"A Shocking Truth": Donna Brazile Accuses Clinton Campaign Of "Rigging" Primary

Authored by Donna Brazille, former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, originally published in Politico.

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"When I was asked to run the Democratic Party after the Russians hacked our emails, I stumbled onto a shocking truth about the Clinton campaign."

Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC

Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call.

I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.

So I followed the money. My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.

Debbie was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.

By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart.


The Saturday morning after the convention in July, I called Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Hillary’s campaign. He wasted no words. He told me the Democratic Party was broke and $2 million in debt.

“What?” I screamed. “I am an officer of the party and they’ve been telling us everything is fine and they were raising money with no problems.”

That wasn’t true, he said. Officials from Hillary’s campaign had taken a look at the DNC’s books. Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.

If I didn’t know about this, I assumed that none of the other officers knew about it, either. That was just Debbie’s way. In my experience she didn’t come to the officers of the DNC for advice and counsel. She seemed to make decisions on her own and let us know at the last minute what she had decided, as she had done when she told us about the hacking only minutes before the Washington Post broke the news.

On the phone Gary told me the DNC had needed a $2 million loan, which the campaign had arranged.

“No! That can’t be true!” I said. “The party cannot take out a loan without the unanimous agreement of all of the officers.”

“Gary, how did they do this without me knowing?” I asked. “I don’t know how Debbie relates to the officers,” Gary said. He described the party as fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign, which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp. The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearing house. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party’s national committee.

Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund—that figure represented $10,000 to each of the thirty-two states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement—$320,000—and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.

“Wait,” I said. “That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You’re telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?”

Gary said the campaign had to do it or the party would collapse.

“That was the deal that Robby struck with Debbie,” he explained, referring to campaign manager Robby Mook. “It was to sustain the DNC. We sent the party nearly $20 million from September until the convention, and more to prepare for the election.”

“What’s the burn rate, Gary?” I asked. “How much money do we need every month to fund the party?”

The burn rate was $3.5 million to $4 million a month, he said.

I gasped. I had a pretty good sense of the DNC’s operations after having served as interim chair five years earlier. Back then the monthly expenses were half that. What had happened? The party chair usually shrinks the staff between presidential election campaigns, but Debbie had chosen not to do that. She had stuck lots of consultants on the DNC payroll, and Obama’s consultants were being financed by the DNC, too.

When we hung up, I was livid. Not at Gary, but at this mess I had inherited. I knew that Debbie had outsourced a lot of the management of the party and had not been the greatest at fundraising. I would not be that kind of chair, even if I was only an interim chair. Did they think I would just be a surrogate for them, get on the road and rouse up the crowds? I was going to manage this party the best I could and try to make it better, even if Brooklyn did not like this. It would be weeks before I would fully understand the financial shenanigans that were keeping the party on life support.


Right around the time of the convention the leaked emails revealed Hillary’s campaign was grabbing money from the state parties for its own purposes, leaving the states with very little to support down-ballot races. A Politico story published on May 2, 2016, described the big fund-raising vehicle she had launched through the states the summer before, quoting a vow she had made to rebuild “the party from the ground up … when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.”

Yet the states kept less than half of 1 percent of the $82 million they had amassed from the extravagant fund-raisers Hillary’s campaign was holding, just as Gary had described to me when he and I talked in August. When the Politico story described this arrangement as “essentially … money laundering” for the Clinton campaign, Hillary’s people were outraged at being accused of doing something shady. Bernie’s people were angry for their own reasons, saying this was part of a calculated strategy to throw the nomination to Hillary.

I wanted to believe Hillary, who made campaign finance reform part of her platform, but I had made this pledge to Bernie and did not want to disappoint him. I kept asking the party lawyers and the DNC staff to show me the agreements that the party had made for sharing the money they raised, but there was a lot of shuffling of feet and looking the other way.

When I got back from a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.

The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—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. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

I had been wondering why it was that I couldn’t write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.

When the party chooses the nominee, the custom is that the candidate’s team starts to exercise more control over the party. If the party has an incumbent candidate, as was the case with Clinton in 1996 or Obama in 2012, this kind of arrangement is seamless because the party already is under the control of the president. When you have an open contest without an incumbent and competitive primaries, the party comes under the candidate’s control only after the nominee is certain. When I was manager of Gore’s campaign in 2000, we started inserting our people into the DNC in June. This victory fund agreement, however, had been signed in August 2015, just four months after Hillary announced her candidacy and nearly a year before she officially had the nomination.

I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff. I had gone department by department, investigating individual conduct for evidence of skewed decisions, and I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement.

The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity.


I had to keep my promise to Bernie. I was in agony as I dialed him. Keeping this secret was against everything that I stood for, all that I valued as a woman and as a public servant.

“Hello, senator. I’ve completed my review of the DNC and I did find the cancer,” I said. “But I will not kill the patient.”

I discussed the fundraising agreement that each of the candidates had signed. Bernie was familiar with it, but he and his staff ignored it. They had their own way of raising money through small donations. I described how Hillary’s campaign had taken it another step.

I told Bernie I had found Hillary’s Joint Fundraising Agreement. I explained that the cancer was that she had exerted this control of the party long before she became its nominee. Had I known this, I never would have accepted the interim chair position, but here we were with only weeks before the election.

Bernie took this stoically. He did not yell or express outrage. Instead he asked me what I thought Hillary’s chances were. The polls were unanimous in her winning but what, he wanted to know, was my own assessment?

I had to be frank with him. I did not trust the polls, I said. I told him I had visited states around the country and I found a lack of enthusiasm for her everywhere. I was concerned about the Obama coalition and about millennials.

I urged Bernie to work as hard as he could to bring his supporters into the fold with Hillary, and to campaign with all the heart and hope he could muster. He might find some of her positions too centrist, and her coziness with the financial elites distasteful, but he knew and I knew that the alternative was a person who would put the very future of the country in peril. I knew he heard me. I knew he agreed with me, but I never in my life had felt so tiny and powerless as I did making that call.

When I hung up the call to Bernie, I started to cry, not out of guilt, but out of anger. We would go forward. We had to.


Paul Kersey philipat Thu, 11/02/2017 - 08:00 Permalink

"Well he did get a new Million Dollar home on the beach? Perhaps that had something to do with it?"Perhaps not. First, the house was $600,000 and not $1 million.  Second, the money for that home was inherited by Bernie's wife: “My family had a lake home in Maine since 1900, but we hadn’t had the time to go there in recent years — especially since my parents passed away,” she said. “We finally let go of it and that enabled us to buy a place in the islands — something I’ve always hoped for.” 

In reply to by philipat

two hoots TeamDepends Thu, 11/02/2017 - 09:00 Permalink

Did the Democratic Party offer the US citizens a fair choice of candidates?  "The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency whose purpose is to enforce campaign finance law in federal elections."  Do we pay taxes to support this inept agency?   Where are they now, their lawyers?   This needs an investigation.

In reply to by TeamDepends

Joe Davola two hoots Thu, 11/02/2017 - 09:10 Permalink

As others above have said, what a load of crap - like all Clinton stories, it contains 'it isn't necessarily illegal, but...'.  It ain't enough to throw HRC under the bus, she better back the bus up over the witch to make sure.Question I have is why and why now?And wtf did Obama do with all the DNC funds?  They should have been rolling in dough after his elections.  Either they weren't.  Or he gave the rest of the party the middle finger and it got 'repurposed' - which, if that's the case, why did the rest of the party support him.

In reply to by two hoots

Manthong wise_owl_says... Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:16 Permalink

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 Maybe I am wrong but it seems to me that she is like the outlier that should be culled from the shipment, stripped naked  and chained to a pole in the barn. This one cannot be relied upon, makes a lot of noise and is sneaky… Is that sexist or racist?? I am not sure. Just hose her down again.

In reply to by wise_owl_says...

nmewn bobbbny Thu, 11/02/2017 - 12:35 Permalink

Yeah, I think the top of the day Alinsky Fake Nuuuz update led off with...a lost dog somewhere in Bismarck North Dakota followed by Pelosi talking points about elderly, women, chilrun, minorities and...almost as an after thought  (because it was) hard working blue collar workers will get SCREWED OVER by a tax cut!And the lost dog will pay higher taxes too!...I swear they're so fucking predictable...lol.

In reply to by bobbbny

Manthong nmewn Thu, 11/02/2017 - 14:51 Permalink

  OK, I apologize in advance to the snowflakes and commie libs who might be offended by the following statements… FU…. This darker than black crusty old twat is the essence of the concept of n*gg*r. She fed questions for the debate to Hellery in advance…. Go look at the debate videos…. HELLERY: “I’m glad you asked that question”….   Knowing full well she had the response already in her drug hypo pants suit… and that is just the most obvious of her decades long litany of offenses to decency. Hey, maybe she should hook up with Temer in Brazil… they have a lot in common. Crud... one of the problems of attempting to be erudite as one ages is that you might leave out pertinent words on occasion.........I forgot the word "uppity". 

In reply to by nmewn

Creative_Destruct Temporalist Thu, 11/02/2017 - 16:12 Permalink

Sounds very much like this could have been planned. O & Debbie purposely indebt the DNC and leave it no option but to go hat in hand to Hitlery Campaign to sustain iteslf, which they do under the condition of control. Excuse the Bern... At least Donna is telling some truth for a change. She's such an awful habitual liar that at least this effort is an improvement, minor that it is.

In reply to by Temporalist

Tarzan Thought Processor Thu, 11/02/2017 - 13:17 Permalink

She turned on Hillary because she's loyal to the party, not the Truth, nor the rule of Law. More importantly, she not loyal to the people. So everything she says is skewed.

Why did she secretly inform Hillary of the presses questions before the debates? She did this after learning the primary was rigged by Hillary. Because she's a political hack, more concerned for her party then her country.

It's Treasonous!

the two party system is a cancer on the Country. It's the single thing most destructive to our Constitution!

In reply to by Thought Processor

MEFOBILLS MoreFreedom Thu, 11/02/2017 - 11:57 Permalink

Seems to me the Koch brothers like what a lot of libertarians like: freedom The Koch brothers are Oligarchs, and libertarian-tards.  In their own way, they do as much damage as looney liberal leftists.  FREEDOM HAS LIMITS.  You are free only within limits.  The tards are busy ignoring natural law, or logos if you like.  If you ignore natural law, your civilization ends up in a loop and bad history repeats itself.  Here are some of the laws:  People are tribal.  Blood, Land, Culture, and shared History are necessary ingredients for a civilized nation.  The Tards want unlimited immigration.  The tards want to dismantle laws that give freedom its limits.Libertarian-tards also want MARKET MONEY.  This is a specifically Jewish idea, and Libertarians have strong Jewish connections.  It is a dialectic with marxism.  Marxism is an open pyramid scheme, while the tards have a hidden pyramid scheme.  Hypnosis like free markets is spouted, when in fact there are only three market types (Elastic, Inelastic and Mixed).  There is no such thing as free markets. When you hear continuous false narratives and outright lying, then you know there are nefarious motives at hand.Here are some more natural laws:  The races are not the same.  The sexes are not the same.   Oligarchs throughout history have maneuvered to usurp more and more for themselves.  Artistotle noticed the pattern:  Oligarchy ends up competing with itself when it reduces to about three groups.  Then one of the Oligarchs will promise to release debts on the population, if said debt serf population will help him kill off the other two.   Then winning Oligarch becomes King, but population is released from debts.   Who will fight in a war for more debt servitude?  Debt free population eventually overturns the king and becomes democratic. Since democracy is a weak form of government, Oligarchy forms again  and the cycle repeats. Note that Oligarchy doesn't give a damn about political orientation.  They are happy to fill your mind with clap trap Libertarian ideas.  Chief among tard ideas is that money is a market phenomena.  Jewish merchants in the past came up with this whopper.  Jewish Haibaru donkey caravaners would sit outside of city-state gates and plot ways of taking down and inserting themselves into the polity.  Haibaru caravaner bones have been found outside of Sumer.  Money's true nature is law.  Debts have to be released in a legal Jubilee, otherwise Koch like people will harvest populations over generations.  Ignore natural laws and history will continue to repeat like a bad nightmare.

In reply to by MoreFreedom

GoinFawr MEFOBILLS Thu, 11/02/2017 - 14:11 Permalink

" Debt free population eventually overturns the king and becomes democratic. Since democracy is a weak form of government, Oligarchy forms again  and the cycle repeats. "That's the 'Goldilock's Phase', but take heart: such a legislative assembly composed of elected representatives can successfully provide valuable services for the overwhelming majority for a long, long time when mitigated by a just constitution and a diligent population that has access to excellent communication and educational resources (I, for one, am looking forward to seeing it attempted  someday). Great post MEFO +1 from me, and I'd wager all the minuses are from sycophants depending on an OschGochBroKoch paycheque

In reply to by MEFOBILLS

7thGenMO MEFOBILLS Thu, 11/02/2017 - 15:00 Permalink

+1 MEFOBILLS -  "Blood, Land, Culture..." - I almost had a Dr. Strangelove moment [smacks right arm down].  Seriously though, I largely agree because wealthier libertarians I know seem to believe that their freedom to pursue a globalist agenda (importing cheap labor) overrides the economic freedom of the most vulnerable in our society who depend on the defined borders of the nation state. I'm downloading for further digestion because this philosophical info will require some critical thinking.  Thanks. 

In reply to by MEFOBILLS

MoreFreedom 7thGenMO Thu, 11/02/2017 - 17:49 Permalink

"wealthier libertarians I know seem to believe that their freedom to pursue a globalist agenda (importing cheap labor) overrides the economic freedom of the most vulnerable in our society"Apply your critical thinking to this question: How is a business owner (put yourself in his shoes) harming the economic freedom of someone by hiring someone else?  Is the owner harming the person he didn't hire?  Isn't the person he didn't hire still free to pursue his own happiness?  Or does the person a business owner didn't hire, have a right to be paid as an employee regardless of what they do or what the owner wants?  Is it fair for the business owner to not hire the best candidate?  Think about the consequences of your decision.If you're talking about welfare, it turns our libertarians and conservatives are the most generous to charity.  http://www.kochind.com/giving/   And libertarians believe using government force to redistribute money to whomever government decides is "the most vulnerable" is immoral from the start because force is used to get that money (using force to collect taxes for govenrment's purpose of protecting our lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness is a necessary evil). There is no necessity to engage in evil to help others with the challenges of life. And really, how much immigration would we have, if we didn't have generous government welfare?  If you want to keep the riffraff and welfare queeens out of the country, eliminate govenrment welfare.  Most private charities attach reasonable strings to their welfare, and limit it to "the most vulnerable" unlike govenrment.  And better, they don't use force to take money from people to support their efforts. Nothing is more correlated to a nation's prosperity than freedom.  That is the blessing of liberty.

In reply to by 7thGenMO

7thGenMO MoreFreedom Thu, 11/02/2017 - 21:04 Permalink

Libertarians today find the principles of the Founding Fathers to be appealing but choose to ignore that the Founders understood liberty must be exercised in the context of promoting the common wealth and consideration of the racial integrity of the nation state.  There are abundant examples of this, but the most striking is the Immigration Act of 1789, the first one enacted while the Founders all lived, that awarded citizenship to only "free white persons".  There are also writings by Franklin in which he argued that not even Germans should be allowed in Pennsylvania because they lacked the capacity to promote a free society.  Need I mention "The Chinese Exclusion Act?"Let's consider a specific example of hiring the "best candidate."  There was a young man who posted on here some weeks ago who had just completed his engineering degree (no small feat) and indicated that it was better for him to work as a waiter than in his field because H1-B's were willing to work, in his words, "for a bowl of rice and a ladle of broth."  The parents of this young man have paid taxes to support the university system, but most likely, he also has considerable debt.  Again, we're looking at the nation state from the perspective that it must include not only the integrity of a geographical boundary, but the welfare of the citizens as a whole - something which has become more and more vague since citizens were tricked into accepting diversity.  From this young man's perspective, the business owner who hires an H1-B (and we all know this program is being used to undercut wages and benefits) is violating his natural rights in multiple ways, first and foremost by limiting his right to life because in accepting a job as a waiter, he mentioned he has no health benefits.Now, if Libertarians insist in denying young people the benefits of the nation state they and their parents have invested in, don't be surprised if you start to see more and more youth finding that their pursuit of happiness involves forming up in armed gangs and becoming increasingly violent.  Surely you won't deny them this "freedom", will you? 

In reply to by MoreFreedom

MoreFreedom MEFOBILLS Thu, 11/02/2017 - 17:02 Permalink

I'm libertarian, and I don't want open borders or unlimited immigration.  And unlike a lot of GOP, I don't want Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare or any form of government welfare.  And what you do mean by "market money"?  I want a gold standard, so govenrments can't just print it up as do many libertarians.   You say "there is no such thing as free markets".   You say the oligarchs "have manuevered to usurp more and more for themselves."  Can you provide an example of where the Kochs used force to usurp something from others?  I don't see the Koch's maneuvering to release the population from debts; Charles Koch wrote a WSJ article warning about the inability of the government to keep its promises and its level of debt. "Debts have to be released in a legal Jubilee"Seems to me your just a borrower who hopes to welch on your debts.  That would be considered fraud, and what you accuse oligarchs of doing, and harming the people from which you borrowed money, and who loaned that money to help you.  That's real nice of you.  Seems to me, you're just another person who looks at government as the means by which we steal from each other, rather than someone who believes governments are institutied among men to protect our lives, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness.  Why, with your thinking, we'll be manuevering ourselves into becoming debt slaves to government, or do you want government to renege on its promises?https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1000142405274870428830457617097422608317…

In reply to by MEFOBILLS