Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign has aggressively pushed back against the alleged endorsement of a longtime Democratic donor accused of fatally drugging gay black men in his home, calling his inclusion on a list of hundreds of endorsers from President Barack Obama’s campaigns and administration the work of apparent hoaxers.
Ed Buck was listed as the 39th entry in the list of 231 Obama alumni who endorsed Warren’s campaign for the White House, part of a signature-gathering operation organized by Obama alumni Jon Carson, a national field director for Obama’s 2008 campaign who later joined the administration, and Sara El-Amine, the former national director of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Many of the signatories on the list, released on Wednesday, are current high-level staffers on Warren’s campaign, including chief strategist Joe Rospars, senior adviser Emily Parcell, and national political director Rebecca Pearcey.
Buck was arrested in September in connection with the overdose of a man in his West Hollywood home, the site of two previous overdoses of gay black men since 2017. Both of those incidents were fatal, and, prosecutors allege, part of a “malevolent” pattern of serially targeting poor, housing-insecure gay black men and injecting them with dangerously high doses of crystal meth.
“From his home, in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes,” prosecutors alleged in court documents filed in September, after a third alleged victim told police that the longtime political donor and gay-rights activist had tried to overdose him with meth two times in one week. “These fetishes include supplying and personally administering dangerously large doses of narcotics to his victims.”
Buck’s inclusion on the list was first noticed by The New Republic’s Libby Watson.
In a tweet, Max Berger, Warren’s director for progressive partnerships, said that Buck’s spot on the list appeared to have been added maliciously.
“This was compiled by volunteers from the Obama network,” Berger said. “Someone added fake names to the list. The volunteers caught most of them. They obviously missed one.”
Berger also noted that Buck is in prison awaiting trial and “has no access to email,” making it unlikely that he would have been able to sign the letter regardless.
“This was a mistake considering Ed Buck was not staff or an alum,” a Warren campaign spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
Buck donated roughly $1,500 to Obama’s campaign in 2008, but did not work for the campaign or in the Obama administration.
Following the overdose deaths of two black men in his home in 2017 and 2019, Buck became an infamous figure in West Hollywood, where local authorities faced increasing public pressure to arrest him for the deaths of Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old black man who died in Buck’s apartment in July 2017, and 55-year-old Timothy Dean, who died in January of this year. Both died following an overdose of crystal meth, a highly addictive form of methamphetamine that can heighten sexual pleasure.
Moore’s body was found beside “multiple syringes with brown residue, a scale, several lighters and torches, a straw with white residue and burn marks, plastic bags with whiter powdery residue and a clear plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance,” according to a complaint filed in a wrongful death suit against Buck by Moore’s family.
According to complaint, Buck solicited Moore for sex multiple times, insisting upon injecting him with crystal meth each time. In Moore’s last journal entry, dated one month before his death, he wrote, “If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d kill myself, but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”