Biden campaign softens its position on accepting super PAC support

Biden had previously said he wouldn't take support from outside funding groups, but the campaign points to an array of resources now aimed at defeating him.
Image: Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Davenport, Iowa, on Oct. 16, 2019.
Joe Biden at a campaign stop in Davenport, Iowa, on Oct. 16, 2019.Scott Olson / Getty Images file

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By Mike Memoli

WASHINGTON — In a significant reversal, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign appears to be giving a green light to an independent fundraising effort to boost his candidacy, one that allies say is essential as his campaign faces a barrage of attacks from both left and right.

Biden had personally disavowed the support of any outside super PAC, even before launching his candidacy in April. When a little-known Democratic strategist filed paperwork to create one shortly after he announced, the campaign quickly sought to snuff out the effort.

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But as supporters of the former vice president have expressed renewed concern about his ability to finance a long-term campaign, particularly with the GOP apparatus already training its significant war chest on him, the campaign is backtracking.

In a statement to NBC News, deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said that Biden as president will “push to remove private money from our federal elections,” including through a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United to “end the era of unbridled spending by Super PACs.”

But, she added, "until we have these badly needed reforms, we will see more than a billion dollars in spending by Trump and his allies to re-elect this corrupt president. And let's be clear: Donald Trump has decided that the general election has already begun.”

"In this time of crisis in our politics, it is not surprising that those who are dedicated to defeating Donald Trump are organizing in every way permitted by current law to bring an end to his disastrous presidency," Bedingfield continued. "Nothing changes unless we defeat Donald Trump."

An organized pro-Biden super PAC is still yet to be formally launched. But “there are significant number of folks who realize that Joe Biden again is the only candidate who is being forced to finance a primary and a general election at the same time, and are stepping up to the plate to provide resources to fight back,” former Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., a Biden supporter, said in an interview.

"There are many Democrats who fundamentally believe in campaign finance reform. But there’s a reality that you can’t achieve it unless you’re elected,” Israel said. "And you can’t get elected by unilaterally disarming."