Former Interim Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Donna Brazile pointed fingers for the party’s financial problems directly at former President Barack Obama and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She explained that the duo had handed over control of the committee long before Clinton was the party’s nominee.
Politico featured an excerpt from Brazile’s book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House, which comes out Nov. 7. In it, Brazile describes finding out that the Clinton campaign was keeping the DNC financially afloat, “for which [Clinton] expected to wield control of its operations,” Brazile writes.
Shortly after taking over as interim chair, Brazile wanted to find out if the DNC had improperly assisted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in securing the party’s nomination, as leaked internal emails had suggested.
She then realized that the DNC had a major financial problem and the former chair, Wasserman Schultz, had given control of the party to the Clinton campaign in exchange for a monthly allowance that would cover the operation’s day to day costs.
“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,” Brazile wrote in Politico Magazine.
Brazile discovered a joint fundraising agreement that was signed about one year before Clinton had officially won the nomination.
“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,” Brazile wrote. “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.”
Brazile explained that Obama and Wasserman Schultz were completely to blame for putting the DNC in finanical peril that they needed Clinton’s campaign money. She points out that Obama “left the party $24 million in debt” and charges Wasserman Schultz with worsening the party’s financial strain by refusing to trim down the DNC staff during non-election years.
“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.”
Ultimately, Brazile claims to have identified a significant lack of grassroots enthusiasm surrounding the Clinton camp weeks before the election. When she called Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to report her findings on the entanglements between the DNC and the Clinton campaign, she issued a stark warning.
“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.”
“When I hung up the call to Bernie, I started to cry, not out of guilt, but out of anger,” Brazile writes. “We would go forward. We had to.”
Brazile has spoken about her displeasure with the DNC before, saying she “knew things were amiss” when she stepped in as interim chair.
Brazile resigned as a CNN contributor in late Oct. 2016 after WikiLeaks released an email showing that she’d received advance questions before a town hall event and gave them to Clinton’s campaign. Brazile later said it was “a mistake I will forever regret.”