A New York State of Disarray — and Was Hillary’s DNC Joint Fundraising Just Unethical, or More?

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New York Disenfranchised Voters

Here’s a few developments for you on this New York primary day.  (Photos via usuncut.com.)

(1) Poll-Axing the Voters

If you need to get caught up on what’s happening in New York, read this

New York’s Mayor Responds as Brooklyn Voter Purge Doubles to 126,000

and this

New York’s Primary Is a Total Disaster

and this

Bernie Sanders Just Unleashed on New York’s Primary

Now even Orange County’s own excellent Registrar of Voters has had purges of the rolls before, but as I wrote at the time it was not particularly worrisome: voters who were deleted as inactive (and thus not artificially deflating the percentages of the important “turnout among registered voters” statistic) could, for the asking, be allowed to vote — at worst, on a provisional ballot.  (With same-day registration — which Secretary of State Alex Padilla has proposed –and an open primary, they could even vote in at least a Democratic Party primary on the same day.)  But New York State is a couple of centuries behind California in this regard: people who wanted to vote in the Presidential primary election had to register with a party — both of which are closed there — six months ahead of time.

New York will allow people who claim to have been switched to independent status without their consent to vote on that state’s equivalent of provisional ballots.  That’s fine — well, not fine, but better than nothing — but it has an important implication for reporting the results:

Whatever figures you see tonight will in effect be lies, because they will exclude what will likely to obscenely high numbers of provisional ballots.

As the purges seem to have been centered on counties where Sanders was expected to do well — such as Brooklyn’s Kings County — this will give Clinton a bigger advantage than we can expect she will ultimately enjoy (presuming that she even wins, once it’s all over.)  That won’t stop her — and the media — from declaring a victory.  And that will have an effect on the five North-and-Mid- Atlantic states that will vote a week from today.

But don’t worry that this kind of chicanery will leave Sanders supporters even less likely to vote for Hillary, on ethical grounds.  After all, we’re notoriously good-natured about having our teeth kicked in by the Establishment.

And finally, as a late addition, this:

Judge Rules Against New York’s Disenfranchised Voters

(2) Sanders Letter on DNC Fundraising

I got this email (personal parts of which I’ve edited out) from the Bernie Sanders campaign today and I want to share it with you.

Why, you may ask, did this slam against the Clinton campaign for its abuse of the Hillary Victory Fund — allowing maxed-out donors to continue to contribute to the campaign via the DNC — come out only yesterday?

It’s because the first quarter finance reports came out at the end of last week — and the Sanders campaign didn’t know about it until then. They knew about the $353,400 maximum contribution George Clooney fundraiser, and they suspected that this sort of abuse through the DNC was going on — but they didn’t KNOW. And now the evidence is out — marked by the Clinton campaign screaming about them being attacked for abuse of what they have claimed is funding of “downballot” races — and anyone can see it.

The Clinton campaign is complaining that, when Sanders calls them out for lying and cheating, it only hurts Democratic chances in November if Hillary is nominated. They’re probably right, it will.

And whose fault is that? The one who did it, or the one who objected to the unethical (and possibly illegal) acts?

If you’re one of the people who blames the whistle-blower for identifying wrongdoing, then you probably should be voting for Hillary.

If you’re one of the people who thinks that having to deny the misbehavior of others for the supposed greater public good is pathological, then you should be voting for Bernie.

I spent much of the ’90s making excuses for the Clintons “for the greater good.” It’s sickening and I want to avoid it if I can.

I have another choice. So do you. I hope that you’ll join me in supporting Bernie Sanders. Because being ethical and honest is part of being qualified.

Here’s the email:

“Here’s the truth: since the start of this campaign, a majority of the money raised by the Clinton campaign has come from people giving the maximum amount allowable.

“On our side, something happened that no one ever expected. Millions of people came together giving an average of $27 at a time to our campaign, and we actually started raising more money than the most inevitable candidate ever. Not even Wall Street could keep up!

“So, as we got closer to the primaries and caucuses, the Clinton campaign had a problem – how were they going to deal with this?
“They responded as you’d think: they asked the richest of the rich (think Walmart’s Alice Walton) to contribute $353,400 to something called the “Hillary Victory Fund,” and the majority of the money the “Fund” has spent has gone to support the Clinton campaign in the form of cash transfers, advertising, and efforts to attract new donors. Tens of millions of dollars put to use to try to defeat us in a primary.

“It’s an arrangement that stretches campaign finance rules to the breaking point or beyond. But it’s what we are facing in New York tonight and in five states next week. And that’s why we have to ask:

“You have contributed to this campaign previously. It’s one of the reasons we’ve done so well. But now we have to fight back against this “Victory Fund” spending, and that’s why Bernie needs you to match that donation today. You can do that here.

https://secure.actblue.com/…/what-our-campaign-is-up-against

“What makes this worse, honestly, is the way the Clinton campaign has touted the “Hillary Victory Fund” as a tool to benefit the DNC and state parties.

“We’ve heard it on television, in debates, and they’ve used it as a line of attack against Bernie repeatedly. But now, that turns out not to be true.

“Because of reporting timelines, it wasn’t even clear until this week just how much of the money they’ve been claiming is going to elect Democrats has actually been spent trying to defeat us. And we won’t know again for another three months how much more of that money they’re going to try and use to beat us in New York, five states next week, and the huge delegate haul on June 7.

‘That’s why we have to ask:

‘You have contributed to this campaign previously. It’s one of the reasons we’ve done so well. But now we have to fight back against this “Victory Fund” spending, and that’s why Bernie needs you to match donation today. You can do that here.

“This campaign has accomplished more than anyone could have ever imagined when it comes to taking on the corrupting influence of money in politics. Now it seems we have to do even more.”

(3) What the Experts Say

ThinkProgress (a usually Hillary-oriented site that has lately been showing some uneasiness) asked some experts what they thought about the Sanders campaign’s allegations.  Please click and check out the whole story, because I can’t copy over everything worth your reading.  So I’ll just put on my para(phrase)military uniform and wade into this fray — which, among other things, will take us to UCI before it ends.

You probably already know that Bernie Sanders has been complaining about the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) — which is supposed to be scrupulously neutral in the nomination process, like an umpire behind the plate or a Chief Justice on the bench — has been weighing in on the site of Hillary.  The above letter escalated the attacks.  Hillary’s campaign calls the claims “baseless” and accuse him of ruining things for Democrats at all levels, because they may need to take money from WalMart and Chevron and Monsanto and Goldman Sachs too, which in their opinion is of course fine.  Now let’s do some quoting:

The Hillary Victory Fund, the campaign’s joint effort with the DNC and 32 state Democratic parties, is swimming in uncharted legal waters. This type of fundraising only became legal in 2014, when the Supreme Court eliminated some of the few remaining protections in our campaign finance system in McCutcheon v. FEC, allowing wealthy individuals to pour an unlimited amount of money into a single campaign cycle.

The experts contacted by ThinkProgress said that Clinton’s activities were unethical and offensive, but probably permissible.  It’s too soon to say, but they probably aren’t illegal — although they should be.

Both Holman and Larry Noble with the Campaign Legal Center emphasized that it’s extremely unusual and possibly unprecedented for a party to raise so much money for a candidate before the general election.

“It shows the DNC has clearly taken sides before they even have a nominee,” said Holman. “There’s an obvious bias.”

Noble agreed. “They really are throwing their weight behind a particular candidate,” he said. “Their argument is usually that it helps the party generally, but the practical and legal reality is that it benefits Hillary Clinton. You just don’t expect this kind of thing to happen in the primaries.”

Of course, the Federal Elections Commission is as deadlocked as the Supreme Court, so it’s unlikely that Clinton would suffer consequences even if it were illegal.  And, in the end, isn’t that what really matters?

UCI’s elections maven Rick Hasen dismisses Sanders’s claims as “legally…weak.”  And then, perhaps without realizing it, he steps beyond his area of expertise into practical politics — and kicks an “own goal.”

It is quite odd for Sanders, who would need the DNC’s support to win the presidency should he be the Democratic nominee, to be attacking the DNC.

Really, Professor?  That’s fascinating.  Because I would think that Sanders, if nominated, should still get the full and vigorous support of the DNC because he will likely be running against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz and the replacement to Justice Scalia and perhaps a few other Justices is on the line.

Given the stakes, he should be able to break both of DNC Chair’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s knees with a baseball bat — note: I am not suggesting that he do so — and expect her to smile through the tears and say public that it’s OK because she asked him to do it.  Because winning the election is THAT IMPORTANT — right?

Hasen’s suggestion that the deeply-devoted-to-party DNC members might become sluggards if they are treated badly is the flip side of the argument that average Democrats, third-party members, independents, and other Bernie supporters — may also be justified in saying “to hell with the election results, this has become intolerable.”  Except THOSE people haven’t signed on the run the damned party — and in many cases have no use for it.

So I think that it is FINE for Bernie to attack the DNC — far finer, in fact, for the Clintons to “triangulate” against the Democrats in Congress in the 1990s — and expect to get their maximal, devoted support no matter what.  Anyone who speculates otherwise, and who says that the possibility of monkey-wrenching the party from within should prevent one from slamming the eminently slammable 2016 DNC — had better lay off Green Party members and independents for refusing to cast their tiny votes in disgust.  The argument for unwavering DNC loyalty is much stronger.

(4) And As a Light Dessert…

There’s this.

Clinton’s Image Among Democrats at New Low

What was it that Charlie Sheen said?  Oh, yeah: #winning!


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)