Former Vice President Joe Biden defended his decision to fundraise off oil interests on Wall Street at CNN’S climate change town hall on Wednesday.
Biden, who has accepted thousands from the energy industry since announcing his presidential campaign, was asked how Democrats considering voting for him could trust his position on climate change given that he’s scheduled a fundraiser with a fossil fuel executive on Thursday.
The former vice president defended his decision, saying Andrew Goldman, the founder of a natural gas production company who has signed on to host a $2,800-a-head fundraiser for the former vice president in New York City, was “not a fossil fuel executive.”
“He’s not a fossil fuel executive, I’m told,” Biden responded. “The fact of the matter is…I’ve argued and pushed for us suing those executives, who are engaged in pollution, those companies that are engaged in pollution.”
The 76-year-old former vice president further added that “he’s never walked” away from fighting climate change, as exhibited by his more than 40-year career in Congress.
As CNBC reported on Wednesday, Biden will appear at two fundraisers hosted by top Wall Street executives in New York City on Thursday.
One of the fundraisers will be hosted by Jack Rosen, the CEO of Rosen Partners LLC and well known Democrat mega donor. Rosen also has business ties to Mikhail Fridman, a Russian oligarch who controls one of his country’s largest privately own financial consortiums. Fridman is known for making his multi-billion dollar fortune from telecommunications as well as oil and gas interests.
The second fundraiser will be hosted by Goldman and David F. Solomon, an investment banker who runs the private equity giant Hildred Capital Partners. As the Intercept noted, Goldman, a one time aide to Biden, is the co-founder of a Texas-based natural gas production company called Western LNG.
“Western’s major project is a floating production facility off the northern coast of British Columbia designed to provide Canadian gas to markets in northeast Asia,” the outlet reported Wednesday.
The fundraiser seems to violate the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge that Biden signed in June. The pledge, a byproduct of the liberal group Oil Change USA, has become an environmental litmus test for Democratic candidates and elected officials. By signing, Biden promised to refuse campaign donations totaling more than $200 from executives, PACs, and lobbyists representing companies “whose primary business is the extraction, processing, distribution, or sale of oil, gas, or coal.”
When pushed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the fundraiser, Biden again claimed he was unaware of the extent of Goldman’s ties to Western LNG.
“I didn’t realize he does that,” Biden said, before pledging to reconsider the fundraiser if the fossil fuel ties were “accurate.”