The Slatest

Clinton Ally and Former DNC Chairwoman Turns Tables, Accuses DNC of Rigging Primary Against Bernie

Donna Brazile at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 26, 2016.

Mike Segar/Reuters

Donna Brazile is an Establishment Democrat with a capital E. She worked for Bill Clinton, ran Al Gore’s campaign, and was forced out of her job as a CNN pundit in 2016 after getting caught leaking debate questions to Hillary Clinton’s staff. She was a Democratic National Committee officer* and took over interim leadership of the organization after Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned last summer. Now, in a new book, she’s addressed critics who said the DNC ran a primary process that was slanted in Clinton’s favor—by declaring that they right all along. From a Politico excerpt (Robby Mook was Clinton’s campaign manager and Marc Elias is a Clinton lawyer):

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.

It’s hard to know what to make of this. On the one hand, it did seem to many people—both Sanders supporters and outside observers—as if the DNC clearly favored Clinton in the primary, and Brazile is citing a specific document to make her claim about that having been true. On the other, we’re relying here on her summary of the document, not its text, and Brazile has a clear personal incentive to distance herself from the DNC and Clinton campaign’s 2016 failures. Her personal credibility is called into question by having made statements about the debate questions scandal that do not seem to have been truthful, and as Nate Silver points out, there are other non-DNC claims in the Politico excerpt that appear to be dubious too.

So … take it all with a grain of salt, I guess? And/or just ignore it because 2016 is, at this point, ancient history? Who knows? Democrats gonna Democrat!

*Correction, Nov. 2, 2017, at noon: This post originally misidentified Brazile as a past DNC board member.