During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama led the way in having the DNC change their rules to remove the corrosive influence of money in politics by having the Democratic National Committee reject contributions from lobbyists and PACs. This was seen in some circles as a refutation of the GOP and their big money donors, restoring some power to the grassroots. The health of the body politic was being tended to, citizens! Integrity was their watchword and the voices of the masses would be heard once more.
But with another campaign upon us, the DNC has suddenly realized that campaigns cost money, and perhaps all of that outside cash isn’t such a bad thing. (Washington Post)
The Democratic National Committee has rolled back restrictions introduced by presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 that banned donations from federal lobbyists and political action committees.
The decision was viewed with disappointment Friday morning by good government activists who saw it as a step backward in the effort to limit special interest influence in Washington. Some suggested it could provide an advantage to Hillary Clinton’s fundraising efforts.
“It is a major step in the wrong direction,” said longtime reform advocate Fred Wertheimer. “And it is completely out of touch with the clear public rejection of the role of political money in Washington,” expressed during the 2016 campaign.
The change in the rules, already apparent to leading Washington lobbyists, was quietly introduced at some point during the past couple of months.
It was done “quietly” alright, but they weren’t leaving the choice to all of the potential, well moneyed financiers. Invitations have been going out to those who might wish to help out the DNC. (Not that you’ll get anything in exchange for your money, of course. Perish the thought.) As early as last summer, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz sent out invitations for people to donate to cover the costs of their convention, but now it’s expanded well beyond that. Three lobbyists told the WaPo off the record that they had already received “invitations” to donate directly to the DNC for all their political activities.
For the most part, they said, the DNC has returned to business as usual, pre-2008. The DNC has even named a finance director specifically for PAC donations who has recently emailed prospective donors to let them know that they can now contribute again, according to an email that was reviewed by The Washington Post.
This is being seen as yet another poke in the eye to Bernie Sanders and an effort to shore up Hillary Clinton’s prospects. There were joint fundraising committees set up in partnership between the DNC and each of the two remaining candidates’ campaigns. The one for Hillary Clinton has already raised $26.9M. But don’t worry, Bernie… they have a similar account for you! So far it’s taken in… one thousand dollars.
Between the debate schedules, the use of the DNC headquarters for the announcement of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsement of Clinton and the superdelegate situation, it’s become obvious that the DNC is so far in the tank for Hillary that they may drown in their own juices. (Oh, and Priorities USA Action just unleashed another $5M in attack ads against Sanders, even though that money was supposed to be held for the general election.) This new layer of massive funding support just adds insult to injury. But the DNC had best hope that their chosen messiah doesn’t wind up in the hoosegow before the convention. They may wind up damaging Bernie Sanders so badly that he won’t remain viable as a runner up if she’s not available.