By Heather Pribil, News Writer
In a statement issued Monday, April 18, Democratic party nominee Bernie Sanders’ campaign accused rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign of violating campaign finance law through the improper allocation of funds. A joint fundraising committee known as the Hillary Victory Fund is the main target, with the Sanders campaign claiming that the proper allocation formula for joint fundraising is not being met, with raised funds going entirely toward support of Clinton’s campaign.
This accusation came soon after a fundraising dinner held on Saturday, April 16 at the home of George Clooney and his wife Amal. Clinton and around 150 people attended the event, with tickets priced at $33,400 per person, co-hosts contributing $50,000, and event co-chairs contributing $353,000. This final, largest contribution was apparently also the price for sitting at a table with George Clooney. When asked later what he thought of this method of political fundraising, he said:
“I think it’s an obscene amount of money. I think – you know that we had some protesters last night when we pulled up in San Francisco and they’re right to protest, they’re absolutely right, it is an obscene amount of money. The Sanders campaign when they talk about it is absolutely right. It’s ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics. I agree, completely. One of the great tragedies is that big money is buying elections.”
Sanders praised Clooney after this statement, saying he had “a lot of respect for George Clooney’s honesty and integrity on this issue.” He went on to say that “there is something wrong when a few people, in this case wealthy individuals are able to contribute unbelievably large sums of money. That is not what democracy is about. That is a movement toward oligarchy. This is the issue of American politics today. Do we have a government that represents all of us or represents the 1%?”
The money raised went to the Hillary Victory Fund, the Democratic National Committee, and state party committees, split between them as donors are limited to a maximum contribution of $2,700 per person to Clinton’s campaign and $33,400 per person to the Democratic National Committee.
The Sanders campaign asserts that the Hillary Victory Fund has raised nearly $35 million. Clinton’s campaign has been claiming that this fund supports the Democratic National Committee, but this conflicts directly with the Hillary Victory Fund’s recent FEC report. $25 million of what has been spent by the FEC so far in 2016 has gone directly towards aiding the Clinton campaign.
“Our opponent is bending campaign finance rules to their breaking point all so Wall Street fat cats can get away with giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single contribution to benefit the Clinton campaign,” said the Sanders campaign.
In a statement released Monday, Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said:
“The Sanders campaign’s false attacks have gotten out of hand. As Senator Sanders faces nearly insurmountable odds, he is resorting to baseless accusations of illegal actions and poisoning the well for Democratic candidates up and down the ticket. It is shameful that Senator Sanders has resorted to irresponsible and misleading attacks just to raise money for himself.”
The official statement can be found on Bernie Sanders website at https://berniesanders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Bernie-2016-Letter-to-DNC-1.pdf.