A newly released memo shows a deal struck between the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and then-candidate Hillary Clinton in 2015 gave her campaign power to influence staffing and policy, in exchange for monthly payments.
On Friday, NBC News released another agreement between the DNC and the Clinton campaign from August 26, 2015, only four months after Clinton announced her candidacy.
The memorandum of understanding details how the Hillary for America (HFA) campaign agreed to pay the debt-ridden DNC a “base amount” of $1.2 million every month in exchange for “influence over the financial, strategic, and operational use of these JFA-raised funds.”
The DNC also agreed to hire a communications director from “one of two candidates previously identified as acceptable to HFA.”
In the event there were staff vacancies in the communications, technology, and research departments, the DNC would “maintain the authority to make the final decision” on who to hire, but they agreed to only choose “between candidates acceptable to HFA.”
Additionally, the DNC agreed to consult HFA personnel and maintain joint authority over “strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research.”
The DNC also agreed to provide HFA with an “advance opportunity” to review “on-line or mass email, communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate.” Clinton’s campaign would also be alerted before any direct mail communications were sent out that featured “a particular Democratic primary candidate or his or her signature.”
And although the DNC would remain responsible for the “day to day execution” of special projects, including technology, analytics, research, and communications operations, the agreement said that HFA would determine the “scope, strategy, staffing, budget, and manner of execution.”
Once HFA gave the DNC the initial $1.2 million, they would be granted “complete and seamless access to all research work product and tools” except those related to other Democratic candidates.
However, defenders of Clinton’s have pointed to certain stipulations in the memo, which state that the agreement only relates to the general election and the DNC will provide other candidates the ability to make similar agreements.
“Nothing in this agreement shall be construed to violate the DNC’s obligation of impartiality and neutrality through the Nominating process,” the memorandum states. “All activities performed under this agreement will be focused exclusively on preparations for the General Election and not the Democratic Primary. Further we understand you may enter into similar agreements with other candidates.”
On Thursday, Politico published an excerpt from former DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile’ upcoming book, “Hacks.” In the excerpt, Brazile said after she took over as the DNC interim chair in July 2016, she found an agreement that made the DNC “fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign.”
Brazile said the Joint Fundraising Agreement (JFA) between the the DNC and Clinton’s campaign, Hillary for America (HFA), specified that “in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised.”
After Brazile’s excerpt was published, politicians from President Donald Trump to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said it was proof that the DNC “rigged” the 2016 primary for Clinton and against Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
Democrats took to social media after the memo was released to criticize Brazile for releasing her excerpt without the full context. Many asked her and Warren to apologize for their statements.
Thread. I truly don’t get what’s Donna Brazile’s doing or why. I haven’t always been a huge fan of hers, but selling out for a book? https://t.co/jRPPLUojJD
— shauna (@goldengateblond) November 3, 2017
This, as an aside, is sort of a strong argument for not publishing book excerpts without context and then not explaining further
— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) November 3, 2017
DNC Chairman Tom Perez sent a letter to party members that said they reached “the same” joint fundraising agreement with the Sanders campaign.
“Our understanding was that the DNC offered all of the presidential campaigns the opportunity to set up a [joint fundraising agreement] and work with the DNC to coordinate on how those funds were used to best prepare for the general election,” Perez said, according to NPR.
A key update here: a senior Dem official I just talked to says yes, Brazile is talking about a DIFFERENT additional memo w/ Clinton campaign https://t.co/vTjOGYHkuI
— Scott Detrow (@scottdetrow) November 3, 2017
The agreements were made at a time when the the DNC was strapped for cash and former Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) approached the campaigns looking to keep the DNC out of debt.