Tuesday, May 03, 2016

A twist in the narrative on fundraising for Clinton and Sanders

A few weeks ago, Margot Kidder published an amazing article showing how Hillary Clinton bought the loyalty of state Democratic Parties in 33 states long before the primaries even started. She showed us all how the money was bundled and funneled. She followed the money from the state parties to the DNC and back to the candidates. Kidder even provides a handy table at the bottom of her article with details.

$60 million was raised by the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund and the state Democratic parties involved. But now it seems, most of the money never actually went back to the state parties. Only 1% of the money ever made it back to the state Democratic parties.

It would appear then that the story of how Clinton is a "true Democrat" by supporting state and Congressional campaigns through fundraising is partially a myth. What the Politico article shows us is that Clinton was using a sort of money-laundering scheme to get around the contribution caps imposed by the McCutcheon ruling, a ruling that limits how much her big donors can make to directly to her campaign. By funneling money through the state Democratic parties and sending the money back to the DNC, and then to her campaign, she could take in far more money from big donors.

This tells us something else about Hillary Clinton. She's getting tapped out with her big sponsors. Oh, they still have plenty of money, but now they're off limits. She must now pursue other donors to finance her campaign directly. Unless she could get around the limits on funding, she might not have enough funding to prevail against the GOP nominee, whoever that may be. As we have seen, her campaign is willing to do whatever it takes to get around those limits, appearances of impropriety notwithstanding.

This is the problem with depending on big donors. There aren't enough to go around, and the reason we have limits on campaign contributions is to prevent any one donor from gaining too much influence on one candidate.

Bernie Sanders doesn't have this problem. With a very large donor base, he can go to them over and over again for funding. He's already received 7 million contributions from his supporters. They can afford to give $27 here and there.

An article on The Hill would have us believe that the fall in fundraising for Sanders has something to do with a lack of hope that he will win. I think we're all taking a breather. Sanders went from $44 in March to about $26 million in April. Hillary took in approximately the same amount. But no one is saying that the drop in funding for Hillary means she's going to end her campaign.

If Margot Kidder was right and the scheme was used to buy influence in the form of superdelegates, then those superdelegates might be having a change of heart. Right about now. State Democratic parties are now unhappy that they're not getting their money back for local campaigns. Could that change the superdelegate math? Possibly.

Sanders is helping a few Democrats and he's letting them keep all the money they raise with his help. Try telling that to people who don't think he's a true Democrat.

Despite all the talk about quitting, Sanders is going all the way to convention. Even if he loses, he's sort of won. He will have a chance to help hammer out planks in the Democratic platform. He will bring the force of millions of voters to bear on Clinton to ensure that she live up to her changing words. Remember, she's a lawyer and we want to make sure she's explicit about her intentions.

In any event, I'm still very hopeful that Sanders will win. And if he doesn't, well, a peaceful revolution has already begun.
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