Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Leaked DNC E-mails Show Federal Appointments as Payoff for Donors

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The fallout continues for the Democratic National Committee as more and more is known about what is in the nearly 20,000 leaked e-mails released to the Web by WikiLeaks. Still reeling from the clear evidence that they manipulated events to rig the primary process in favor of Hillary Clinton, DNC leaders and staffers will now have to face the music over e-mails that show that at least some major donors were slated for federal appointments in a glaring example of quid pro quo.

The disclosure comes in part from documents — including a spreadsheet showing proposed appointments — sent as e-mail attachments. That spreadsheet — attached to an e-mail dated April 26 — shows the names of 23 high-level DNC donors who were slated for federal appointments if the Democrat candidate (who had not yet been chosen) were to win the presidential race. The vast majority of the people whose names appear on the list are also donors to the Clinton campaign. While some of the donors gave only to the DNC and not to Clinton, none of them gave to Sanders. This is one more piece of the puzzle demonstrating that the DNC — having fixed things for a Clinton nomination — was already certain enough of the outcome of the nomination process to begin putting wheels in motion to reward those who supported Clinton (or at least exclude those who supported Sanders) by way of cushy federal appointments.

While it has been largely assumed that this type of quid pro quo is the norm in both major political parties (where there is smoke, there is usually fire), this is the clearest piece of documented evidence ever to come to light.

The DNC and the Clinton campaign will have quite a time of disavowing this. The title of the document — Boards and Commissions Names_Final.xlsx — leaves little room to claim it was anything other than what it was: a list of people to be paid off at taxpayers’ expense.

The e-mail that included the spreadsheet (as an attachment) is part of an e-mail chain that began on April 20 from DNC National Finance Director Jordan Kaplan. In the e-mail, he wrote, “This is the last call for boards and commissions; if you have someone, send to comer [sic] - full name, city, state, email and phone number. Send as many as you want, just don’t know how many people will get to.”

Scott Comer — referred to as "comer" in the e-mail — is DNC Finance chief of staff.

When Jordan C. Vaughn responded to the e-mail to ask for clarification (“Boards and commissions? Sorry, I'm lost”), Comer replied, “Any folks who you’d like to be considered to be on the board of (for example) USPS, NEA, NEH. Basically anyone who has a niche interest and might like to serve on the board of one of these orgs.”

And while nothing in the text of the e-mails discusses the appointments as a recompense for large donations, it is worth remembering that the final list does not include anyone who was not a large donor — some of them gave hundreds of thousands to the DNC and the $2,700 maximum to Clinton — nor did it include anyone who gave so much as a dollar to the Sanders campaign. It is also worth noting that the “last call” for names for federal appointments to “boards and commissions” came from — and was apparently being decided by — the office that handled those donations.

WikiLeaks — having already greatly upset the DNC apple cart — is not finished yet. Julian Assange told CNN that the whistleblowing organization he started and continues to run while in exile may publish “a lot more material" related to the presidential race.

If he is following his playbook from the past, he may be saving the best (or worst) for last.

Photo: AP Images

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