Biden allies expect natural gas firm founder to remain co-host of fundraiser despite climate outcry

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2020 Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the Presidential Gun Sense Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, August 10, 2019.

Scott Morgan | Reuters

Joe Biden’s associates still expect Andrew Goldman, who co-founded a natural gas company, to serve as co-host for a fundraiser for the Democratic presidential candidate Thursday evening, despite Biden’s pledge to refuse money from fossil-fuel executives.

As of Thursday afternoon, people close to Biden say Goldman is likely to remain co-host of the event at the New York home of colleague David Solomon, a partner at family-run investment firm Hildred Capital Partners. Invitees have not been notified about any changes to the featured host lineup, these people added.

These Biden associates insisted, though, that all of this could change at the last minute and Goldman could end up pulling out or not showing up.

Goldman is listed as a co-founder of Western LNG on the company’s website, alongside entries for the firm’s CEO and senior vice president.

A secretary at Hildred Capital Partners said Goldman was not commenting on whether he is still taking part in the fundraiser. A Biden spokesperson did not return a request for comment.

After being asked about the fundraiser at CNN’s climate change town hall Wednesday, Biden said he didn’t believe Goldman was an executive and that he had no role with the company. The former vice president later said: “I will not in any way accept his help” if it turns out Goldman is an executive.

Separately, Biden will also make his way to the home of real estate executive Jack Rosen for another fundraiser. The Thursday fundraisers were first reported by CNBC and The Intercept.

Throughout the Wednesday town hall, Biden was ripped on social media by a host of climate change activists and progressive critics. Naomi Klein, author of “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal,” claimed that Biden’s opposition to banning fracking is related to his connection with Goldman, who was once a senior advisor to Biden during his U.S. Senate days.

“Biden just confirmed he opposes banning fracking on the state and national level,” Klein said. “The fact that his fundraiser tomorrow night is put on by an executive up to his eyeballs in fracked gas is totally unrelated.”

David Turnbull, a strategic communications director for Oil Change U.S., a group involved with getting candidates to pledge to refuse money from the fossil fuel industry, said he felt it looked like Biden was trying to “weasel out” of the pledge.

Meanwhile, Biden’s friends in the business community, including some that are planning to attend the event, are backing the candidate and Goldman.

“It’s a nonevent. He (Goldman) is an investor and doesn’t run it,” said a prolific Democratic donor helping Biden and others. “It was a premeditated hit, but it goes with the territory,” said another.

Biden was one of at least 18 candidates who pledged not to take contributions from executives in the fossil fuel industry. After Biden was initially asked about his association with Goldman on Wednesday, his campaign’s senior advisor insisted the Western LNG founder was not an executive and did not play any official role with the company. The rules of the anti-fossil fuel pledge money says that candidates guarantee they will not accept donations from industry executives.

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