Biden Will Fund-Raise With D.N.C. and His Appointee Will Lead the Committee

Biden Will Fund-Raise With D.N.C. and His Appointee Will Lead the Committee

WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee have agreed to a joint fund-raising accord and installed the Biden campaign’s choice as the D.N.C.’s chief executive, the latest signs that the party’s presumptive presidential nominee has consolidated control over its broader functions.

The new agreement, which party officials said would be made formal on Friday, will allow the former vice president to raise $360,800 from individual donors, with $5,600 going to the Biden campaign and the rest earmarked for the party committee.

At the request of the Biden campaign, Mary Beth Cahill, a D.N.C. senior adviser who briefly served as its interim chief executive in 2018, will take over from Seema Nanda. Ms. Cahill, a longtime operative for the party, served as campaign manager for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Mr. Kerry is a longtime friend of and 2020 campaign surrogate for Mr. Biden. Ms. Nanda will leave the D.N.C.

The moves come as the Biden campaign exercises greater influence on the national committee, an effort that typically gets underway after a presidential nomination is assured. In the past, that has involved sending a team of aides to the party’s headquarters on South Capitol Street, but the coronavirus restrictions mean the Biden team will take over a party working from home.

“Our goal is to ensure that we put Joe Biden in the best position possible to beat Donald Trump,” Ms. Cahill said. “This joint fund-raising agreement allows us to do just that.”

Mr. Biden and the D.N.C. begin the general election period far behind President Trump and the Republican National Committee, which entered April with $244 million in the bank. Mr. Biden and the D.N.C. had a combined $57 million, after accounting for debts and the $18 million former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg transferred to the party following the failure of his $1 billion campaign.

The agreement to raise funds together should help Mr. Biden accelerate his efforts to close that substantial gap. Until this week, he had been legally limited to soliciting checks for only $5,600. Now he can directly ask for more than 60 times that amount with almost all of it going to the party committee.

Some donors had been confused in recent weeks at the delay for setting up such an accord. Ultimately, the initial agreement is exclusively between the D.N.C. and the Biden campaign; the maximum contribution is likely to increase in the future as Democratic state parties are included.

In 2016, an early joint agreement between Hillary Clinton and the D.N.C. was the subject of controversy as supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont complained that Mrs. Clinton was influencing the party through her financial support. Those residual feelings were one reason the D.N.C. and Mr. Biden avoided establishing such a pact until after Mr. Sanders had formally exited the race.

Ms. Cahill, an ally of the D.N.C. chairman, Tom Perez, since he worked with her in the office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, ran the last Democratic presidential campaign against a Republican incumbent in the White House, when Mr. Kerry challenged President George W. Bush.

Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, praised Ms. Cahill’s appointment to lead the party.

“Mary Beth’s experience running presidential campaigns and managing the kind of complex operation it takes to win a general election will be invaluable, and I am thrilled to have her as a partner in this fight,” Ms. O’Malley Dillon said.

In addition, Greg Schultz, Mr. Biden’s former campaign manager, has been dispatched as a liaison between the campaign and the D.N.C. for the general election. He was replaced by Ms. O’Malley Dillon in March.

Another looming organizational choice for the Biden campaign is whether to contract with a digital services firm called Hawkfish that was created by Mr. Bloomberg ahead of his presidential run. The firm has pitched itself to run much of the Biden campaign’s digital operations, rather than the campaign building out its own internal operation, according to people familiar with the matter.

Hawkfish has quickly become a flash point in the party. Several Democratic digital operatives have warned the Biden campaign publicly and privately against contracting with Hawkfish, arguing that the firm has limited political experience and that its lone big race — for Mr. Bloomberg — did not include any fund-raising or efforts to spend money efficiently. Both are major imperatives for the Biden campaign.

On the other side, the firm is promising access to large amounts of data it has collected and fresh know-how from a Silicon Valley team imported from outside the usual circle of politics.

Whether or not to use Hawkfish is a hot-button decision thrust onto the desk of Ms. O’Malley Dillon, though conversations with the firm predate her taking over the campaign.

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