The Democratic Party finds itself embroiled, once again, in a blame game that began when Hillary Clinton became the party’s presidential nominee in 2016. Former Democratic National Committee (DNC) senior official Donna Brazile described – in an explosive tell-all published Thursday by Politico – how Mrs. Clinton practically seized control of the party and rigged the presidential nomination process.
What are the most damning takeaways from Brazile’s astonishingly frank exposé? Former President Barack Obama left the Democratic Party with massive debt, and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz did little to remedy that situation. Wasserman Schultz practically ceded control of the party to the Clinton campaign without consulting other DNC officials, and she kept them in the dark about the organization’s financial problems. Clinton’s campaign took control of the party’s finances shortly after she announced her candidacy.
The Clinton Coup
According to Brazile, the coup was engineered by Clinton campaign manager, Robby Mook, and the campaign then used the DNC as a clearing-house for fundraising to circumvent campaign finance laws.
Take a step back from the shady details of how Hillary Clinton’s people ransacked their own party and held it hostage to her presidential ambition, and one begins to see the truth behind their election disaster. These Machiavellian tactics played a significant role not only in Clinton’s defeat in the race for the White House, but in the party’s dismal results at the state level across the country as well.
Apparently, the Clinton campaign was siphoning money from state parties to fund the presidential campaign, leaving many of them short of funds necessary to fight down-ballot races.
Donna Brazile served as vice-chair of the DNC some years ago, before going to work for CNN. After WikiLeaks released hacked (or leaked) emails revealing that Brazile had passed the questions to the Clinton team ahead of a primary debate, CNN severed ties with her. She soon found herself back at the DNC, then led by Wasserman Schultz. Continuing scandal surrounding internal DNC emails forced Schultz’s resignation, and Brazile took over as interim head.
Following Hillary Clinton’s victory in the presidential nomination contest, Brazile told losing candidate Bernie Sanders that she would seek the truth about suspicions that the process had been tilted against him from the start. What she uncovered, Brazile claims, left her angry and heartbroken.
The DNC Broke and In Debt
Between them, Barack Obama and Debbie Wasserman Schultz did more than just drain the Democratic Party’s coffers; they saddled it with massive debts. Following the 2016 party convention, Brazile discovered that the DNC was not only broke, but $2 million in debt. She was stunned. “Obama left the party $24 million in debt,” she wrote, “$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign.” Compounding the problem, Brazile claims, “[Wasserman Schultz] had stuck lots of consultants on the DNC payroll, and Obama’s consultants were being financed by the DNC, too.”
Brazile’s inquiries into the party’s troubles yielded even more disturbing findings. The Clinton campaign’s chief financial officer, Gary Gensler, revealed to her how the former secretary of state’s people seized control of the party’s purse strings well before Clinton had even secured the presidential nomination.
Campaign Finance Laws Flouted
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook made an agreement with Wasserman Schultz that allowed Clinton to control the party’s finances. Without the consent of DNC officials, the campaign loaned $2 million to the destitute DNC and, in 2016, paid off 80% of its remaining debt. From that point on, they were provided a “monthly allowance” by the campaign.
A joint fundraising body, The Hillary Victory Fund, allowed the campaign to circumvent campaign finance laws, which place limits on the maximum contributions private individuals are allowed to donate. Money given to the party – at both state and national level – was funneled to the Clinton Campaign. All this was taking place even before the primary contest between Clinton and Bernie Sanders ended.
Clinton was practically assured her party’s nomination because her campaign controlled the party’s finances and nearly all aspects of DNC operations. Even press releases had to be approved by Clinton’s Brooklyn-based campaign headquarters.
Regardless of how one feels about Brazile’s political views, her loyalty to – and love of – her party is hardly open to dispute. How much of her Politico piece is about playing the blame game and how much of it is written out of anger at the corruption and betrayal she uncovered has yet to be fully explored.