Edited by Samantha Bates
It was supposed to be easy, a mere formality of a primary campaign and then the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for President. The charade would last until March, and then Clinton would pivot to the general election. But something unexpected happened: the fringe candidate Bernie Sanders caught fire, and now Hillary is going broke.
Major media outlets reported in February that the majority of her donors had already reached their maximum campaign contribution, which wouldn’t have been an issue had things gone as planned. The problem was Sanders was still in the race and on pace to raise 40 million+ for the month. Clinton desperately needed to close Sanders out in March. However, she failed to do so.
Sanders opened March with an upset in Michigan and finished with a rout of the Northwest and Hawaii. To make matters worse for the cash strapped Clinton, he raised another daunting 40 million in campaign funds. With her core donors nearly tapped out, Clinton was facing two months in a campaign running solely on Super Pac money. Super Pacs can act in favor of, but can’t make direct contributions to, a campaign.
Like Mike Tyson described Muhammad Ali’s ability to dominate late rounds of championship boxing, Sanders is taking Clinton to deep waters and drowning her.
The press release from the Bernie Sanders campaign on the eve of the New York Primary shows how desperate Hillary is for funds at this moment.
In a letter to the DNC, the Sanders campaign describes how Clinton may be commingling funds between her joint fundraising committee with the DNC’s Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) and her campaign fund Hillary For America (HFA) by having HVA subsidize and even make “impermissible in-kind” contributions to HFA directly.
The letter points out that $15 million was used from the HVF for direct mail and online solicitations solely for Clinton, meaning the small donor return would only benefit one campaign and not be disbursed amongst the committee. The letter further states that the HVF is paying Clinton campaign staffers on an over reimbursement basis, allowing the committee to inject large sums of money into her campaign at any given time.
A recent filing with Federal Elections Committee cited that over 9 million dollars was given to HFA by HVF while less than 2 million was disbursed to the other committee members.
The circumvention of campaign finance laws to fuel a financially strapped campaign is where Hillary is now. In an election year, where criticism of the campaign finance system is at an all time high, she continues to gamble her and her party’s fate in the hands of big money.
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