Montana Sen. Jon Tester will rub elbows Monday night at a ritzy fundraiser with a partner from Silicon Valley Bank’s legal firm — three days after the California bank suffered the second-largest financial collapse in US history.
Michael J. Danaher, who represents many venture capital clients for Wilson, Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, is hosting the 66-year-old Democrat at the posh event in Palo Alto, where donors have been asked to pay between $250 and $6,600 to attend.
Executives from an array of venture-backed tech companies will also host Tester, who bills himself as a farmer “fighting for rural America.”
They include Jon Foster, a board member of the driverless, electric vehicle company Udelv; Jesse Dorogusker, a Bitcoin hardware lead at the tech giant Block; and Greg Avis, cofounder of the venture firm Summit Partners.
A spokeswoman for Tester’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Before its fall, Silicon Valley Bank had $209 billion in assets.
Douglas Clark, a managing partner at Wilson, Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, lists SVB as a client. The firm also provided a guidance sheet for its wealthy list of international clients that may have been affected by SVB’s failure.
Wilson, Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati has worked on behalf of many investment banks and venture capital firms in the Silicon Valley region since its founding in 1961. Founder Larry Sonsini previously served on SVB’s board of directors in the mid-200s.
The law firm and SVB have partnered for several investor events in recent years. The two also agreed last month to sponsor a fellowship “to address systemic racial, gender, and other underrepresentation in talent across the life sciences and biotech industry.”
Reports on Monday showed that the head of risk management at SVB spearheaded several “woke” initiatives in recent years — a move some Republicans faulted the bank for pursuing instead of focusing on safe investments for depositors.
President Biden announced Monday morning his administration’s decision to bailout Silicon Valley Bank, promising that the cost would not fall on individual taxpayers.
But members of the GOP called out the commander in chief and his Treasury Department for the move.
“Joe Biden is pretending this isn’t a bailout. It is,” Nikki Haley said in a statement. “Now depositors at healthy banks are forced to subsidize Silicon Valley Bank’s mismanagement. When the Deposit Insurance Fund runs dry, all bank customers are on the hook. That’s a public bailout.
“Depositors should be paid by selling off Silicon Valley Bank’s assets, not by the public. Taxpayers should not be responsible,” the Republican presidential hopeful added.
Tester appeared Sunday night on “PBS News Hour” to air grievances about ongoing debt-limit fights in Congress, accusing his Republican colleagues of using the issue “as a political football.”
“When you start talking about the debt, and I’m and I’m very concerned, because that’s really playing with fire and could drive our economy into depression really, really quickly if we don’t pay our debts,” he said.
“But if we’re going to continue to use the debt as a political football, depending on who’s in power, and when they’re in power, I don’t think we’ll ever come to a solution on the issue. I think it can be done. But we have to remove politics from this equation,” he said.