Former Interim DNC Chair Calls Clinton Joint Fundraising Agreement A ‘Cancer’

Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Donna Brazile speaks during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Tuesday, July 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/AP

Former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile has accused the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign of exerting improper financial and decision-making control over the Democratic National Committee well before Clinton became the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.

In a scathing piece in Politico Magazine Thursday, Brazile wrote that Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, signed an agreement with the DNC and the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising operation between the DNC and Clinton’s campaign, in August 2015 — nearly a year before the July 2016 Democratic National Convention — pledging financial support for the DNC in exchange for the Clinton campaign controlling large swaths of the DNC’s internal operations:

The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

Later in the piece, Brazile recalled a phone call she had with Bernie Sanders following Clinton’s nomination: “[T]he cancer was that [Clinton] had exerted this control of the party long before she became its nominee,” she told Sanders. Sanders, she said, “took this stoically.”

Politico reported on Hillary Victory Fund in May 2016. The joint fundraising operation, Politico reported, citing FEC filings, had claimed to fundraise on behalf of state Democratic parties. In reality, according to Politico, those states benefitted little from the operation. The vast majority of the funds went to the national Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign.

Brazile said her own investigation of the DNC’s fundraising operation had confirmed Politico’s work:

I kept asking the party lawyers and the DNC staff to show me the agreements that the party had made for sharing the money they raised, but there was a lot of shuffling of feet and looking the other way.

When I got back from a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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