A new type of fundraising vehicle created as a partnership between the Hillary Clinton campaign and state Democratic parties, including Alaska’s, is greatly benefiting Clinton, while leaving little for the state parties.
According to a report today in Politico:
“In the days before Hillary Clinton launched an unprecedented big-money fundraising vehicle with state parties last summer, she vowed “to rebuild our party from the ground up,” proclaiming “when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.”
But less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by that effort has stayed in the state parties’ coffers, according to a POLITICO analysis of the latest Federal Election Commission filings.
The venture, the Hillary Victory Fund, is a so-called joint fundraising committee comprised of Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and 32 state party committees. The setup allows Clinton to solicit checks of $350,000 or more from her super-rich supporters at extravagant fundraisers including a dinner at George Clooney’s house and a concert at Radio City Music Hall featuring Katy Perry and Elton John.
The victory fund has transferred $3.8 million to the state parties, but almost all of that cash ($3.3 million, or 88 percent) was quickly transferred to the DNC, usually within a day or two, by the Clinton staffer who controls the committee, POLITICO’s analysis of the FEC records found.
By contrast, the victory fund has transferred $15.4 million to Clinton’s campaign and $5.7 million to the DNC, which will work closely with Clinton’s campaign if and when she becomes the party’s nominee.”
The Alaska Democratic Party (ADP) is one of the 32 state parties to partner with the fund.
In an email response to The Midnight Sun today ADP spokesman Jake Hamburg clarified the scope of ADP’s relationship with the Clinton campaign saying:
“In September 2015 the Alaska Democratic Party signed on to the Hillary Victory Fund, a Joint Fundraising Agreement, as another tool for the state party to raise funds to elect Democrats up and down the ballot in November. The joint victory funds received by the ADP may be used regardless of who becomes the nominee.
The ADP has transferred funds to the DNC for the purpose of building the infrastructure necessary for our candidates to win in the general election. Whoever wins the nomination will need the support of the ADP and DNC to win in November.The funds that the ADP and DNC get through the joint victory funds help strengthen, for example, our national voter file and communications, research and digital support for the party and down ballot candidates. Other support includes training across a variety of areas and access to media monitoring and rapid response support, among other things.”
Federal Elections Commission (FEC) records suggest the money raised by fund is to this point going exclusively to the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Since the creation of the Hillary Victory Fund, two disbursements have been made to ADP – one on November 2nd for $43,500 and one on December 1st for $20,600. Those disbursements were followed within 24 hours by transfers from the ADP to the Democrat National Committee for identical amounts. That means none of the $61 million raised by the Hillary Victory Fund has yet to come to and stay in Alaska.
In fairness, local Democrats until now haven’t had a lot of room to complain about not getting more from the fund. From the time of the fund’s creation through the December disbursements almost none of the money raised came from Alaska donors.
The last few months, however, have seen a spike in Alaska based donations, which now total $17,982. Much of that – $7,500 – came from one donor, Patricia Kwok of Chugiak.
So when and how much of that can the ADP expect to see? It’s unclear at this point.
Hamburg wrote, “We are expecting additional distributions from the fund to the ADP. Under the agreement, whatever funds the campaign raises goes to the campaign, then to the DNC, then the money is disbursed among the 33 participating state parties.”
Hamburg’s comments suggest the ADP isn’t expecting or counting on funds from the Hillary Victory Fund, but rather is treating anything that comes their way as found money. He went on to say “We do not actively fundraise for the Hillary Victory Fund.”
Democrats Hypocritical On Campaign Finance Reform?
A December story by the Alaska Dispatch News’ Nat Herz highlighted what many see as a conflict between the ADP’s position on campaign finance laws and their participation in the Hillary Victory Fund:
“The Alaska Democratic Party has collected more than $40,000 from a political committee tied to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton that raises money from billionaire donors, complicating the party’s message as it calls for campaign finance reform.
The party, in a monthly report filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission, said it raised $43,500 from the Hillary Victory Fund, with $10,000 donations from billionaires, including hedge fund manager S. Donald Sussman and Hyatt hotel heir J.B. Pritzker.
In the same report, the Alaska Democratic Party said it transferred an equal amount of money, $43,500, to the Democratic National Committee — a move that, while legal, helps to effectively “obliterate” federal limits on donations to the national committee, according to one campaign finance expert.”
Will Alaska Republicans Do It Too?
Fresh off the news that both Ted Cruz and John Kasich have dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination, and Donald Trump formally assuming the role of presumptive nominee, one has to wonder if the Alaska Republican Party (ARP) and Trump will now form their own version of the ADP-Hillary Clinton partnership.
In an interview this afternoon newly elected Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock said he hasn’t heard of any plans to form such a partnership. When asked if he thinks the ARP will pursue such a move in the coming months he said matter-of-factly “No, I don’t.”