- Bidens goal to cancel student debt took a major hit when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stunned Congress with a surprise statement in opposition.
- The move aligns her with Democratic megadonors Steven and Mary Swig. Steven Swig has long served as a treasurer for Pelosi in her fundraising efforts.
- The Swigs quietly circulated a memo among key Capitol Hill figures, making the dubious case that debt cancellation at the executive level is illegal.
“The drive to persuade President Joe Biden to cancel student debt took a major hit last week when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stunned Congress with a surprise statement in opposition. The move may put her at odds with much of the public and the Democratic Party, but it aligns her with Democratic megadonors Steven and Mary Swig, the billionaire scions of the Bay Area’s oldest real estate dynasty who have deep ties to the California representative. Steven Swig has also long served as a treasurer for Pelosi in her fundraising efforts.
In November, after Biden’s election, and amid increased pressure to cancel student debt, the Swigs quietly circulated a memo among key Capitol Hill figures, making the dubious case that debt cancellation at the executive level is illegal. The argument in the memo gets much of its weight by virtue of the wealthy couple who produced it, as the Swigs are not just major funders of progressive nonprofits, but also have significantly bankrolled Pelosi and her House Democratic caucus.
The memo, obtained by The Intercept, was distributed to members of Congress by Freedom to Prosper, an organization founded by and for the Swigs. The couple has in the past directly lobbied Pelosi, according to two sources with knowledge of the meetings, in which the Swigs would suggest rhetoric or policy proposals that Pelosi would agree to adopt in some form. The source, like several others interviewed by The Intercept for this story, would only speak on condition of anonymity, citing the Swigs’ financial sway in progressive circles. (They have also contributed millions of dollars to the Democratic Party over the years.)
The couple have for many years given the maximum amount permitted in campaign contributions to Pelosi, who represents California’s 12th District which encompasses San Francisco, and Steven Swig has served as treasurer for Pelosi’s reelection campaigns since 2012…”
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