“Ordinary middle-class Americans built America,” Mr. Biden said. “My dad used to have an expression — he said, ‘Joe, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck; it’s about your dignity, it’s about respect, it’s being able to look your kid in the eye and say everything’s going to be O.K.’”
But in contrast to some of his more progressive rivals, who have sought distance from wealthy donors — or have at least played down their reliance on them — Mr. Biden is open about his frequent high-dollar fund-raising events, which are covered by the news media. He raised $21.5 million since entering the race at the end of April, his campaign said last week — less than Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., raised in the second quarter of the year, but still outpacing other top rivals.
According to the campaign, which sought to emphasize Mr. Biden’s appeal to small-dollar donors, the average donation was $49.
As Mr. Biden grew his personal wealth during his time away from elective office, he saw how Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid faced withering attacks over claims that she and her husband had cashed in on their public service as they made tens of millions of dollars giving speeches, consulting and writing books.
Mr. Biden tried to toe the line of making money off his celebrity while also not damaging a future presidential bid.
Most of Mr. Biden’s paid speeches have been in conjunction with a tour to promote “Promise Me, Dad,” a best-selling 2017 book about the final year of his son Beau’s life, Mr. Biden’s spokesman told The New York Times for an article this year.
Presidential candidates are required to file financial disclosure reports with the government, giving voters a view into their assets, income and debts. Some of Mr. Biden’s rivals have disclosed considerable wealth, including book deals, in their filings.
This breaking news story will be updated.