Category Archives: Hillary Clinton

DNC and the Law – WSJ

Don’t hold your breath waiting for DOJ to investigate.
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WSJ 11/13/2017
By Cleta Mitchell And Hans von Spakovsky

Donna Brazile has confirmed Bernie Sanders’s worst suspicions. Ms. Brazile, who served as interim chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the fall 2016 campaign, says in a new book that during the primaries, the DNC was controlled by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Ms. Brazile claims the arrangement was “not illegal,” but that is far from clear.

Ms. Brazile reports that when she arrived on the job in July 2016, Gary Gensler, the campaign’s chief financial officer, told her the DNC was fully under the control of the campaign. In September 2015, 10 months before Mrs. Clinton’s nomination, the party had moved its bank account to the same bank in New York used by the Clinton campaign and created a joint fundraising committee, the Hillary Victory Fund, whose treasurer, bank account, and control were vested in the campaign. Then, in an August 2015 memorandum of understanding, the DNC essentially handed over its operations to the Clinton campaign for the next 15 months.

The purpose of joint fundraising committees is to allow more than one entity to collaborate in raising money and share in the costs. Each participant is subject to federal contribution limits. When the party itself is a participant, its committee (in this case the DNC) normally handles accounting and financial controls. Not here. The Hillary Victory Fund was controlled by the Clinton campaign, with a campaign employee as treasurer and the fund’s bank account established at the Clinton campaign’s bank. According to Federal Election Commission reports, the Hillary Victory Fund has raised more than $526 million.

The DNC asserted its “neutrality” by also entering into a joint fundraising committee with the Sanders campaign. It raised a total of $1,000. And the Bernie Victory Committee treasurer was the DNC’s designee.

“Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state,” Ms. Brazile writes, “but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn”—i.e., Clinton headquarters. She says state parties raised $82 million, of which they kept less than 0.5%.

The memorandum of understanding promised the Clinton campaign, among other things, “complete and seamless access to all research work product and tools” paid for by the DNC, despite Federal Election Commission regulations that prohibit privately sharing such research with a candidate without either reporting the costs as an in-kind contribution or allocating them against the party’s coordinated spending limits for that candidate.

The memo also tied transfers of funds raised for the DNC by the Hillary Victory Fund to operational control of the DNC’s expenditures: “The release of the Base Amounts each month are conditioned on the following: . . . hiring of DNC Communications Director . . . DNC senior staff . . . joint authority

over strategic decisions . . . alerting HFA”—Hillary for America, the campaign—“in advance of . . . any direct mail communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate or his or her signature.”

Contributions to the DNC, even though made through the Hillary Victory Fund, were required by law to be transferred to the party and could not legally be withheld by the Clinton-designated treasurer. Nor does the law allow a single candidate to control a political party’s operations and expenditures.

National party committees have higher contribution limits than candidates do—$334,000 a year vs. $2,700 for each election. The memorandum raises the possibility that Clinton campaign took advantage of the DNC’s higher limits, then availed itself of all the resources the DNC could buy—without having any of the attendant costs or expenditures assessed against the campaign.

There are strict statutory limits on what a party committee can contribute to any candidate and what a party can spend in coordination with its candidates. We don’t like limits on the ability of parties to support their candidates. But campaign- finance zealots, egged on by media outlets (which are not subject to any limits), made certain that the McCain-Feingold law of 2002 stringently limited coordination between candidates and political parties. Although the Supreme Court struck down parts of McCain-Feingold in the 2010 Citizens United case, the coordination limits still apply. The FEC and the Justice Department should investigate the Clinton-DNC arrangement.

Candidate Clinton railed against Citizens United— a case that involved a documentary film critical of her— arguing that “big money” and “secret spending” are ruining our politics. Is it too much to ask that those who loudly demand greater regulation of political speech and spending themselves abide by the laws already on the books?

Ms. Mitchell is a partner at Foley & Lardner LLP who practices federal campaign finance law. Mr. von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission.

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Letters: Pardon for Clinton??

I happen to agree with most of these letters. Trump should not pre-empt getting the facts into the light.
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The thrust of your Nov. 23 editorial “Democracy’s Verdict on Clinton” is that President-elect Donald Trump did the right thing by deciding not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her email and Clinton Foundation issues.

But the subject is much larger and more important than Mrs. Clinton and whatever she did or didn’t do. Dropping the investigations would leave many key questions unanswered. Is there a two-tiered justice system in which the well-connected get favorable treatment? Was Mrs. Clinton’s server hacked and her emails stolen by Russia, China, North Korea, Iran or other states or individuals? Were crimes committed by anyone else involved with Mrs. Clinton? If so, should they be prosecuted? What changes to the laws and governmental procedures should be made to prevent similar occurrences in the future?

This isn’t like President Ford’s pardon of President Nixon after the Watergate affair. Ford acted after all the facts were out and well known by the public. The pardon came after extremely extensive news coverage and after Senate hearings that extended week after week on live TV, with testimony from all important participants, including White House aides and other administration figures. Many lower-level figures were prosecuted and either entered guilty pleas or were found guilty at trial, and many went to jail. None of this has occurred in the present case. There have been congressional hearings that were notable mostly for what wasn’t said and questions not answered, but there was no informative testimony from administration officials. There is no public knowledge of the results of the FBI investigations.

Even if Mrs. Clinton is pardoned, it is vital to get the facts out and, if appropriate, to prosecute her accomplices and enablers as a deterrent to future abuses.

A.A. KATTERHENRY Clearwater, Fla.

To place political expediency before the protection of defense personnel and national security is manifestly irresponsible. The integrity of the classification system guards people’s lives. There is no other way to express it. Those in military uniform, plus a number of people elsewhere within the front lines of intelligence and some defense agencies, risk their very lives every day under the protection of these secrecies.

COL. ART SABOSKI, USAF (RET.)

Prescott Valley, Ariz.

What is to happen to the many persons in this case who aren’t elected officials but were involved to a greater or lesser degree? Are they to be absolved with a wave of the hand? What about the lawyers who facilitated the destruction of evidence on the Clinton email server that had been subpoenaed, for example? If proved, those who supervised the team that destroyed evidence should be held accountable for clearly criminal acts.

How far does the exoneration go? If it is later found out that foreign nations hacked into the email server and obtained vital state secrets, is everyone remotely involved forgiven? What about sexism in reverse? Allowing the women involved to go free for a reason that appears to be they were just women close to Hillary.

We have learned through history that just following orders is no defense. Compare the treatment of Scooter Libby with the apparent treatment in this case of Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.

This case could set dangerous precedents for the futures.

LARRY G. DEVRIES

Vancouver, Wash.

In the spirit of fair play, Presidentelect Trump should at the same time pardon Gen. David Petraeus, Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier and Mark Basseley Youssef (formerly Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, producer of the “Innocence of Muslims” video untruthfully named as the provocation for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya) and any others in the same circumstances.

MICHAEL S. KRAUSE

Westport, Conn.

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