So once again Clinton tried to fool the American people during Thursday night’s debate by claiming she barely does business with the largest liberal Super PAC in the United States. Yet her efforts to appear progressive sorely backfired.
When asked about the wealthy financiers who have donated over $9 million to the super PAC Priorities USA this election cycle, Clinton gave a rather misleading response on her relationship with the corporate stronghold.
“You're referring to a super PAC that we don't coordinate with, that was set up to support President Obama, that has now decided they want to support me,” Clinton said. “They are the ones who should respond to any questions."
She then added, “It's not my PAC.”
To disengage with the monolithic implications the campaign finance question assumedly posed, Clinton subtly mimicked Sanders’ running theme of an “average donation of $27” and touted how 750,000 smaller donors have supported her campaign.
Clinton is correct that the super PAC was established to support President Obama in the 2012 election, but it began working with the Clinton campaign in 2014. Priorities USA is run by a fair amount of Clinton loyalists and former aids. Even Clinton herself, her husband — former President Bill Clinton — and her campaign chairman have all been involved with fundraising efforts. The PAC has even set up a joint fundraising committee with super PAC Correct The Record, which actually does “coordinate” with Clinton’s campaign. So despite what Clinton wants voters to understand, she clearly is manipulating the public’s perspective.
Furthermore, Priorities USA will pump $4.5 million into Clinton’s campaign to “drive early turnout of African American, Latino and female voters in states that hold contests in March,” according to the Washington Post.
In stark contrast, Sanders decried the current campaign finance system, labeling it as “corrupt.” But Clinton argued that Obama “was the recipient of the largest number of donations ever, [but] when it mattered, he stood up and took on Wall Street.”
“He pushed through and passed the Dodd-Frank regulation, the toughest regulations since the 1930s,” she continued. “So let’s not in any way imply here that either President Obama or myself would in any way not take on any vested interest.”
But Sanders slammed back that the Dodd-Frank regulations didn’t go “far enough” and he’s right.
As ThinkProgress notes, “five years after the Great Recession-inspired package of reforms became law, the five biggest banks controlled 44 percent of all U.S. banking assets,” which was an even larger source of financial power than before Dodd-Frank existed.
“Let’s not insult the intelligence of the American people. People aren’t dumb,” Sanders retorted. “Why in God’s name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it, they want to throw money around.”
While Clinton slyly tries to out-progressive her socialist rival based on voter perception, Sanders is the one who has stayed consistent with his political agenda — without any corporate influence attached.
Banner image credit: Reuters