WASHINGTON – Many Democrats expressed outrage Thursday at allegations from a former party chairwoman that an agreement with the Democratic National Committee gave the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton some day-to-day control over the party in the 2016 campaign.
Donna Brazile, a former interim chairwoman of the party, wrote in a forthcoming book that an August 2015 agreement gave the Clinton campaign a measure of direct influence over party finances and strategy, along with a say over staffing and consultation rights over issues like mailings and budgets.
The control was given in exchange for a joint fundraising pledge by the Clinton campaign that helped fund the DNC through the election year, Brazile said.
“This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity,” she wrote in a book due out next week.
Throughout the campaign, the DNC and its then-chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, fiercely denied any suggestion that the party was helping Clinton over other candidates. The presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had criticized Wasserman Schultz for limiting the early primary debate schedule, allowing party money to be used for Clinton fundraising, and briefly cutting off Sanders’s access to the party voter file shortly before the New Hampshire primary after a Sanders staffer inappropriately accessed information.
Some Democrats now say that the arrangement is evidence that the concerns were valid. Ray Buckley, chairman of New Hampshire’s Democratic Party, said that he first learned of the agreement while serving as DNC vice chair in 2016. “The day that Donna discovered this, she called me and I almost passed out,” he said. “We were blatantly misled.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told CNN that she believed the primary contest between Clinton and Sanders had been rigged. “This is a real problem,” she said.
The current party leader said he would address the problem. “One of my goals … is to make sure that the nominating process for 2020 is a process that’s fair and transparent for everybody,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez told CNBC.