Maybe the system was rigged after all.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign team signed an agreement with the Democratic National Committee in August of 2015 that helped ensure she would win the presidential nomination over her rivals including Sen. Bernie Sanders. That agreement, the details of which were largely unknown before Thursday, said that Clinton would infuse the party with cash in exchange for control over the party’s finances, strategy, future money raised, and the right to control staff including the right to refuse the party’s communications director. An aide to the Clinton campaign disputed this last point, telling VICE News that the DNC rejected their pick for communications director.
That nature of Clinton’s joint fundraising agreement was revealed by former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile in an excerpt of her upcoming book published in Politico Magazine on Thursday. Brazile took over the Democratic Party in the summer of 2016 after former chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz left in response to the first wave of WikiLeaks email disclosure that suggested the party had been trying to help Clinton.
“I think this is one of the most politically courageous acts by a D.C. insider in a long long time,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager in 2016, told VICE News. “I’m sure she’s off a lot of Christmas cards list because of this book.” Sanders’ campaign also signed a joint fundraising agreement but Weaver said it did not give them any jurisdiction over staff. The Sanders campaign also did not utilize it much since they did not have many big-dollar donors.
Brazile claims that upon taking the job, she promised Sanders that she would find out if the DNC had conspired with Clinton to give her the nomination. After two months of searching in the midst of the 2016 election, Brazile says she found the agreement signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. Brazile recounts calling Sanders to give him the news of what she called the “cancer” and says he took in stride. She says she didn’t go public with that information during the election so as not to hurt the Democratic nominee.
Brazile’s indignation at a rigged primary is a bit odd, however, since she also did her part to give Clinton an unfair upper hand over Sanders during the primary.
Brazile, serving then as a CNN contributor and a Vice Chair at the DNC, secretly gave the Clinton campaign a heads up on questions before at least two CNN town hall debates. When WikiLeaks revealed Brazile had done so in its dumping of John Podesta’s emails, Brazile denied it and said “I never had access to question and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did.” That was not true.
Brazile finally admitted in March of 2017 in a TIME Magazine piece that she did “share potential town hall topics with the Clinton campaign,” which she “will forever regret.”
In that same piece, Brazile claimed that “the more competitive and heated the primary got, the harder DNC staff worked to be scrupulously fair and beyond reproach.”
But Brazile said on Thursday that she told Sanders in September of 2016 that the primary had been rigged.
Apparently, that story has also changed.
Asked why readers should believe the claims in her new book if she said the opposite just a few months ago, Brazile and her representatives did not immediately respond to several requests for comment.