In a campaign press release, Bernie Sanders, who has raised no money for down ballot races, cites a Politico story suggesting that the Hillary Victory Fund is functioning as a “money laundering” operation and quotes Sanders campaign manager accusing Hillary of “looting” donations.
Accusing Hillary of “money laundering” and “looting,” despite the fact that the Hillary Victory Fund has already given approximately $4.5 million to state parties and will distribute an additional $9 million “as state parties ramp up for general,” is truly a new low for the Sanders campaign.
To be clear, there is always some tension, during every presidential election, in both parties, about how a finite amount of resources will be allocated. There are a lot of candidates up and down the ballot who are in need of funding, and a limited number of donors from whom to secure it.
There are inevitably people who feel like they’re not getting a big enough piece of the pie, or who should have primary access to major local donors. And in the same Politico story, there’s this: “Sources working with the Hillary Victory Fund said the committee is sensitive to these concerns, and that state parties were asked to submit names of donors they wanted to save for themselves.”
That’s more than many other campaigns do, as they navigate the complex context that is national elections with numerous candidates who need resources.
The point is: This is hardly a new situation.
What we’re seeing, yet again, is the Sanders campaign trading on the fact that many of their supporters are new to the political process and aren’t familiar with the intricacies of the electoral process.
Without any understanding of the history of political fundraising, it’s easy to imply that this is something unique to Hillary’s campaign—and that it’s just more evidence of her insidious corruption.
This is a profoundly deceitful insinuation.
Even if you believe that our campaign finance laws are in desperate need of reform, that doesn’t actually mean that Hillary is doing something illegal, or even unusual. That there are people who are upset they’re not getting a big enough piece of the pie doesn’t say anything about Hillary in particular. I have seen similar complaints during every election for as long as I’ve been covering politics.
What I have not seen, however, is another Democratic campaign send out a press release under the pretense that this is some unique devilry that is the sole responsibility of their opponent. That accuses their opponent of “money laundering” and “looting.”
This would be an incredibly dishonest and unfair attack against virtually any Democrat who’s ever mounted a presidential campaign, but to levy it against Hillary Clinton, who has spent the last 40 years trying to build the Democratic Party, is utterly gobsmacking.
If this is Bernie’s idea of not running a negative campaign, well, suffice it to say, he’s not doing a very good job of it.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)