gas off the northern coast of British Columbia designed to provide Canadian gas to markets in northeast Asia. Cooper, near the end of the question-and-answer session, clarified that Goldman had no day-to-day involvement in Western LNG.
Biden followed by saying he “didn’t realize he does that” regarding Goldman’s role in the fossil fuel company.
“If you look at the SEC filings, he’s not listed as one of those executives.” Biden added. “I’ve kept that pledge. Period.”
Biden was a signer of the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge. He was one of at least 18 candidates to pledge not to take campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.
Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden, tweeted that Goldman is “not involved in the day to day operation. He’s not on the board of the company (Western LNG), nor the board of the portfolio company.”
A July 2018 filing with the British Columbia Utilities Commission lists Goldman as part of the “senior management personnel involved with” Western LNG.
“Are you going to look at that fundraiser tomorrow night?” Cooper asked Biden.
When asked if he was going to look at the fundraiser tomorrow, Biden answered, ”I’m going to look at what you just told me and find out if that’s accurate. Yes.”