Two officials who worked on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign say they weren’t offered anything similar to a deal the Hillary Clinton campaign was offered by the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
According to former DNC head Donna Brazile, who called Clinton’s deal “unethical,” the Clinton campaign was given reign to make some party staffing decisions, as well as spending decisions, in exchange for a much needed infusion of cash. The deal was made early on in the Democratic primary process.
Mark Longabaugh, former Sanders campaign liaison to the DNC, told the Washington Post, “We had no addendum like this, no memorandum, no agreement like this. They basically came to us and said, here’s the agreement, take it or leave it.”
Former Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told the Post that Clinton’s deal was “a laundering operation.”
“They’d go to fundraisers, they’d get a $350,000 check from donors which was supposed to be divvied up. Instead of disbursing that money, they’d turn around and run a small-dollar fundraising to generate small contributions that went to the Clinton campaign,” Weaver said.
According the DNC’s lawyers from Perkins Coie, the Sanders campaign was offered partial influence on how DNC money would be spent prior to the general election. In an email, they said the Sanders campaign was told they needed to raise adequate funds to be granted the extended privileges.
“If you’re raising significantly more than the amount to cover the voter file for the DNC, DNC staff would be happy to chat with the Sanders team and come to an understanding about the best way to use those funds to prepare for the general election at the DNC,” Graham Wilson, a lawyer from Perkins Coie, wrote in the email. “The DNC has had discussions like this with the Clinton campaign and is of course willing to do so with all.”
“Who are the wealthy people Bernie was going to bring to a fundraiser?” Weaver asked. “We had to buy the voter file right before the primaries.”
Weaver also said that the Sanders campaign was never offered the privilage of informing on staff decisions. “We were not offered veto power on staff at the DNC, I can tell you that,” he said.
Perkins Coie also represents the Clinton campaign.
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