In an unsurprising development, analysis by Politico has revealed that Hillary Clinton’s defense for the obscene amounts of money she raises via wealthy donors is completely spurious.
Of the $60 million raised in fundraisers ostensibly meant to help down ballot Democrats, only 1 percent has gone to Democratic state committees. The rest has been funneled back to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and ultimately into the Clinton campaign.
Reports of this scheme have been floating around for a few months at this point; Counterpunch originally investigated the laundering in an enlightening piece titled “How Hillary Clinton Bought the Loyalty of 33 State Democratic Parties.”
The Bernie Sanders campaign also gave notice to this—the campaign’s attorney, Brad Deutsch, wrote a letter to DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in April, “[questioning] ‘serious apparent violations’ of campaign finance laws under a joint fundraising deal between Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.”
The Clinton campaign attempted to paint this as a smear and discredited any notions of wrongdoing.
However, Politico is the first major outlet to pick up on the realities behind Clinton’s fundraising, and it may finally obtain the mainstream media coverage it deserves.
The fundamentals behind Clinton’s fundraising machinations involve a fundraising entity called the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF). The HVF is a joint fundraising committee and includes the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and 32 state democratic parties.
By allowing donors to donate directly to the HVF, it legally permits them to circumvent campaign finance laws concerning donation limits (which are limited to $2700 per individual). Through the HVF, donors can donate up to $356,100: a maximum of $2700 for the Clinton campaign, $33,400 to the DNC, and $10,000 to all of the 32 state democratic parties involved.
While Clinton has claimed a majority of the money raised through this venture benefits state democratic parties, Politico’s analysis of FEC filings exposes that most of this money is transferred almost immediately back to the DNC and Hillary For America (the Clinton campaign)—the HVF transferred $15.4 million to the Clinton campaign and $5.7 million to the DNC.
Even the money transferred to the DNC can be traced to funding the Clinton campaign. Politico notes that the “expenses that appear to have directly benefited Clinton’s campaign, including $2.8 million for ‘salary and overhead’ and $8.6 million for web advertising that mostly looks indistinguishable from Clinton campaign ads.”
This cements the obvious notion that Clinton has the DNC in her pocket.
The state democratic parties largely receive no money at all, and are “essentially acting as money laundering conduits for [Clinton’s campaign and the DNC].”
This evasion and morally ambiguous form of fundraising is reflective of how Clinton is viewed by the public—there is a reason she has sky-high unfavorable ratings and is seen as untrustworthy by millions of Americans.
The Sanders campaign immediately put out a press release, criticizing Clinton for this lack of transparency.
“If Secretary Clinton can’t raise the funds needed to run in a competitive primary without resorting to laundering, how will she compete against Donald Trump in a general election?” Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, asked.
“Hillary Clinton says that campaign finance reform is one of the most important issues facing our country but her campaign’s use of the Victory Fund to essentially launder money proves otherwise,” Weaver said. “You cannot exploit a broken campaign finance system one day and vow to get big money out of politics the next.”
Weaver accurately sums up the issues that exist with Clinton’s campaign and why she is such a weak Democratic candidate.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts