The name of a Democratic donor in California linked to the deaths of two poor Black men was falsely added to a list of alumni of President Barack Obama’s campaigns and administration who are endorsing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for president.
Ed Buck, who donated to Obama’s 2012 campaign but was unaffiliated with his administration, was among the more than 200 people initially on the list. His name has been removed from it.
During the past two years, two men were found dead inside of Buck’s home in West Hollywood with methamphetamine in their systems. In Septemeber, a third man overdosed on the drug at the house, but did not die.
Buck faces federal charges for distributing methamphetamine resulting in a death, and state charges for battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and operating a drug house.
He has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. For at least two years before his September arrest, Buck lured Black men to his home with the promise of drugs and money, according to a 22-page complaint filed by federal prosecutors. Buck targeted men who were homeless, financially desperate and struggling with drug problems, according to a federal grand jury.
The complaint, which includes accounts from 10 of Buck’s alleged victims, describes how Buck would pay men to shoot up drugs at his house. One man said he believes Buck injected him with drugs without his consent while he was sleeping.
Buck has hired defense lawyer Christopher Darden, best known as one of the two main prosecutors in the murder case against O.J. Simpson.
The Warren campaign assembled the endorsement names by sending a Google-based sign-up sheet to Obama alumni e-mail lists. While other fake names and non-staffers were submitted, most were caught by list organizers or Warren staff members. They missed the inclusion of Buck.
“This was a mistake considering Ed Buck was not staff or an alum,” Warren spokesman Chris Hayden said. “This was put together via Google doc by some Obama alums and they caught some non-staff that populated the list but obviously they missed one. They are removing it.”
The news of the inclusion of Buck’s name cames as Warren prepared to join six other leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination in a Thursday evening debate in Los Angeles.