President Obama was offered up as leverage for any extremely wealthy donors who were considering backing the Democratic National Committee. This, according to recently released documents from Wikileaks that seem to prove “party insiders” violated White House policy by basically pimping President Obama for donations.
The Washington Post analyzed the leaked emails and found that:
“The DNC emails show how the party has tried to leverage its greatest weapon—the president—as it entices wealthy backers to bankroll the convention and other needs. At times, DNC staffers used language in their pitches to donors that went beyond what lawyers said was permissible under a White House policy designed to prevent any perception that special interests have access to the president.”
— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) July 22, 2016
Their report continued:
“Top aides also get involved in wooing contributors, according to the emails. White House political director David Simas, for instance, met in May with a half-dozen top party financiers in Chicago, including Fred Eychaner, one of the top Democratic donors in the country, the documents show.”
The DNC was made aware of the policy when a White House lawyer asked them to change the wording on their invitation to make it seem less like the invitation was to pay to see the president. This is proof that the party had full knowledge of the policy.
Ruthzee Louijeune from Perkins Coie LLC sent a letter to the DNC that read:
“Let’s remove the word round table on page 2 at the top (‘$33,400 – Round table discussion guest’). As you know, WH policy restricts the use of language that gives the appearance that contributors can pay for policy access to the President.”
The Post reported that, on numerous occasions, the DNC violated the policy. The last known bribe took place on May 6th when party members enticed Tennessee donors with convention “packages.” The Post continued:
“If [you] were willing to contribute $33,400 we can bump you up a level to the Fairmont,” [the southern finance director] wrote, referring to a luxury hotel. “Additionally, your generous contribution would allow you to attend a small roundtable we are having with President Obama in DC on May 18th or a dinner in NYC on June 8th.”
“On the afternoon of the event, the place of honor, at Obama’s side, went to New York philanthropist Phil Munger. Kaplan noted to Shapiro in an email that Munger was one of the largest donors to Organizing for Action, a nonprofit group that advocates for Obama’s legislative agenda.”
“It would be nice to take care of him from the DNC side,” Kaplan wrote, adding: “He is looking to give his money in new places and I would like that to be to us.”
Not only is the Democratic National Committee offering up the president to top donors if they back the party, but many times, the elite backers will demand bribes in exchange for their support. An investigation by McClatchy found that party officials try to satisfy the needs of donors. McClatchy reported the following:
“In one exchange, National Finance Director Jordan Kaplan and Mid-Atlantic Finance Director Alexandra Shapiro argue which contributor should be allowed to sit next to Obama at a DNC event.”
“Kaplan told Shapiro to move Maryland ophthalmologist Sreedhar Potarazu and give the seat to New York philanthropist Philip Munger because he is the largest donor to Organizing for America, a group that pushes Obama’s policies. ‘It would be nice to take care of him from the DNC side,’ Kaplan wrote.”
“But Shapiro explained that the Potarazu family had contributed $332,250 while Munger had only donated $100,600.”
It is time for us to have a government which represents all Americans, not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 24, 2016
According to the Post:
“The top-tier donor package for this week’s Democratic National Convention required a donor to raise $1.25 million or give $467,600 since January 2015, according to a document in the emails. In return, a contributor got booking in Philadelphia at a premier hotel, VIP credentials and six slots at “an exclusive roundtable and campaign briefing with high-level Democratic officials.”
“Those perks were aggressively pushed to donors this spring as DNC staffers worked to try to pay for the party’s share of the convention, a tab that had been covered by public funds in previous years.”