BURLINGTON, Vt. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, on Monday criticized a Hillary Clinton campaign fundraising scheme that state party leaders told Politico has been used as a self-serving “money-laundering” conduit.
Despite Clinton’s pledges to rebuild state parties, Politico found that less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by the Victory Fund has stayed in the state parties’ coffers.
“Secretary Clinton is looting funds meant for the state parties to skirt fundraising limits on her presidential campaign,” Weaver said. “We think the Clinton campaign should let the state parties keep their fair share of the cash.”
Sanders’ and Clinton’s primary campaigns both raised about $26 million in April, but Politico documented how the Hillary Victory Fund, a supposedly joint fundraising committee, has been exploited to inflate her presidential primary campaign.
“Secretary Clinton has exploited the rules in ways that let her high-dollar donors like Alice Walton of Wal-Mart fame and the actor George Clooney and his super-rich Hollywood friends skirt legal limits on campaign contributions,” Weaver added. “If Secretary Clinton can’t raise the funds needed to run in a competitive primary without resorting to laundering, how will she compete against Donald Trump in a general election?”
The Sanders campaign first raised questions about the arrangement in an April 18 letter from Brad Deutsch, the attorney for Sanders’ campaign, to U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC.
“Hillary Clinton says that campaign finance reform is one of the most important issues facing our country but her campaign’s use of the Victory Fund to essentially launder money proves otherwise,” Weaver said. “You cannot exploit a broken campaign finance system one day and vow to get big money out of politics the next.”
Sanders last month raised money for three progressive Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives. Unlike the Hillary Victory Fund, every dollar went directly to helping the candidates. The senator has also raised significant sums for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.