Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Clinton Campaign Scandals

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By the time Hillary Clinton secured her party’s nomination during the Democratic National Convention on July 26, 2016, she and the DNC were already knee-deep in scandals. Some had already begun to come to light, while others would take more time. The past few weeks have shed much new light on political corruption, illegal practices, and unethical activities in both the Clinton campaign and the DNC, to such a degree that it is difficult to imagine either of them bouncing back unscathed.

Of course, this writer stated that Clinton secured her party’s nomination, not that she won it, because stealing isn’t winning. And as The New American reported in an online article on July 26, 2016, hours before Clinton’s certain nomination:

As a direct result of WikiLeaks publishing nearly 20,000 DNC e-mails, the Clinton campaign and the DNC itself are scrambling for damage control. In fact, the DNC chairperson, Congresswoman Deborah Wasserman Schultz, has resigned over the scandal. Some of those e-mails show DNC leadership discussing plans to directly manipulate events to favor Hillary Clinton in the bid for the nomination to be the Democrat candidate — in direct violation of the DNC charter, which requires that it remain neutral during the primary cycle. Undermining the San­ders campaign — which was seen as a viable threat to the Clinton campaign — seems to have been a priority of the leadership of a party that claims to be “democratic.”

The leaked DNC e-mails — published by WikiLeaks just days before the convention began — demonstrate efforts to hurt the campaign of Bernie Sanders even as he was continuing to gain steam in the primaries. E-mail after e-mail shows DNC leaders planning to discredit Sanders and bolster Clinton. Other e-mails — sent months ahead of the convention  — show DNC leaders, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz, planning to send announcements to supporters and donors — announcements that assume Clinton as the nominee.

Democrat Damage Control

After WikiLeaks published the e-mails, the DNC went into damage-control mode. Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign. Donna Brazile, who was shown by the leaked DNC e-mails to have used her position with CNN to pass along debate questions to Hillary Clinton in advance of the debates, served as interim chair from the time of the convention until after the election. The DNC replacement of Wasserman Schultz with Brazile is a perfect example to illustrate the ethics of the Left. They simply prioritized their scandals.

When it very quickly became clear that the DNC e-mail scandal wasn’t going away, the DNC and Clinton campaign began blaming the leaked e-mails on Russia. Despite the claims to the contrary by WikiLeaks and a pile of evidence, Clinton and the DNC claimed that the e-mails weren’t leaked, they were hacked. And when WikiLeaks followed up by publishing a trove of Clinton campaign e-mails in mid-October, Clinton and the DNC repeated the Russian hacker mantra. Clinton took it to the next level, claiming that Trump was the intended beneficiary of the alleged Russian hacking. At the third and final presidential debate, Clinton — while dodging questions about the content of the e-mails — went so far as to call Trump “Putin’s puppet.”

She, the DNC, and the liberal media repeated the “Putin’s puppet” mantra all the way through the election. After Clinton lost to Trump, the mantra reached a fevered pitch. Then, just before President-elect Trump was inaugurated, the liberal media published an “intelligence dossier” containing unsubstantiated, salacious accusations that Trump was being controlled by the Kremlin as a form of blackmail and supported by the Kremlin to help in his race against Clinton.

The “dossier” — which has since been discredited as rife with errors and fabrications — seemed to confirm Clinton’s claims about Trump. That is because it was bought and paid for by Clinton and the DNC to perpetuate those claims. That in and of itself — aside from the fact that the document is full of salacious lies — would be a perfectly legal and legitimate political activity; campaigns and parties often finance “opposition research.” But given the “ethics” of Clinton and the DNC, it is no surprise that in funding the fake dossier, they broke campaign finance laws by failing (read: refusing) to disclose the funding.

For more than a year, the people involved in funding the “dossier” lied about having anything to do with it. But by this October, reports began to emerge that unraveled their lies. The Washington PostDaily Mail, Seattle Times, and other media reported on October 24 and 25 that Marc Elias, a Clinton campaign lawyer, had acted as the intermediary between the Clinton campaign and the DNC on the one side and Fusion GPS — which prepared the “dossier” — on the other side. And two reporters from the New York Times — fed up with the lies — took to Twitter on October 24 to call out the people behind the “dossier” as liars.

Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.” Kenneth Vogel was less subtle, tweeting, “When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer @marceelias pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’”

Clinton and the DNC were so dedicated to keeping their involvement in the creation of the “dossier” a secret that they described the payments to Fusion GPS as “legal services” paid to Marc Elias. This is a clear violation of campaign finance laws requiring campaigns and parties to show an accounting of what monies come in (and from whom) and what monies go out (and to whom and for what). The nonprofit Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on October 25, claiming that the Clinton campaign and the DNC violated federal law when they “undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures” by “filing misleading reports.” If the FEC decides to investigate, this could be added to the list of new investigations that are listed in the article on page 17.

Enter Donna Brazile

Before the dust could settle from those revelations, Donna Brazile staged a comeback by releasing a “tell-all” (or more accurately, a “tell-some/spin-all”) book on November 7. The book details the corruption that marked the Clinton Campaign and DNC during the 2016 election cycle. In promoting the book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, Brazile published an article in Politico on November 2. Her book and the article claim that Clinton stole the nomination and then blew the election.

Brazile wrote that she had made a promise to Bernie Sanders to “get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested.” (It appears that repeating the Russian hacker mantra is a hard habit to break.) While it must be remembered that Brazile was a willing participant in the very corruption she is now exposing, it is also important to note that the most damning of her claims are well documented.

In her Politico piece, Brazile wrote that by the time she took over as interim chair of the DNC, the party was in deep financial trouble because of the poor leadership of Wasserman Schultz and the “neglect” of President Obama. In describing the degree to which the Blue party was so deeply in the red, Brazile recounts a telephone conversation with Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of the Clinton campaign. In that call — the Saturday after the DNC convention in July — she says Gensler “wasted no words,” adding, “He told me the Democratic Party was broke and $2 million in debt.” Brazile said she told him that she had been told “everything is fine” and the party was “raising money with no problems.”

Photo: AP Images

This article appears in the December 4, 2017, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.

She wrote that Gensler told her that “Obama left the party $24 million in debt” and “had been paying that off very slowly,” but that “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.” After paying off the lion’s share of the DNC’s debt, Clinton “had placed the party on an allowance.”

Brazile writes of all the calls, visits, and digging it took for her to discover a document — the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America — that had been used by Clinton to take over the party almost as soon as she had announced her candidacy and nearly a year before she actually had the authority — as the nominee — to do so.

In her Politico piece, Brazile wrote:

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 said she finally understood “why it was that I couldn’t write a press release without passing it by [Clinton’s headquarters in] Brooklyn.”

By controlling the money, Brazile contends, Clinton controlled the entire party. After all, the alternative version of the Golden Rule says, “The one with the gold makes the rules.” In Clinton’s case, though, it wasn’t gold, but the ill-gotten gains from her dirty dealings with Russia and others. And once Clinton had control of the party, stealing the nomination was easy.

And while Brazile should be seen for what she is (a co-conspirator throwing everyone else under the bus for her own purposes) instead of the way she portrays herself (a dogged detective, tracking down lead after lead in an untiring effort to crack the case), it should be noted that she is not alone in her assessment of the facts. Both the Huffington Post and CNN reported on November 2 that Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she believes the DNC rigged the nomination for Clinton as a result of Clinton controlling the party’s finances.

On September 7, Brazile called San­ders and confirmed his suspicions that Clinton had stolen the nomination, describing Clinton as a “cancer” in the body of the DNC.

Brazile told MSNBC that after Clinton bought controlling interest in the party and stole the nomination, her campaign began behaving like “a cult,” adding, “You could not penetrate them.” She said her hands were tied and that she could not convince Clinton to campaign in several states that wound up going for Trump in the election. In her book, Brazile described the monthly allowance Clinton doled out to the party as a “starvation diet.” “I cannot help a candidate,” Brazile told MSNBC, “if I don’t have the resources, if I cannot spend the resources that the party is raising.” So while Clinton was able to successfully use her millions in bribes from Russia and others to control the party and secure the nomination, hanging onto that financial control may have been her undoing.

Clinton was such a weak candidate that Brazile’s book describes the campaign as “anemic” and imbued with “the odor of failure.” In fact, Brazile considered using Clinton’s ill health on September 11, 2016 (when she collapsed leaving the 9/11 memorial) to begin the process of replacing her as the candidate. Party rules allow the chair to initiate that process if the candidate is incapacitated. Brazile wrote that after considering dozens of possible tickets, she had settled on Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), but decided against initiating the replacement process because of “all the women in the country” who were excited about the prospect of a woman president, writing, “I could not do this to them.” Ah, that awkward moment when a person’s sex completely overrides their lack of ability.

In the end, it appears that the utter lack of anything resembling ethics in the Clinton campaign and the DNC is what put Hillary Clinton within striking distance of the White House and is what kept her out. These scandals (and there may be others yet unknown) demonstrate that as well as anything.

Photo: AP Images

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