The Clinton campaign privately worried about the optics of having Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes host a fundraiser at their headquarters, but opted to go ahead with the event anyway after a change of venue.
At the time, Theranos and Holmes were in the process of being exposed for having faked lab results for blood tests of thousands of Americans, risking their health and lives. The venue was ultimately changed from their headquarters to a private home, but Holmes remained as host.
The worry, exposed in an email released by Wikileaks, started with a tweet by liberal activist Ezra Klein:
This seems like a bad idea: https://t.co/upXHogybhC
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) March 14, 2016
That tweet was emailed to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta by Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden.
Podesta replied, “Great minds think alike.” He also sent the email to someone at the liberal Sandler Foundation with the email firstname.lastname@example.org, possibly founders Herbert and Marion Sandler, billionaire liberal donors.
That person replied, calling the event a “Big mistake,” adding, “I was at dinner tonight with someone far more knowledgeable than I am, who is certain she’s a fraud.”
The Sandler emailer continued, “The question is whether it’s possible to get out of it without creating a worse problem. The fact that the event is in Theranos HQs is much worse than if it was at her home. Someone did not do their homework.”
The venue for the event was ultimately moved out of Theranos HQ to a private home, but Holmes remained as host.
Here’s Chelsea Clinton w/ Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, at the campaign’s San Francisco fundraiser today: pic.twitter.com/YHvY4HH2QP
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) March 21, 2016
Theranos has since crumbled and Holmes is under investigation by the federal government for defrauding investors.