Report: Hillary Clinton Fundraiser Will Not Be Held at Theranos After All

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 (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Update Sunday, March 20: It probably didn't take Nostradamus to predict this, but that Clinton fundraiser Monday that was reportedly going to be held by beleaguered Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at company headquarters ... is no longer going to be held by beleaguered Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at company headquarters. At least according to this CNBC report . ...

(A)n official invitation to the event, obtained by CNBC, shows that the Clinton fundraiser will not be held at the company's offices, but instead at the private home of Susie Hwang and Matt Glickman in Palo Alto. Holmes is listed first on a list of 11 female Silicon Valley figures hosting the event. According to the invitation, hosts contribute or raise $2,700 for Hillary for America presidential campaign, and attend a reception with the former first daughter.

A Clinton campaign official told the network that the event "is not connected to a specific company or policy, but a chance to talk directly to women in tech. We frequently send initial invitations while host committees are still being formed and locations finalized. This was never a health care event and the location wasn't set. It will not be at Theranos."

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"This is what happens when you work to change things," Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes said last October,  "First they think you're crazy, then they fight you, then you change the world,"

Whether Theranos has progressed from "you're crazy" to "they fight you" may be a moot point -- they definitely haven't changed the world. Holmes was misquoting -- or disrupting, if you prefer -- a stirring adage attributed to Mahatma Gandhi (which apparently, he never said), while she talked with CNBC's Jim Cramer. The Wall Street Journal had just published the first in a string of negative articles questioning the accuracy of Theranos' proprietary blood-test technology. That investigation has transformed Theranos from the golden child of Silicon Valley innovation into the poster child for Silicon Valley hype.

Holmes has kept a low profile in the past several months, and when her name does crop up, it's not exactly to award her a Nobel Prize. Last week, reports surfaced she had withdrawn from a conference on genomic medicine without explanation. And this week, there's a big to-do over news that Holmes will host a fundraiser at the company's Palo Alto headquarters for Hillary Clinton, with an appearance by Chelsea Clinton as the key attraction. The first takes on this tidbit are now in, and they're not good. Here's New York magazine's headline:


"Hillary Clinton Lets Scandal-Plagued Corporation Throw Her a Fund-raiser, for Some Stupid Reason."

"One of Clinton’s primary liabilities in her race against Bernie Sanders is the perception that she is overly friendly with corrupt corporate interests. So it's pretty bizarre that she has decided to have a (reportedly) corrupt corporation host her next big fund-raiser," wrote Eric Levitz.

STAT recounted the history of ties between Theranos and the Clintons and asked Robert Wachter, chief of medicine at UCSF Medical Center, for a reaction.

"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," he said. "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.”

Twitter, of course, is doing what it does best to this kind of low-hanging fruit: rubbing it in.  Vox wonk Ezra Klein simply tweeted: "This seems like a bad idea."  Others showed less mercy:

The Clinton campaign has yet to comment, though Clinton surrogate Jennifer Granholm did give a non-response response on CNBC when the issue was pressed. Whether any of this will have even a tiny impact on the presidential campaign remains to be seen. But the only thing worse than having The Wall Street Journal all up in your business just might be a round of 140-character assaults on your declining fortunes by -- well, you know who.