The widespread corruption entrenched in the Democratic Party has been well-documented at this point; however, the level to which this corruption has permeated the party continues to reach new heights.
According to reporting by Lee Fang and Zaid Jilani of The Intercept, the 2016 Democratic National Convention will be hosted by a slew of Republican donors, anti-Obamacare lobbyists, and special interest groups.
The 15-member Host Committee generally handles the logistics of organizing the event—they are involved in “planning events for the delegates, fundraising, and handling media relations, among other responsibilities.” Despite the significance of this committee, it appears these hosts are nowhere close to loyal members of the Democratic Party.
Instead, in a party that has moved toward embracing corporate interests, the convention will be organized by individuals such as Daniel Hilferty, a health insurance lobbyist. Hilferty, the current CEO of Independence Blue Cross, will serve as the finance chair—he was previously the head of an insurance lobbying group that “spearheaded the campaign against the Affordable Care Act.”
This lobbying group is also currently funding Republican legislation that is attempting to repeal the ACA.
In addition, Hilferty has donated about $41,700 to fund Republican congressional campaigns.
Other members of the Host Committee include co-chair Allyson Schwartz, who heads an advocacy group for the health insurance industry that has worked to block Obamacare.
It’s not just health insurance lobbyists that are involved, however. To make it blatantly obvious that the convention has been stacked in favor of Hillary Clinton, David Cohen is acting as a special advisor to the Host Committee.
Cohen acts as a bundler for the Clinton campaign, having amassed over $100,000 for her run.
Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell is also chair of the committee—he has endorsed Clinton and told Sanders supporters they must “behave” at the convention.
While President Obama and his administration have attempted to curb special interest and lobbyist influence in fundraising by imposing limits on contributions given to the DNC, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz sought to repeal these limits earlier in 2016.
Schultz is particularly wedded to corporate interests, having advocated for pay-day lenders attempting to “gut new rules intended to rein in predatory payday lending.”
According to Craig Holman, an expert on ethics and campaign finance with Public Citizen, this version of the Democratic Party has simply been simmering underneath the surface during the Obama years.
“The party only went along with the restrictions because Obama was the party leader. As soon as Obama could no longer be viewed as the leader of the party, the DNC quietly repealed the lobbyist restrictions,” he notes.
At this stage, the Democratic Party is no different than the Republican Party in terms of corruption—the Host Committee is perfectly representative of where the interests of the party lie.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Jim Young