Brazile: fundraising agreements sold out DNC to Clinton campaign

If we’ve learned anything from the Donna Brazile revelations, it’s that we can rely on Donna Brazile to do the right thing—after she’s tried everything else.

We also learned from Brazile’s exposé that my hypothesis laid out in Part 2 of the DNC Fraud Lawsuit series was right on the money. Now we have specifics.

Long before the election, the law firm repping both the DNC and the Hillary Victory Fund, Perkins-Coie, developed a strategy to use state parties as conduits for fundraising to the Hillary campaign. A 3-page Joint Fundraising Agreement was drawn up that specified the Hillary Victory Fund would completely control communications, data, analytics and research at the DNC. They would have joint authority with DNC over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, and expenditures.

The victory fund also demanded review of on-line or mass email, and all communications that feature “a particular Democratic primary candidate.” Further, “The DNC will alert HFA in advance of mailing any direct mail communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate or his or her signature.” With the first $1.2 million raised, HVF would have “complete and seamless access to all research work product and tools.”

After specifying the manner in which HVF would control the DNC, Clinton’s team included the laughably disingenuous paragraph, “Nothing in this agreement shall be construed to violate the DNC’s obligation of impartiality and neutrality through the Nominating process.”

Brazile’s effort to rehabilitate her brand has opened a can of worms that are now crawling through the corpse of what once was the Democratic party. This is entirely predictable from a political operative who has specialized in self-inflicted wounds for much of her career. She didn’t have to steal CNN’s questions for Hillary Clinton in the primary debates. Was Hillary so petrified of debating Bernie Sanders that she needed a heads-up on questions in order to prepare? The Clinton campaign says no, which makes one wonder if Brazile was simply trying to ingratiate herself.

No one knew about the debate rigging until November, months after Brazile took the helm following revelations that Debbie Wasserman Schultz colluded with the Clinton campaign to kneecap Bernie Sanders in the primary. In an article that hasn’t aged well, The Guardian said, “Donna Brazile is a smart choice for new DNC chair,” because “worst that could be said is that she’s expressed passing annoyance with the Sanders campaign.” They might want to update that.

Once caught passing questions to the Clinton campaign, Brazile further damaged her brand by dragging her feet for five months before apologizing. Displaying a complete lack of self-awareness, she compared Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly to a street criminal for reporting on leaked information regarding her own leaking of the debate questions. Brazile said: “Podesta’s emails were stolen. You’re so interested in talking about stolen material; you’re like a thief that wants to bring into the night the things that you found that [were] in the gutter.”

She’d later claim the Russians fabricated the Podesta emails to create the illusion that she was caping for Clinton. Through it all she maintained that she felt no guilt or shame: “My conscience — as an activist, a strategist — is very clear.” She came to Jesus and apologized only after launching this flotilla of narratives to excuse her behavior. “By stealing all the DNC’s emails and then selectively releasing those few, the Russians made it look like I was in the tank for Secretary Clinton,” Brazile wrote.

Right up until this week, as her book Hacks is being previewed, Brazile has parroted the party’s lies, and covered up its corruption.

In the notorious excerpt published in Politico, Brazile spins a tale of her truth-seeking journey to find out, for Bernie Sanders, if the primary had been rigged against him. According to the piece, she embarked on her mission in September 2016—four months after the primary.

Brazil suggests she was shocked—SHOCKED—to find out that the primary had been rigged from the beginning. She writes that the scheme was cooked-up by DNC and Clinton campaign’s consigliere, Marc Elias, with Perkins-Coie. As counsel for both the DNC and the Hillary Victory Fund, Elias and Perkins-Coie engineered a strategy that utilized relaxed, post-McCutcheon fundraising limits to divert funds to the campaign. McCutcheon was the Supreme Court decision that removed limits on bundled fundraising for states.

The scheme as designed by Perkins-Coie gathered donations for the DNC, the candidate, and all the states participating in their Joint Fundraising Agreement. States presumably participated under the assumption that the DNC would funnel money raised in their states back to the candidates running down ticket.

Instead, the money that went into state accounts and was sucked right back out, sometimes on the same day. Sanders even filed a complaint about this during the primary (see Part 2 of the DNC Fraud Lawsuit series for a complete discussion). All that big talk about Hillary Clinton being a better Democrat than Bernie Sanders was predicated on the notion that her fundraising was invested in state victory funds for down ballot races, but for the most part that didn’t happen.

How much fundraising are we talking about? Most reports cite the post-McCutcheon figure of $353,400, which reflects the amount one person can give in one year. But in practice, big donors give for both partners in a marriage. Now we’re talking about $706,800. But wait, there’s more. That’s just for one year. Clinton started fundraising in 2015. After the new year, many of her donors re-uppped for a grand total of $1,413,600. When you read that the limit for fundraising in the 2016 presidential cycle was $353,400 that’s wrong. It’s almost a million and a half. 

That money bought a lot of influence flowed right through the DNC, which wanted no part of a candidate like Bernie Sanders, who threatened to rain on their parade.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, you’d think the DNC would do everything in its power to reform that system and repair trust with voters. And you’d be wrong. In response to the Brazile allegations, DNC Chair Tom Perez announced that joint fundraising agreements would NOT go away. In his statement responding to Brazile’s allegations, he unveiled a new and improved joint fundraising agreement, called the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund. It’ll be grassroots-y, we’re to believe.

But there is a deeper issue. Notice that Brazile prefaced her entire chronicle on the fact that Obama and Debbie Wasserman Schultz both left the party in debt. And notice also that Perez isn’t running low on deposit slips for contributions to the party.

That is because it is to their benefit that the party remains in debt. 

As long as the party is in debt, it’s vulnerable to a corporate takeover. Their only goal is to get money by any means necessary. In her apologia, Brazile singles out the Democrats’ most fertile fundraising ground at Martha’s Vineyard, saying that it was after her vacation there in September that the truth about the Joint Fundraising Agreements was made explicit. I’ll bet.

It stretches credulity to the limit that Brazile didn’t know about the fundraising agreements that sold out the DNC fully to the Clinton campaign when she worked in the DNC, as she was stealing debate questions for Hillary during the primary. How could she not have known that Clinton HQ in Brooklyn ran everything, especially data and money.

Brazile might hope to be seen as the new savior of the party, but her storytelling only raises more questions.

In her Politico piece she says, “Debbie was not a good manager…she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired …” How far did this uncontrollable behavior go? What happened the night of the data breach? How did all those 200,000 voters mysteriously get purged in Brooklyn alone? How’d they know which voters to purge? Why did we never see angry Clinton voters complaining that their registrations were purged?

The entire DNC looks so dirty at this point that telling a few tales out of school just ain’t going to fix anything. Sure, Donna Brazile confirmed some things we all suspected. As the old saying goes: A broken clock is right twice a day.

But no one tells you the rest of the saying is “time for a new clock.”

 

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8 comments

  1. steve ellman · · Reply

    Please consider this view (links on request):

    “…At precisely the wrong time, Donna Brazile’s upcoming book has kickstarted the feud all over again, with the Republicans gleefully joining in to support the unfounded—and, generally, pretty stupid—claim that the primary process was “rigged” against Bernie Sanders. That the DNC at least had half-a-thumb on the scale was common knowledge almost from jump; I remember writing about the danger inherent in “clearing the field” for Hillary Rodham Clinton long before the process even really began. But, at least judging by the excerpt in Politico Magazine that has caused all the hubbub, this once again is a fight over nothing.

    The joint fundraising agreement, now being described as a piece of dark magic, was a completely banal campaign-finance mechanism; Sanders, after all, signed one, too. The May, 2016 Politico piece on which Brazile bases a lot of her argument about HRC’s hijacking of the Democratic National Committee was fatally flawed; it made this claim before HRC had clinched the nomination and, therefore, before she could legally transfer money to state candidates, which is Brazile’s primary retroactive gripe. (Writing in The New Republic, Dana Houle explained in July of 2016 how the “rigged primary” narrative fell apart under close inspection.) In any event, instead of taking Brazile’s book simply as one person’s view of what happened, the Democrats promptly (and predictably) have lost their minds over it…”

  2. steve ellman · · Reply

    This came out July of 2015 from Politico:

    “years of neglect from the White House — and what’s perceived by the campaign as mismanagement by DNC leadership — has left the Clinton camp convinced the organization is nowhere near ready for 2016. That starts at the top: Though Clinton and her close circle look on Wasserman Schultz more kindly than do President Barack Obama and White House aides, they are wary of some of the decisions made under her leadership, those who know the Clinton campaign.
    The Clinton campaign’s chief administrative officer, Charlie Baker, is serving as the point man to start laying the groundwork for what Clinton aides expect will be an eventual takeover of the national party structure, according to sources familiar with both DNC and Clinton activity. While DNC staffers are officially neutral, most see her as the eventual nominee, and several staffers describe a “first among equals” approach to her when dealing with the primary field.
    A joint fundraising agreement would enable events to raise the $2,700 maximum for Clinton and the $33,400 level for the DNC from the same donors. The deal is standard practice in primaries, and the DNC is hoping to eventually sign these with all the Democratic candidates.
    The campaign has insisted that any money raised through joint fundraising activities be put in what’s essentially a lockbox until the general election campaign. The DNC wanted access to all the funds immediately. Baker, who’s been negotiating with DNC CEO Amy Dacey, said no.
    Instead, Baker laid out in a series of memos what the campaign will allow spending on, according to people familiar with them: building out the opposition research on Republican candidates as well as improving the DNC’s technological resources and other infrastructure. The memos specifically rule out access for the Clinton campaign to any information the DNC is gathering or tracking on any of the other Democratic candidates.
    One reason the Clinton allies at opposition research group American Bridge spun off the rapid response unit Correct The Record was so that group could coordinate with — and defend — the Clinton campaign because the DNC would not be able to do until after she wrapped up the nomination. But, say Democrats familiar with the decision making, it was also a way for the front-runner’s camp to further empower ally David Brock over Wasserman Schultz.
    The Clinton campaign points as a model to Al Gore’s 2000 campaign: well ahead as a front-runner himself long before he was the nominee, Gore also demanded restrictions on DNC spending out of his joint fundraising agreement until his campaign took full control.”

  3. Fisher Fleming · · Reply

    “Time for a new clock” is right. It’s been fascinating seeing the Hillary faction leaping around like their hair is on fire (and their butts are catching) trying to spin away from this.

    First it was that Brazile made a “mistake” about the timing of agreement (she didn’t) so that the primary couldn’t have been affected (it was).

    Then there was an attempt to call the HVF agreement a “banal” “business as usual,” mechanism, which it was not, either in its scope, or in how early the Clinton campaign locked in its power.

    Then they tried to say Sanders had the same type of agreement. He did not. He was never offered the staffing or messaging power claimed by the Clinton campaign. He did not have the consolidated donor funds to put in the pot, because his base was not the donor class.

    Now that’s been de-debunked, it’s a lot of “Cheating for Clinton couldn’t have influenced things.” Joy Reid has twisted herself into rhetorical knots, interrupting her nonstop stream of insisting that Vladimir Putin is behind every rock and tree, and stole the election with Facebook ads, to literally screaming in all caps:

    YOU CAN’T TRICK PEOPLE INTO VOTING FOR WHO THEY VOTED FOR.

    The hypocritical whiplash has been neck-snapping. They’re caught, have no excuses, and just don’t care. It’s no way to rebuild a party with any way of turning things around in 2018 or 2020.

    Great piece.

  4. steve ellman · · Reply

    “First it was that Brazile made a “mistake” about the timing of agreement (she didn’t) so that the primary couldn’t have been affected (it was).”

    please elucidate

    1. steve ellman · · Reply

      That is: outline the timing and the “affects”
      Please.

  5. Ron Baldwin · · Reply

    The rigging was a direct result of 500 of the 510 superdelegates being pledged to Hillary. Thus she needed only 1,800 elected delegates and Bernie needed 2,300 elected delegates to be the nominee. Get rid of “superdelegates.”

    1. steve ellman · · Reply

      DICKERSON: When Donald Trump said he wasn’t going to participate in the debate, he said — quote — “The Democratic nominating process is totally rigged.” He went on to say: “Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win.”

      Do you agree with his characterization?

      SANDERS: Well, I have been very touched by Donald Trump’s love for me.

      But, John, in all due respect, I think there maybe some aspect of this which he thinks will advantage himself. So, I do appreciate his love and his compassion for me, but I don’t really accept his words.

      Look, we knew when we were in this that we were taking on the entire Democratic establishment. No great secret about that. And yet we have won 20 states. We’re in California right now. I think we have a good chance to win here. I think we have an uphill fight, but there is just a possibility that we may end up at the end of this nominating process with more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton.

      What has upset me, and what I think is — I wouldn’t use the word rigged, because we knew what the words were — but what is really dumb is that you have closed primaries, like in New York state, where three million people who are Democrats or Republicans could not participate, where you have situation where over 400 superdelegates came on board Clinton’s campaign before anybody else was in the race, eight months before the first vote was cast.

      That’s not rigged. I think it’s just a dumb process which has certainly disadvantaged our campaign.

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-the-nation-transcripts-may-29-2016-sanders-johnson-hickenlooper/

  6. Brook Hines is exactly correct in this incisive analysis.

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