A Democratic superdelegate promoting an effort to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) if he fails to clinch a majority of pledged delegates is a big pharma lobbyist who has contributed thousands to Republicans, especially Mitch McConnell.
A new report by The New York Times, revealed an effort among Democratic party insiders to block Sanders’ path to the nomination if he wins a plurality of pledged delegates but not enough to secure a win on a first ballot.
The Superdelegate leading the effort is William Owen, who owns the lobbying firm Asset & Equity Corporations and donated $8,500 to the Senators Classic Committee, a joint fundraising committee backing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and more than a dozen other Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) last year, according to Federal Election Commission filings first flagged by The Intercept.
He has also donated to Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, according to the report.
Owen told The Intercept that he also contributes to Democrats, but the outlet found no record that he donated to any congressional or presidential Democratic candidates this cycle despite backing Democrats in the past.
“I am a committed Democrat, but as a lobbyist, there are times when I need to have access to both sides. And the way to get access quite often is to make campaign contributions,” he told the outlet. “I’m a registered lobbyist, and I represent clients. And they have interest in front of Congress, and I attend the Senator’s Classic, which is a Republican event, each year.”
Owen is a registered lobbyist for the health care technology firm Klox Technologies.
He is also an executive member of the Tennessee Democratic Party and the DNC who endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. Politico reported last fall that Owen pushed Biden’s team to “develop a second-ballot strategy” for the Democratic National Convention. Owen warned that if Sanders or fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, “surges” then “we’re in trouble.”
With Sanders surging across the country after winning the popular vote in each of the Democratic Party’s first three nominating contests, Owen told The Times he hopes former President Barack Obama intervenes to broker a deal, or if he was unwilling, that former first lady Michelle Obama could be nominated as vice president.
Numerous other Democrats told The Times they planned to try to block Sanders if he did not win a majority, even though the same article quoted President Obama warning that the Democratic Party “shouldn’t engage in smoke-filled-room politics” because “those kinds of deals would have prevented him from capturing the nomination when he ran against Hillary Clinton.”