Election Center

Emails Reveal Maine Democratic Party Coordination in DNC WikiLeaks Scandal

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This past Friday the Nation was rocked by WikiLeaks’ release of DNC emails. The leaks are described as:

“19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from the top of the U.S. Democratic National Committee — part one of our new Hillary Leaks series. The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10,770 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3,797 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3,095 emails), Finanace Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1,472 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1,611 emails), Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails) and Northern California Finance Director Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails). The emails cover the period from January last year until 25 May this year.”

Unsurprisingly, the exposed corruption doesn’t end at the National level, but extends to the state level, with some key communication between members of the Maine Democratic Party and the DNC.

This communication finally proves, beyond a doubt, that Hillary Clinton and the DNC establishment have been misleading the public since the beginning of the Presidential Campaign season. Furthermore, it corroborates that the DNC corruption begins at the state level and goes up, as officials and employees of the Maine Democratic party misled the public and the media, funneled money from Hillary Clinton’s Victory Fund to the DNC and were ultimately rewarded for their actions.

Funneling Dark-Money To The DNC

Maine Democrats first got the hint that something wasn’t right in January of 2016 when Naomi Schalit of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting exposed the Maine Democratic Party for funneling donations from the Hillary Victory Fund to the DNC. As explained by Ms. Schalit, “The fund exploits recent court decisions and weakened campaign finance laws to maximize political contributions and funnel them to the Democratic National Committee.” She notes that the large sums of money sat in the Maine Democratic Party’s account for less than 48 hours before being transferred to the DNC.

Essentially, the Maine Democratic Party functioned as a money-laundering intermediary for the DNC to collect huge checks from billionaires who were looking to ensure the nomination of Hillary Clinton.

The accusations that the Maine Democratic Party and the DNC were working to ensure the nomination of Hillary Clinton were rebuffed by Maine Democratic Party Executive Director Jeremy Kennedy who responded to Ms. Schalit by claiming that the State Party accepted the donations because, “Maine decided to go into it because the money would go to strengthen state parties. I think that is something we wholeheartedly support and endorse.”

When confronted with the transferring of the money, Mr. Kennedy claimed a simple reason was behind the transfer, “the DNC is our umbrella organization that ensures strong state parties across the country.”

However, reports show that state parties got to keep only 1 percent of the $60 million raised.

The Platform Amendment That Shook The DNC And The Country

Leading up to the Maine Democratic Convention, Portland Representative Diane Russell proposed a Platform Amendment which would essentially bind superdelegates as of 2020 to vote the way that the state voted, ensuring that moving forward, Maine’s superdelegates would reflect the vote of the people, not special interests.

After Maine’s contentious Democratic Convention, the amendment passed and its supporters rejoiced at having set a national precedent through grassroots campaigning.

This was until DNC Vice Chairman, Raymond Buckley publicly argued with Representative Russell over social media. In the argument Mr. Buckley tells Russell:

Diane, I am sure someone explained to you that your amendment/resolution can’t actually bind delegates since no delegate to the national convention can be bound to vote for one candidate or another. Also, state parties do not have any authority over the automatic Unpledged Delegates (so-called superdelegates), only the Democratic National Committee has that responsibility. I think that the claim that your resolution/amendment (by the way, which is it? You are quoted using both terms and it can’t be both) before the Maine convention is misleading at best. Sincerely, Raymond Buckley, NHDP state chair, ASDC president, DNC vice chair, DNC rules committee member.

Representative Russell Responded:

Dear Mr. Buckley,

I felt your comment deserved more attention, so I’ve placed the screen shot here where everyone can see it. If my amendment to the rules for 2020 and resolution to our DNC members and so-called superdelegates was not done in accordance to your specific preferences, perhaps since you are Vice Chair of the DNC and a member of the Rules Committee, you could use your influence to procure an invitation for me to join you on the Rules Committee where we can work together to amend the DNC rules and eliminate the superdelegate system once and for all. 

Sincerely,
~Rep. Diane Russell
Member, Working Class
Portland, Maine

In an email procured from the WikiLeaks DNC email release, Maine Democratic Party Communications Director Katie Baker responds to Portland Press Herald Journalist Kevin Miller on the circumstances surrounding the argument on Social Media.

Ms. Baker responds:

Hi Kevin, Thanks for reaching out and for forwarding that email. The Maine Democratic Party has confirmed with the Democratic National Committee that Rep. Russell’s amendment will not put the Maine delegation at risk of being unseated at the 2016 convention.

The amendment sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell only encourages the unpledged delegates to “confer and voluntarily vote for presidential candidates at the national convention in the same relative proportion as Maine’s elected delegates” in 2016. The portion of Rep. Russell’s amendment that becomes binding in 2020 would require unpledged delegates to state their presidential candidate preference at the opening of the state convention, so that the chair of the party is empowered to re-allocate the remaining national delegates to proportionally reflect the outcome of the state’s caucuses. That amendment, which will be incorporated into our delegate selection plan, would require approval by the DNC in 2019.

We will work with the DNC at that time to ensure our plan is in compliance with DNC rules, which will be re-visited by the Democratic National Committee in 2018. Furthermore, the Russell amendment requires that Maine’s representatives to the Democratic National Committee propose a DNC rule change that would “eliminate the existence of superdelegates, or require superdelegates in each state to vote in the same relative proportion as the elected delegates of the state they represent, or prohibit superdelegates from endorsing or publicly supporting a presidential candidate before all primaries and caucuses nationwide are completed.”

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Thanks, Katie

After sending her response, Ms. Baker forwards the email and to Shu-Yen Wei with the DNC. Ms. Wei then forwards the email to Patrice Taylor at the address of PrimaryandCaucus_D@dnc.org. Ms. Taylor then forwards the email to top DNC executives Luis Miranda, Mark Paustenbach and Eric Walker with the message:

Hi,
 A small request, when you approve language on these issues, could you please loop me in? It would be helpful to know what you guys are approving and also that we don’t have conflicts. 
I appreciate it!
Thanks!

Mr. Walker then denies any involvement in approving Ms. Baker’s response:

I never saw this. Not sure if someone else on our team approved it, but I did not.

While it would be easy to claim that this was a simple case of wanting approval over messaging in response to a very public argument, it is easily proven otherwise.

Ms. Baker’s response and subsequent forwarding was an effort to quell the simple fact that Vice Chair Buckley was correct all along.

This is because as other states found inspiration from Representative Russell’s amendment, the DNC met behind closed doors to ensure that the amendments could never come to fruition. In an email exchange DNC CEO Amy Dacey and DNC Vice Chair for Civic Engagement and Voter Participation Donna Brazile briefly exchanged thoughts on Representative Russell’s post-convention press release. Ms. Brazile forwards the release with the comment, “Another lunacy.” To this Amy Dacey responds, “Yes especially since they have no jurisdiction to do so. We talked about it this am in senior staff,” Ms. Brazile follows this with, “Off course, it’s the lies.”

The Maine Democratic Party never commented on the public argument, most likely because they were under strict orders from the DNC not to, or because they simply do not care about what the majority of Maine Democrats at their convention voted to pass.

However, it is clear that the effort to respond to Mr. Miller and quell the revolt had little to do with telling the truth about the issue, and everything to do with keeping Bernie Sanders supporters mollified through the end of the primary.

Maine Democrats Make Their Alliances Clear

Shortly after the Maine Democratic State Convention, allegiances were made clear when Executive Director Jeremy Kennedy quietly made the switch from Executive Director of the Maine Democratic Party to the Maine State Director of Hillary For Maine. Facebook places this transition on June 15, 2016.

To those paying attention thus far, it should come as no surprise that, in making the transition, Mr. Kennedy is now paid by the organization he previously funneled money for.

Interestingly, Mr. Kennedy is still listed as Executive Director on the Maine Democratic Party’s webpage.

Certainly, if Mr. Kennedy is working directly for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and running the Maine Democratic Party at the same time, he and both organizations will have a lot of explaining to do with the Federal Election Commission.

Stop The Cycle

If Maine Democrats believe that asking for DNC Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz to step down will end the corruption, they are undoubtedly mistaken. She was not alone in conspiring against members of her own party, it started with the state parties and worked its way up through the system.

Replacing Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz is like simply cutting off the head of the Hydra in Greek Mythology, two more will grow back in its place. Maine Democrats are and still will be in the pocket of the DNC and Hillary Clinton, no matter what the majority of Maine Democrats support.

Simply put, the corruption of the DNC begins at the local level, and if Maine Democrats want to see a change, they must first look to their own state party and its instrumental players.

About Nina McLaughlin

Nina McLaughlin is the Director of Communications at the Maine GOP. A Brunswick native, she earned her degree at Ohio University and has since worked for various Republican organizations around the country. She likes ice cream, House of Cards and her dog, Ali.

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