President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to step up his new administration. But who, exactly, provided him with the funds to do so remains a mystery.
The Trump administration has so far refused to provide standard sources of funding for the transition in light of the president’s questionable allegations of a stolen election and ongoing litigation over alleged voter fraud in key election contests. This left Biden’s transition team to rely entirely on funds provided by private donors.
But Biden’s team is declining to provide details on the precise sources of those funds – or even the number of donors to his presidential transitional entity, or the total amount they have donated to date. Efforts to obtain that data or any other details were politely declined by a spokesperson for Biden on Tuesday.
This information will eventually be released after Biden’s inauguration in January. But for now, the presidential transition is fully endorsed by political supporters who have helped support the effort since the summer, and who remain largely anonymous. The transition team will have a dramatic impact on the makeup of the Biden administration from the start – not just who employs major federal agencies, but the policy proposals they will work to implement from Jan.21.
This gives the people working on shaping this transition, and the people providing the funds to do so, a potentially huge impact on the political direction of the nation going forward. But to the extent that vested interests attempt to influence the process through financial contributions, these contributions remain, for now, hidden from public view.
According to documents filed with the state of Florida and North Carolina charity regulators in August, Transition Biden, which operates as PT Fund Inc., said she expected to raise around $ 5.7 million this year, although recent reports suggest she is now on track to far exceed that total. In charity registration files, the PT Fund said it plans financial and logistical cooperation from the General Service Administration, the agency overseeing presidential transitions. But that agency has so far refused to cooperate with Biden’s transition team.
The PT Fund, a 501 (c) (4) nonprofit formed in Delaware in May, has told state charity regulators that it plans to spend the money it raised for office space, fundraising and, primarily, staff and executive compensation. And according to information released Tuesday by Transition Biden, those funds are currently paying the salaries of nine staff for what the Transition calls its “agency review teams.” These teams are “responsible for understanding each agency’s operations, ensuring a smooth transfer of power, and preparing President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris and their cabinet to start on day one,” according to the transition. team website.
These nine staff members represent a small portion of the hundreds of people appointed to these “bridgehead” transition teams, the vast majority of whom are volunteers, according to a list released Tuesday by the Biden team. But some paid transition staff occupy important positions of influence. KeyBank executive vice president Don Graves is listed as the team leader of Biden’s Treasury Department bridgehead team, and other paid members of the transition fill teams assigned to the Labor Department, to the Environmental Protection Agency, to the Federal Reserve and to the White House National Security Council.
Like Biden’s campaign, the PT Fund has pledged not to accept contributions from corporations, PACs, lobbyists or registered foreign agents. But beyond that, little is known about its funders. Although she did not disclose any of her donors, Federal Election Commission records show that she received contributions from Congressional campaigns from Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) and former top Dan Baer Obama administration State Department official.
The PT Fund has certified in its statements to the Internal Revenue Service that it will not engage in any political activity. Instead, he said he would focus primarily on general administrative expenses, interviewing and assessing candidates for federal office, and developing policies for the new administration.
The group, he told the IRS, “helps ensure that those appointed by the new administration are ready to run the federal government from the start of Biden’s tenure.”
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