Some top Democratic National Committee officials are requesting that former Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton return $1.65 million the party paid for her campaign email list and other data.
Back in February 2017, the DNC agreed to give $1.65 million to Clinton’s political action organization, Onward Together, according to The Intercept. In return, the DNC would be given access to Clinton’s email list, analytics, donor information and other resources that were reportedly worth up to $5 million. As part of the deal, Clinton’s campaign provided an in-kind donation of $3.5 million in resources, and the DNC settled the remaining balance.
Former DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile told The Intercept that the agreement was made after “tough negotiations between the Clinton campaign and the DNC.”
“I wanted to bring back our assets,” Brazile explained. “I wanted to get as much from them as they got from us. Under the terms I worked out, we had to pay quarterly for items that the DNC acquired. The final payment would have been in February of this year.”
But now top Democratic officials – including DNC members and state party chairmen and chairwomen – are asking Clinton to retroactively donate the resources and return the $1.65 million paid to Clinton’s Onward Together, which was launched in May 2017.
“She should return the money for the ‘love of the Democratic Party’ to the DNC for its use,” said Alabama Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy Worley, according to the Huffington Post.
Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairwoman Martha Laning and Missouri Democratic National Committeeman Curtis Wylde echoed Worley’s sentiments, calling for Clinton to return the cash and donate the resources. Nebraska Democratic Party chairwoman Jane Kleeb suggested that Clinton donate the funds to state Democratic parties.
Other DNC officials wouldn’t explicitly ask Clinton for the cash back, but they did indicate they would welcome an in-kind donation from her. Those individuals include at-large member Brian Wahby and Kansas Democratic National Committeeman Chris Reeves.
“It would be a Christian thing to do,” Wahby said, according to the Huffington Post.
Back in 2015, then-President Barack Obama gifted his $1.9 million email list to the DNC as an in-kind contribution. The president’s list was once believed to be the most valuable political list in existence, and it helped President Obama raise twice the amount in 2012 that Clinton raised in 2016.
The DNC is in debt and struggling to attract new donors while it faces a fundraising disadvantage leading into the midterm elections. Since January 2017, it has received $1.7 million in loans, bringing the total amount of its debt to $6.6 million.
The DNC has raised about $88.1 million so far this cycle, compared with $171.5 million raised by the Republican National Committee, according to OpenSecrets.org.
In an email to Fox News, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said the DNC has raised more money from Clinton’s list than it paid to have it.
“Paying a rental fee for use of an email list is common practice, and in this case the DNC has raised over $30 million with it, an 1,800 [percent] return on their investment,” he wrote, though the DNC bought the list and did not rent it.
“Putting the DNC on a strong footing is something that Secretary Clinton was very focused on during the campaign,” Merrill wrote. “She was the first presidential candidate in decades to leave the DNC in the black after a Presidential cycle. The campaign turned over an unprecedented amount of campaign data and resources.”
DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa also said the DNC has received “a return on our investment and more since obtaining all of the lists and data.”
Clinton’s Onward Together regularly conducts fundraising campaigns for left-leaning groups, including Alliance for Youth Action, Run for Something, Arena Summit, iVote Fund, Latino Victory, Color of Change, Emerge America, Indivisible, Collective PAC, Voto Latino and Swing Left.