Swanson: Donna Brazile Has Revealed the Corrupt State of the DNC in 2016 and We Should All Be Furious

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On Nov. 2, former head of the Democratic National Party Donna Brazile wrote an article in advance of her upcoming book “Hacks” for Politico. Both the book and the article focus on the state of the DNC after the end of the reign of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary Clinton’s loss last November. To be blunt, it doesn’t paint the organization of the party in the most flattering light. The party that Brazile presented in her article is one in dire straits. It shows a neglected, broken and manipulated political organization that was completely under the control of Clinton’s team.

One of the first things that Brazile talks about in her article, is the financial woes plaguing the party. After the July democratic convention Brazile spoke with chief financial officer of Clinton’s campaign Gary Gensler, who promptly informed her that the Clinton team looked into the DNC’s finances and that they were several millions of dollars in debt. This apparently was due in large part to the neglect of a re-elected President Obama who had left the party 24 million dollars in debt, as well as the poor management led by Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

This severe deficit caused the party to rely heavily on the Hillary campaign in 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 party on an allowance,” wrote Brazile in her article. This is one of her many examples of the Clinton’s camps’ control over the DNC.

To further show how out of control the party was at this point, Schultz did not ask her fellow officers of the party for permission to make these financial decisions, let alone inform them. When Brazile called Gensler she was still an officer of the party under Schultz, yet this phone call was the first she had heard of the Democrats’ money problems. Before then, she was informed that fundraising was very successful and that the party was in fine shape. Brazile said that this wasn’t an uncommon thing under Schultz and that she often made decisions for the sake of the party without consulting her officers and would only tell them right before the implementation of her decisions. “She told us about the hacking only minutes before the Washington Post broke the news.”

Brazile also claims that the Democrat victory fund was being forwarded to the Clinton campaign months before the nomination. In an agreement with the Clinton campaign manager and Schultz, donations made to the victory fund were to be sent to Hillary for America headquarters in Brooklyn, a result of how Clinton and her campaign essentially kept the party from collapsing and imploding on itself. This had been arranged months before the Democratic Party Convention; the victory fund is intended for the nominee selected at the convention.

Between presidential campaigns the party usually shortens staff and is more conservative with their money and funding, however Brazile reports that Schultz failed to do that between the Obama re-election effort and the effort to elect Clinton. She even continued to pay Obama’s advisers and kept them on the payroll after the election. By keeping such a large staff between elections Schultz created a scenario where the Democratic Party was constantly spending the money they would during an election without the fundraising that comes from an election.

When Brazile asked DNC staff and attorneys for the agreements between the campaign and the party over the direction of the finances between both organizations, she often found it hard to get anything solid out of them. However, she at last found what she was looking for in a document called the Joint-Fund-Raising Agreement.

“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. 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.”

Brazile describes a Democratic Party controlled and molded in the vision of Clinton. The agreement that gave her such a solid hold on the direction of the Democratic Party was allegedly signed in August 2015, nearly 11 months before she would be named the nominee.

Hearing this should alarm and outrage voters who appreciate the democratic process in America. This should be especially disturbing to those who are registered as a democrat and voted in this past election. The fact that a candidate had control of a party they weren’t even voted to lead should trouble even voters who were with Hillary from the start. Those who voted for Bernie Sanders or supported him and his efforts in any way are justified in their suspicion and distrust of the DNC after learning how he never had the support of the party and wasn’t even considered.

To the defense of the DNC, Brazile may not be the most reliable narrator for this story. The leaks made public by WikiLeaks shows a Brazile who might have been complicit with the DNC prematurely putting their chips on Clinton. It’s very possible that Brazile is only doing this now to alienate herself from the mess that was the Democratic Party in the 2016 election. But with the parallels that are seen between what WikiLeaks revealed and Brazile’s account, it’s now becoming obvious just how corrupt and broken the DNC was. It’s now even more apparent how responsible Clinton and her team were for the fall of the Democrats in 2016, and how that ultimately led to President Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office, which should upset anyone who isn’t exactly his biggest fan.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

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