Former Interim DNC Chair Donna Brazile — who was sent in last year to clean up the mess left behind by Debbie Wasserman Schultz — has just published a tell-all revelation of a DNC rife with corruption, financial mismanagement, and political malpractice.
It’s a revelation that would be startling if it didn’t merely confirm what the leaked DNC emails made public by WikiLeaks last year already revealed, a message most Democrats didn’t want to hear.
The willful ignorance of party corruption played no small role in the feckless nomination of Hillary Clinton by a narrow margin over the popular reform candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, and a stunning defeat against an astoundingly amateur political campaign run by the least popular Republican presidential candidate in U.S. history.
While Brazile’s exposé is titled, “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC,” it paints an unflattering picture of not only Hillary Clinton and her campaign, but of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and even Barack Obama.
The exposé begins:
“My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.”
Obama, criticized throughout his two terms as president for his relative lack of political experience, rode his own party into the White House, and left it in shambles.
The sitting president is usually the de facto leader of which ever political party they belong to, and history may look back on the neglected finances of a bankrupt DNC, and even the ensuing victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton as Barack Obama’s ultimate legacy in U.S. politics.
“Debbie was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.”
Brazile characterizes Wasserman Schultz as an absentee DNC chair, whose failure to raise money for the party and maintain party order made the Democratic Party vulnerable to a hostile takeover by a single presidential campaign — rigging the entire party’s primary against other candidates in a Machiavellian snub to democracy, fairness, order, and process.
While the Florida congresswoman may not have been very interested in managing the party she chaired or raising money for it, Brazile reveals later in her exposé that Wasserman Schultz did have the time and energy to stuff the party’s payrolls with political consultants, hastening its financial ruin by keeping expenses at double the normal levels — essentially stealing Democratic donors’ money to grant and curry political favors:
‘“What’s the burn rate, Gary?” I asked. “How much money do we need every month to fund the party?”
The burn rate was $3.5 million to $4 million a month, he said.
I gasped. I had a pretty good sense of the DNC’s operations after having served as interim chair five years earlier. Back then the monthly expenses were half that. What had happened? The party chair usually shrinks the staff between presidential election campaigns, but Debbie had chosen not to do that. She had stuck lots of consultants on the DNC payroll, and Obama’s consultants were being financed by the DNC, too.
When we hung up, I was livid. Not at Gary, but at this mess I had inherited. I knew that Debbie had outsourced a lot of the management of the party and had not been the greatest at fundraising. I would not be that kind of chair, even if I was only an interim chair. Did they think I would just be a surrogate for them, get on the road and rouse up the crowds? I was going to manage this party the best I could and try to make it better, even if Brooklyn did not like this. It would be weeks before I would fully understand the financial shenanigans that were keeping the party on life support.’
Brazile suggests Clinton’s legacy will be one of corruption and cheating to steal the Democratic nomination in a hostile takeover of the DNC that left state and local Democrats bereft of funds to run against Republicans, increasing the GOP’s dominance of state legislatures and governor’s offices.
‘Right around the time of the convention, the leaked emails revealed Hillary’s campaign was grabbing money from the state parties for its own purposes, leaving the states with very little to support down-ballot races. A Politico story published on May 2, 2016, described the big fund-raising vehicle she had launched through the states the summer before, quoting a vow she had made to rebuild “the party from the ground up … when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.”
Yet the states kept less than half of 1 percent of the $82 million they had amassed from the extravagant fund-raisers Hillary’s campaign was holding, just as Gary had described to me when he and I talked in August. When the Politico story described this arrangement as “essentially … money laundering” for the Clinton campaign, Hillary’s people were outraged at being accused of doing something shady. Bernie’s people were angry for their own reasons, saying this was part of a calculated strategy to throw the nomination to Hillary.’
This calculated move put Hillary Clinton in firm control of a party machinery that was supposed to be an impartial arbiter between her and other non-incumbent primary candidates:
“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.
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.
I had been wondering why it was that I couldn’t write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.”
Brazile’s opinion of all this? Rigged:
‘The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund 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.
I had to keep my promise to Bernie. I was in agony as I dialed him. Keeping this secret was against everything that I stood for, all that I valued as a woman and as a public servant.
“Hello, senator. I’ve completed my review of the DNC and I did find the cancer,” I said. “But I will not kill the patient.”’
And Donna Brazile’s own legacy in all of this is her complicity in it by publishing this piece now instead of before the election. She speaks of Hillary’s hostile takeover of the party as cancerous, but she was clearly sick herself with the characteristic illness of American politics: partisanship.
She put her party above the truth. She waited to tell voters about what she knew because she wanted the candidate with the (D) next to their name to win.
Finally, the media’s legacy — the media which overwhelmingly predicted a Hillary Clinton victory over Donald Trump to their own shock and embarrassment one year ago — will be one of complicity in willfully ignoring and obfuscating what the WikiLeaks disclosures revealed about Hillary Clinton and DNC corruption.
Photo Source: AP