WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are responding after newly released excerpts from former Democratic National Committee interim chair Donna Brazile’s forthcoming book allege the DNC was rigged in Hillary Clinton’s favor because her campaign was largely financing the party early on in the presidential election.
The excerpts from “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House” were published in Politico on Thursday.
It must be noted that Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign also signed its own joint fundraising agreement with the DNC.
The Democratic strategist said the agreement “was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical.”
“If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity,” Brazile added.
On Friday, Sander’s former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, told CNN he’s upset with the allegations.
“Well I can tell you that I am angry certainly and I’m angry not just for myself but for the millions and millions of people who participated in the Democratic primary process,” Weaver said.
“The rank and file of the Democratic Party should choose the nominee of the party, not party elites, and for too long party elites have dominated what goes on at the very top of the Democratic Party and the rank and file of the party, millions and millions and millions of people across this country have been shut out. That has got to stop.”
In an interview Thursday, Weaver said that the campaign had not initially known the “full scope” of the deal between the Clinton campaign and the DNC, but that the Sanders campaign did see several instances where the DNC seemed to tip the scale toward Clinton, as evidenced by Sanders’ many complaints about the party organization through the primary season.
“The behavior the DNC engaged in was egregious, undemocratic and it can’t be allowed to happen again,” Weaver said.
President Donald Trump issued a series of tweets on Friday calling for the FBI and Department of Justice to look into the allegations.
“Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems…” he tweeted. “New Donna B books says she paid for and stole the Dem Primary. What about the deleted E-mails, Uranium, Podesta, the Server, plus, plus…”.
He then followed up with a third tweet: “People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!”
“Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.”
Politico had reported in August 2015 about the joint fundraising effort, but Brazile’s book suggests its scope — and Clinton’s influence over it — went beyond what was previously known to the public.
The joint fundraising agreements, according to multiple senior Democratic sources with knowledge of the agreements, were a lifeline to a DNC deep in debt.
President Barack Obama had left the party with millions in debt after the 2012 election and was paying the money off far too slowly for most Democrats. To fight this problem, former chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz began taking on costly loans and by the time she approached the Clinton and Sanders campaigns — around Labor Day 2015 — the DNC was nearing the end of their credit rope, a source said.
As CNN reported in May 2016, both Democratic campaigns signed joint fundraising efforts with the Democratic National Committee, allowing the presidential campaigns to raise money for the Democratic committee and a host of state Democratic parties for use in the general election. The agreements, sources told CNN at the time, were the same as the ones Obama’s successful 2008 and 2012 campaigns used.
Clinton, though, was the only candidate to use the agreement, raising by May 2016 close to $50 million for the DNC and state parties through the Hillary Victory Fund.
Clinton, through a spokesperson, declined to comment.
Wasserman Schultz, in a statement, said she is proud of her work at the DNC.
“It was a tremendous honor to be asked by President (Barack) Obama to serve as chair of the DNC. I am proud of the work our team did to support Democrats up and down the ballot in the 2016 election and to re-elect the president in 2012,” Wasserman Schultz said. “With Donald Trump in the White House, Democrats must stay focused on enacting a progressive agenda to protect our citizens, our values and our democracy and remain united towards our goal of electing Democratic congressional majorities in 2018.”