Just before launching the rather specifically-named Hillary Victory Fund, ostensibly formed to help “rebuild” the Democratic Party “from the ground up,” Hillary Clinton declared, “When our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.” According to Politico, however, less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by the fund has remained with the state parties.
A “joint fundraising committee,” the Hillary Victory Fund, includes the Democratic National Committee and a record 32 state party committees. Thanks to a 2014 Supreme Court ruling, individuals can give donations to the fund 130 times greater than what they could give directly to the Clinton campaign for the primaries—$350,000 or more.
State party committees have received $3.8 million from the victory fund; however, 88 percent of that money ($3.3 million) was transferred shortly thereafter to the DNC. (How funds are allocated is up to the committee’s treasurer, Elizabeth Jones. She is also the COO of the Clinton campaign.) As Politico reports:
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. And most of the $23.3 million spent directly by the victory fund has gone towards expenses that appear to have directly benefited Clinton’s campaign, including $2.8 million for “salary and overhead” and $8.6 million for web advertising that mostly looks indistinguishable from Clinton campaign ads and that has helped Clinton build a network of small donors who will be critical in a general election expected to cost each side well in excess of $1 billion.
A seat at the head table at a Victory Fund party last month, hosted by “Uber for Planes” investor Sherwin Pishevar and George and Amal Clooney, cost $353,400. Days later, Bernie Sanders campaign lawyer sent an open letter to the DNC, arguing that the victory fund “skirts legal limits on federal campaign donations.” (The Sanders campaign has also signed a joint fundraising agreement, but has not leaned so heavily on it as the Clinton campaign.)
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook called the accusation “shameful.” Maybe, but then again calling a joint fundraising committee the “Hillary Victory Fund” is pretty shameless, so let’s call it a wash.