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Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders

Donna Brazile: DNC gave Clinton campaign full control, effectively rigging primary against Sanders


Donna Brazile, the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, published an excerpt from her upcoming book "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House" in Politico Magazine that claims the Democratic Primary was rigged in Hillary Clinton's favor.

Brazile claims that in August 2015, a full year before winning the nomination, the Clinton campaign signed a joint fundraising agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America that allowed Clinton to "control the party's finances, strategy, and all the money raised."

The agreement also allowed the Clinton's campaign to choose the DNC's communications director, and the DNC was required to consult with her headquarters in Brooklyn about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

Brazile took over as party chairperson in July 2016 in the wake of hacked emails showing that many DNC staffers were openly rooting for Clinton in the primary.

"I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would 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. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie."

"As Hillary's campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party's debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations," Brazile writes.

In a phone call she placed to Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Clinton's campaign described the party as "fully under the control of Hillary's campaign." According to Brazile, the DNC was in so much debt they had no choice but to accept a $2 million loan from Clinton.

"Officials from Hillary’s campaign had taken a look at the DNC’s books. 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."

Gensler told Brazile that the "allowance" had effectively put the DNC on life support, "giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the [Clinton] campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse."

Former Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver told CNN he was angry, but not surprised when he heard Brazile's allegations.

"Well it was obviously a shocking revelation although I have to say as you know as someone who followed this campaign very closely in 2016, it was pretty clear right from the get go that the DNC was in the Clinton camp with the rigged debate schedule and a host of other interventions including as you remember them taking away our access to our voter file data in December of 2015. So it was pretty clear that they were on the Clinton side. I don't think any of us imagined that there was actually a formal arrangement giving the Clinton campaign control of the DNC that's for sure."

During the election the Sanders campaign repeatedly accused the DNC of working with the Clinton campaign to ensure her victory in the primary.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaigned with Clinton after she won the nomination, but expressed frustration with the party's actions during an interview on CNN.

“This is a real problem," she said. "We’ve got to hold this party accountable.”

When Jake Tapper asked her if she thought the system was 2016 Democratic primary was rigged, Warren said "yes."

So far, Sen. Bernie Sanders himself hasn't commented directly on the latest allegations. On Friday he dismissed a baiting tweet from President Trump on the situation.

Brazile is a longtime Democratic strategist. During the election she was a Democratic analyst for CNN but resigned from the network last October after hacked emails released by WikiLeaks revealed that she had shared questions with Clinton’s campaign ahead of a debate sponsored by the network.

The new DNC chairman Tom Perez dodged questions about Brazile's allegations telling CNBC, "we're moving forward."

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