Brian Buntz

March 22, 2016

3 Min Read
Clinton Campaign Cancels Theranos Fundraiser, Relocates Event

Mired in controversy, Theranos had planned on hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. The fundraiser was later moved to a private home.

Qmed Staff

Clinton campaign

Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was featured at a Clinton fundraiser in Palo Alto, which was held at a private residence. Earlier reports suggested that the event would be held at a Theranos facility. Chelsea Clinton is shown on the right. Image from Ruby Cramer's Twitter feed.

Media reports had been speculating why the Clinton campaign would agree to organize a fundraiser at the headquarters of Theranos, which had been criticized in a series of Wall Street Journal articles that accused the company of misrepresenting the benefits of its blood-testing technology. Making matters worse was a CMS report that the company's testing practices had posed an  "immediate danger to patient safety." Reports from early March suggest that Theranos partner Walgreens is looking for a way to terminate their relationship.

But on Monday, the campaign shifted gears, moving the event to the private home of Susie Hwang and Matt Glickman. The CEO of the company, Elizabeth Holmes, was one of the hosts of the event. Ten additional female Silicon Valley figures were also lists as hosts for the event. Other hosts included the attorney Aarthi Belani, executive director of the Firelight Foundation Nina Blackwell, Stanford Law professor Michele Dauber, and Theranos general counsel and former Clinton Senate policy advisor Heather King.

Some of the press reports that preceded the event had stated that a fundraiser at the Theranos headquarters would be a liability for both the Clinton campaign as well as Theranos itself. "Today's narrative about Theranos is that the company has focused more on its political relationships than on its core business, and that doing so created a hype that far exceeds the true value of the company's products," Robert M. Wachter, interim chairman of the department of medicine at UCSF was quoted as saying in STAT News. "Given that, I'm not sure how this fundraiser does anything other than promote that narrative -- one that Theranos needs to be aggressively trying to undo."

Holmes had been continuing to find some positive press in late 2015. She was featured on the cover of an edition of T: The New York Times Style Magazine and was listed in Time's list of the "100 Most Influential People" of 2015.

Many of the guests in attendance at the event were Silicon Valley-based executives.

The top ticket price for the event was $2700. Less expensive tickets were in the $100 and $250 range.

Elizabeth Holmes has a number of political friends in addition to the Clintons. Her board of directors includes Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George P. Schultz, former U.S senator Sam Nunn, and former Republican Senator Bill Frist.

Learn more about cutting-edge medical devices at BIOMEDevice Boston, April 13-14, 2016.

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