In response to former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Donna Brazile’s recent accusations that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren stated several times during separate interviews that the process had been rigged against Bernie Sanders. Instead of accepting the moral victory with a modicum of dignity, President Donald Trump incessantly gloated on Twitter while insulting Sens. Warren and Sanders.
On Thursday, Politico released excerpts from Brazile’s new book titled “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.” According to Brazile, her predecessor DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz neglected fundraising while refusing to cut costs, resulting in the Democratic Party owing millions of dollars in debt.
“Officials from Hillary’s campaign had taken a look at the DNC’s books,” Brazile wrote. “Obama left the party $24 million in debt – $15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign – and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.”
While publicly supporting state parties and down-ballot races, Clinton’s campaign reportedly grabbed more than 99 percent of the $82 million gathered in political contributions, leaving the states with less than half of 1 percent. Due to campaign contribution limits, Clinton could not access that amount of money unless she also had legal control of the DNC’s finances.
“Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund – that figure represented $10,000 to each of the 32 states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement – $320,000 – and $33,400 to the DNC,” Brazile explained. “The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.”
Shortly after the forced resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Brazile found the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America. Signed in August 2015, the document stated Clinton had gained control of the Democratic Party at least a year before officially receiving the nomination.
“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,” Brazile continued. “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.”
After reading the recent disclosures, Sen. Warren appeared on several news outlets, including CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” and PBS “NewsHour.” When directly asked if the Democratic primary had been rigged against Sanders, Warren responded, “Yes.”
During an interview on PBS “NewsHour,” Warren asserted, “I think it was. What we have to focus on now as Democrats is we recognize the process was rigged and now it is up to Democrats to build a new process; a process that really works and works for everyone.”
As the special prosecutor’s office began announcing indictments and at least one conviction involving Trump’s campaign officials this week, Trump took to Twitter once again to divert attention from the looming Russia investigation. On Friday, he tweeted, “The real story on Collusion is in Donna B’s new book. Crooked Hillary bought the DNC & then stole the Democratic Primary from Crazy Bernie!”
Directly addressing Warren’s recent comments, Trump also tweeted, “Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Let’s go FBI & Justice Dept.”
“The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical,” Brazile conceded. “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.”