Donna Brazile's "Proof" Of Clinton Rigging The DNC Has Bernie Fans Up In Arms
Well over a year after the primary race for the Democratic nomination for president ended, a former leader of the party has detailed how she says she discovered that the process was tilted in Hillary Clinton's favor, seemingly confirming the suspicions of skeptical supporters of Bernie Sanders. That leader is Donna Brazile, the former interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In a essay published by Politico on Thursday, Nov. 2, Brazile said she found proof Clinton's campaign had signed a deal with the DNC that was "unethical" and "compromised the party’s integrity."
The deal was a "Joint Fund-Raising Agreement" (JFA) between the DNC and Clinton's campaign. The pact essentially allowed the campaign to raise larger individual contributions than usual, Brazile explains. The limit for a individual contribution directly to a presidential campaign is was $2,700. With the JFA in place, however, donors could contribute up to $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fund between the DNC and the Clinton campaign, Hillary for America, Brazile says.
Within her essay, the former chairwoman said that such an agreement is only supposed to take place once a nominee has secured the nomination. She later narrates the moment she discovered the details of the deal.
"Wait," Brazile recalls telling Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Hillary’s campaign. "That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You’re telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?"
"That was the deal that Robby struck with Debbie," Gensler responded, according to Brazile's account. "It was to sustain the DNC. We sent the party nearly $20 million from September until the convention, and more to prepare for the election."
That the Clinton campaign had signed such an agreement with the DNC has already been reported. Back in 2015, the New York Times did as much when it detailed that four different Democratic state parties had agreed to JFA's around four months after Clinton launched her campaign. The Bernie Sanders campaign had made public its issue with the JFAs, too. A letter written on behalf of the campaign in April 2016 read,
The Hillary Victory Fund has reported receiving several individual contributions in amounts as high as $354,400 or more, which is over 130 times the $2,700 limit that applies for contributions to Secretary Clinton's campaign. Bernie 2016 is particularly concerned that these extremely large-dollar individual contributions have been used by the Hillary Victory Fund to pay for more than $7.8 million in direct mail efforts and over $8.6 million in online advertising, both of which appear to benefit only HFA [Hillary for America] by generating low-dollar contributions that flow only to HFA, rather than to the DNC or any of the participating state party committees.
Still, Brazile's account adds new details to the narrative. The former interim chairwoman says that — because of the agreement — the Clinton campaign essentially ran the DNC and would control all the "finances, strategy, and all the money raised" by the organization.
She also referred to the deal as a "cancer" for the party, adding that much of the money the party raised went to the Clinton campaign, to the detriment of funding for local races. Brazile additionally said that the deal had been made because the DNC had been in debt — which she partly blamed on former President Barack Obama's "neglect".
On Twitter, the revelation drew ire from people defending Sanders.
Sanders' campaign signed a JFA months after the Clinton campaign, but never used it, according to NBC News' Mark Murray.