In a blistering piece in POLITICO published early Thursday morning, former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile eviscerates her predecessor, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and accuses Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of rigging the primary process against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Brazile writes that when she took over the DNC — after Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign — she promised the progressive Democratic challenger Sanders that she’d “get to the bottom” of allegations that Clinton had stacked the deck inside the DNC.
Brazile says she “followed the money,” through Wasserman Schultz and straight to Clinton, whom Brazile alleges “bought” the DNC before she was ever declared the party’s official candidate. Clinton financed the DNC and used her influence with Wasserman Schultz to curb the party’s spending, making the DNC entirely dependent on Clinton’s campaign and fundraising efforts — and cutting any challengers out of the picture.
The deal between Wasserman Schultz and the Clinton campaign also allowed Hillary and her team to control the “party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised.”
Brazile says the discovery “broke my heart.”
According to Brazile’s allegations, former President Obama left the party more than $20 million in debt, a financial disaster that Brazile says Wasserman Schultz went to great pains to hide from even her DNC colleagues.
Instead of having Obama pay off the debt incrementally with help from DNC fundraising efforts — a key part of the party leadership’s job — Brazile claims Wasserman Schultz allowed Hillary Victory Fund to subsume 80% of the debt, and then dictate the terms of the DNC’s financial operation. Brazile says HVF put the DNC on an “allowance,” making it entirely dependent on Hillary’s victory to survive.
The arrangement also benefited Hillary Clinton because while individual donors can only cut checks of approximately $2,700 to presidential campaigns, they could write quarter-million dollar checks to the Hillary Victory Fund because the organization had already agreed to split the proceeds with the Democratic Party, thus skirting the individual donation caps. Mega-donors took full advantage of the partnership; Harvey Weinstein and George Clooney, for example, both held Clinton fundraisers where guests could contribute up to $350,000.
In essence, the DNC was supposed to be raising money for whomever ended up as the party’s nominee, but instead, because of the deal, there was never a chance that cash would go to anyone other than Hillary Clinton.
Brazile’s allegations are still just that — allegations. She promises to provide more detail in her upcoming book, conveniently titled, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House.
But there is some circumstantial evidence that Brazile is right. According to documents released in a hack of the DNC’s internal server, Hillary Clinton’s team inked similar deals with state parties — agreeing to help handle debt and provide plenty of money if state parties allowed the Clinton camp to subsume control of state-level strategy.