Wealthy Democratic Donor Says She's Keeping Her Cash

Friday, 17 Feb 2012 10:02 AM

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Citing President Barack Obama's lack of leadership on environmental issues, one of the Democratic Party's most generous and influential donors says she is withholding further contributions, at least for the time being, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Philantropist Susie Tompkins Buell of San Francisco has contributed $25 million to progressive political and charitable causes in the past 10 years and $10 million for candidates and committees, her staff told the newspaper. Former President Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore, and Hillary Rodham Clinton were among the recipients.

Buell's statement comes at a time when Obama travels to California for big-money fund-raisers this week. "I would just love to write my big check ... or have a high-dollar dinner here" for Obama, she told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I can't."

"I thought that he really did understand 'the urgency of now' on climate change," Buell, a cofounder of the Esprit clothing company, said. "He has not been vocal enough ... and I want to encourage him to lead me."

Many environmental causes, such as the San Francisco-based nonprofit Go Green Foundation, have benefited from contributions given by Buell and her husband, Mark Buell, the newspaper said.

Buell said she won't attend at least two of Obama's high-dollar fund-raisers this week in San Francisco, and her absence signals challenges the president faces with other wealthy donors, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

California Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, whom Buell has supported, told the Chronicle: "She has a lot of influence with others who are equally situated in their capacity to contribute. I think other donors certainly paid attention to that."



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