Billionaire Warren Buffett is scheduled to speak on a conference call to a California fundraiser on Wednesday for Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Grimes, who currently serves as Secretary of State for Kentucky, has fallen behind the incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), according to recent polls. She is returning to California on Wednesday to raise more money for her campaign. The next day, Grimes is scheduled to attend a fundraiser in Hollywood hosted by billionaire David Geffen and other entertainment industry elites.
An email sent by ACT BLUE, the prolific Cambridge, Massachusetts liberal fundraising group that helped make Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) a national left-wing fundraising super-star, invited well-heeled California donors to “please join Alison in the Bay Area” on Wednesday.
The event, held at the Tiburon residence of Sharon Osberg and David Smith, promised “an evening of cocktails and conversation with Alison Lundergan Grimes, Candidate for US Senate [i]n Kentucky and via conference call, Warren Buffett.” Tiburon is one of the wealthiest and most exclusive communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The cost of attending the event is steep. The minimum donation is $1,000 per person. Those who donate the maximum of $2,600 per person are listed as “hosts” of the event, along with Osberg and Smith.
Buffett, a close friend and bridge playing partner of Ms. Osberg, is scheduled to call in to the fundraiser at her home Wednesday night. Osberg, a former Wells Fargo executive, is a two-time world champion who has been friends with fellow bridge enthusiast Buffett for more than two decades. She often partners with Buffett in competions. The two once qualified as a team to participate in the world championship, but Buffett dropped out because he found it too stressful.
Another billionaire bridge enthusiast and Buffett friend, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, is also a frequent Osberg bridge partner. “In 2005,” the Dickinson Magazine reported, “Osberg held a three-day 75th-birthday party for Buffett [at her Tiburon residence], which Gates attended.”
Buffett will presumably sing the praises of Secretary Grimes to the California donors in attendance at the Osberg fundraiser.
Should the discussion move to tax policy, however, it could result in a few awkward moments. Buffett’s $3 billion investment in Burger King’s acquisition of Tim Hortons, the Canadian doughnut chain, has come under attack from left-wing Democrats such as Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) as a tax inversion scam.
“We should end tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas,” Grimes says on her campaign website.
Under its plan to acquire Tim Hortons, Burger King would move its corporate headquarters, along with presumably several hundred employees, from its current Miami, Florida headquarters in the United States to Tim Hortons’ corporate headquarters in Ontario, Canada. The move, tax experts estimate, would save Burger King tens of millions of dollars in taxes, since the company would be subject to the much lower Canadian corporate tax rate.
Grimes has not publicly voiced any disagrement with Buffett’s investment in this tax inversion acquisition. She does, however, charge in a recent television ad that “[McConnell voted] three times for corporate tax breaks that send Kentucky jobs overseas.”
Politifact rated this claim by Lundergan “mostly false.”
Osberg and her husband, David Smith, each donated the maximum $2,600 to the Grimes Senate general election campaign in May of this year, according to Federal Election Commission records. Osberg’s previous political donations included $1,000 to Hillary Clinton and $500 to Barack Obama during the 2008 Presidential campaign.
It is unclear when Osberg and Grimes were introduced, or why Osberg is interested in a Senate race in Kentucky. She is apparently not supporting any other Democratic Senate candidates, at least according to the record of her donations at the Federal Election Commission.
Earlier in the day, Grimes will raise money in the posh Northern California beach side resort town of Carmel. According to an email found at the Democrat Underground, Grimes will be the featured guest at the fundraiser at Nico’s Restaurant in Carmel, California hosted by State Senator Bill Monning and Dr. Dana Grimes, beginning at 11:30 am and ending up at 2 pm.
“The 2014 Senate race in KY is the best opportunity in the 2014 general election to defeat a Republican Senator, just happens to be Mitch McConnell,” read the email inviting attendees. “Poll after poll shows Alison either leading or within the margin of error to beat him. We can win this race with your support.”
From Carmel Grimes will make the 100 mile trek north to the Tiburon residence of Osberg and Smith before going on to Hollywood the following day.
Breitbart News’ calls for comment from the Grimes campaign on the Osberg-Buffett fundraiser were not returned.