WASHINGTON, D.C. – Donna Brazile’s book “Hacks” provides new documentation that Hillary’s campaign and the Democratic National Party, in conjunction with attorneys from Perkins Coie, violated Hillary Victory Fund rules to divert contributions intended for the state parties to pay off the massive DNC debt Obama left behind.
In describing how she learned about the money-laundering scam the Clinton campaign was running with the Hillary Victory Fund, Brazile confirmed Bernie Sanders was right when he blew the whistle during the campaign, accusing the Clintons of running a money-laundering scheme that deprived the state Democratic Parties of funds that had been raised for their benefit.
On Jan. 11, 2017, Infowars.com documented that attorneys from Perkins Coie who were aware of the problem advised Hillary’s campaign of public relations responses to defuse Sanders’ criticism
Unravelling how Donna Brazile’s narrative provides confirmation the DNC was aware Bernie Sanders was right in exposing how the Clintons had created a money-laundering scam to violate Hillary Victory Fund rules began when the Clinton campaign realized Barack Obama left the DNC broke, some $15 million in debt after the 2012 election
Obama left DNC in debt
On page 33, Brazile admits the Hillary Victory Fund was used to pay off the DNC debt left by Obama. There, 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 and the Hillary Victory Fund had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the DNC on an allowance.
On pages 34-35, Brazile correctly notes the appeal of the Hillary Victory Fund was that the fund increased the amount an individual donor could contribute:
Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to HFA [Hillary for America] could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund—that figure represented $10,000 to each of the thirty-two states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement—$320,000—and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that.
Brazile’s first problem occurred when she realized that Hillary’s campaign had begun controlling the disbursement of the Hillary Victory Fund before Hillary became the nominee. On page 35, Brazile continues the narrative, writing:
“Wait,” I said. “That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You’re telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?”
Gary said the campaign had to do it or the party would collapse.
“That was the deal that Robby struck with Debbie,” Gary said. “It was to sustain the DNC. We sent the party nearly $20 million from September until the convention, and more to prepare for the election.”
Gary Gensler, the former undersecretary of the Treasury under Clinton and chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under Obama, told Brazile when she replaced Debbie Wasserman Schultz as head of the DNC that the DNC was at that time still $2 million in debt. Robby Mook was Hillary’s campaign manager.
Hillary Victory Fund’s celebrity scheme
The Clinton campaign realized early in the game that top-dollar millionaire and billionaire Democratic Party donors wanted to contribute several hundred thousand dollars to Hillary’s campaign, but were constrained by FEC limits to individual and spousal contributions that can lawfully be made to a candidate.
The Hillary Victory Fund, however, was created to utilize the Supreme Court decision McCutcheon v FEC that allowed mega-donor fundraising schemes through funds like the Hillary Victory Fund to throw out aggregate limits on what a donor might give to the party in a given year.
For instance, in an email exchange in November 2015, Podesta expressed irritation that the Clinton campaign wanted him to “hit up his clients” to contribute $33,400 per person, or between $66,000 to $100,000 per couple, to attend a Hillary Victory Fund event in New York City, joining Hillary and Bill Clinton for dinner, in an “intimate evening” designed to feature “a memorable performance” by Sting.
Other celebrity events involved the Democrats charging $353,000 for an April 16, 2016, dinner for two seats at the head table with Hillary Clinton, actor George Clooney, and Clooney’s wife, attorney Amil Clinton.
Eleven sponsors each gave more than $100,000 to attend a Hillary Victory Fund Elton John concert at Radio City Music Hall on March 3, 2016, with Hillary and her family, former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton.
In other instances, senior DNC officials scrambled to arrange special “packages” for high-dollar donors, as indicated by an email exchange in which DNC officials discussed what “special convention package” can be given to reward Wharton associate professor Eric Schoenberg for sending a $75,000 wire transfer from his Fidelity account to help pay the costs of the DNC convention in Philadelphia.
These emails indicate Schoenberg had already received tickets to a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame event for a previous $25,000 contribution to the DNC.
Key to keep in mind is that under FEC laws, all that the Hillary for America primary campaign could accept from an individual donor was a maximum of $2,700 for the primary election and an additional $2,700 for the general election.
But by setting up the Hillary Victory Fund as a joint committee between the Hillary campaign and the 32 state party committees, the super-wealthy could contribute as much as $712,220, with $356,100 for the primary phase of the campaign, and a second $356,100 for the general campaign after the primaries were over.
What Donna Brazile realized after she took over the DNC when Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned over the WikiLeaks email scandal was that Hillary Clinton diverted the Hillary Victory Fund money away from the states in an apparent money-laundering scheme that forced the states to wire the money back to the DNC almost as soon as the Hillary Victory Fund had wired to the states their portions.
Finally, Brazile realized that Hillary’s campaign devised and implemented this scheme only after the DNC agree to allow Hillary before she was the nominee to control the DNC, in exchange for diverting to the DNC from the states the states’ share of the Hillary Victory Fund proceeds.
Perkins Coie gives PR advice
In an email exchange in April 2016, Graham Wilson, a Perkins Coe attorney, advised officials at the DNC to be circumspect in responding to questions being asked by Politico reporter who suspected the DNC was using the Victory Fund to circumvent campaign finance contribution limits.
Specifically, Politico reporter Kenneth Vogel was investigating whether the Clinton campaign had developed a strategy to use the Hillary Victory Fund to raise money for state DNC operations as a means of dramatically increasing legally campaign contribution limits, even though the DNC never intended to pass the money back to the states
In particular, Vogel was asking the following: “Of the $3.8 million that HVF [Hillary Victory Fund] has transferred to the state parties through 3/31/16, $3.3 million has been transferred almost immediately to the DNC. That means that through 3/31 the state parties have kept $500k – or less than 1 percent – of the $61 million raised by the HVF. Why so little?”
What Vogel correctly suspected was this: “Based on these numbers, are Hillary Clinton and her allies overstating their support for state parties?”
Wilson’s advice was for the DNC to tell Vogel the DNC at the national level “for critical investments in infrastructure, maintaining the DNC’s national voter file, and bolstering our research, communications and digital capabilities, all of which will help elect Democrats up and down the ballot in November and help strengthen state parties across the country.”
In the email exchange with the outside counsel, the DNC also made clear the DNC was running the money through Amalgamated Bank, one of the largest union-owned banks in the United States, owned by the SEIU – a union strongly supporting the Democratic Party and Hillary’s candidacy.
One particularly hilarious email exchange documented the DNC had so much money coming in to the campaign that a $50,000 check from a top contributor could not be found simply because campaign officials were confused whether the check had been sent directly to the DNC office in Washington, or to Amalgamated Bank to be deposited in a DNC account.
An email from the DNC included in the WikiLeaks Podesta email file makes clear Amalgamated Bank was the bank where funds were wired to the DNC General Fund.
Politico blows the whistle
An article published by Kenneth Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf in Politico on May 2, 2016, the suspected money-laundering scheme was revealed.
By including the 32 states with state committees, the DNC could solicit checks of $350,000 from super-rich Hillary supporters into the Hillary Victory Fund that allowed the DNC to host extravagant fundraisers featuring the ability to interact personally with Hillary.
Had the scheme to include the state parties not been concocted, the limit on an individual contribution to the Hillary Victory Fund would have been in the range of $30,000 – not large enough to be of serious interest to Hillary or her well-heeled wealthy supporters in Hollywood and New York City.
So, what the DNC did was to wire Hillary Victory Fund money to the states one day, with the agreement the states would wire the money back to the Hillary Victory Fund the next day in an apparently obvious scheme designed to circumvent the caps placed by FEC campaign laws and regulations on individual contributions.
The Politico article concluded the following: “Between the creation of the victory fund in September and the end of last month, the fund had brought in $142 million, the lion’s share of which — 44 percent — has wound up in the coffers of the DNC ($24.4 million) and Hillary for America ($37.6 million), according to a POLITICO analysis of FEC reports filed this month. By comparison, the analysis found that the state parties have kept less than $800,000 of all the cash brought in by the committee — or only 0.56 percent.”
Politico commented the Hillary Victory Fund through April 2016 had transferred $3.8 million to the state parties, but most of that cash ($3.3 million, or 88 percent) was transferred back to the DNC, usually within a day or two.
The money-laundering accusations focused on the fact the Hillary Victory Fund only wired money to the states for a few hours when the exceptions granted the Hillary Victory Fund were predicated on the mega-donations flowing to the state parties for the state parties to use for their own benefit.
Bernie Sanders cries foul
On May 2, 2016, Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver charged Hillary’s campaign was engage in a “money-laundering” conduit that required state party leaders to keep less than 1 percent of the millions raised by the Hillary Victory Fund, even though Clinton’s campaign was relying upon the states to shut up and go along.
“Secretary Clinton is looting funds meant for state parties to skirt fundraising limits on her presidential campaign,” Weaver charged. “We think the Clinton campaign should let the state parties keep their fair share of the cash.”
An article published in Wisconsin during the campaign made clear many prominent contributors to Hillary’s campaign used the Hillary Victory Party state-funding scam to contribute over $300,000.
The list included the following:
- Haim Saban, $343,400 and Cheryl Saban, $353,400: Israeli-American media magnate who is currently head of Univision.
- Alice Walton, $353,400: #`6 on the Forbes List of World Billionaires and heiress to the Walton empire.
- George Soros, $343,400: Creator of Open Society Foundation, also donated $8 million to the leading Super PAC supporting Hillary’s presidential campaign.
- Jeffrey Katzenberg, $353,400: Former chair of Disney Corp and CEO of DreamWorks Animation.
- B. Pritzker, $330,000 and Mary Pritzker, $330,000: Hyatt Hotel heir. Brother to Penny Pritzker, former Secretary of Commerce.
Brazile confirms Politico was right
Returning to Brazile’s book, her narrative proves the DNC did nothing when she realized the Clinton’s were diverting money from states to pay off DNC debt large-dollar contributions to the Hillary Victory Fund that were only justified by rules specifying
On page 94 of her book, Brazile makes clear that once she took over control of the DNC, she realized the Clinton campaign had formulated an agreement with Debbie Wasserman Schultz that allowed the Clinton campaign to take over control of the DNC, in exchange for paying off the DNC debt Obama had left behind.
When I got back from Martha’s Vineyard I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.
The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey 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. 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.
On page 97, Brazile confesses the following:
The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. 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.
In the debate that continues, with campaign finance experts agreeing the Clinton fundraising efforts fell into a “grey area,” very possibly violating FEC campaign finance laws.
“It clearly goes against what was intended for the joint fundraising committees,” said Larry Noble, the general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, who served for 13 years as general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, as reported by Politico.
“This is clearly a solicitation for Hillary Clinton,” and not in the way joint fundraising committees were intended to be used, Noble remarked.