Politics

Clinton Staff Panic Over Super PAC Coordination

WikiLeaks dump shows top aide 'so afraid' New York Times may expose Priorities USA connection, donors

The campaign of Hillary Clinton freaked out in early May 2015 when they learned The New York Times had discovered fundraising meetings between the Clinton campaign and the super PAC Priorities USA.

Priorities USA is one of the main super PACs boosting the candidacy of the Democratic presidential nominee. But it is illegal for a campaign to coordinate certain activities with a super PAC that is supporting their candidate.

“They have sources about the meetings. Honestly, it sounds like Priorities staff was yapping.”

On May 6, 2015, top Clinton campaign aide Jennifer Palmieri wrote in an email, leaked on Monday by WikiLeaks, that she was concerned that The New York Times would expose meetings between Hillary Clinton and Priorities USA.

“So afraid that NYT is going with this story on Priorities whether we like or not,” Palmieri wrote. “They have sources about the meetings. Honestly, it sounds like Priorities staff was yapping. We are not confirming meetings on this trip but commenting on why we are participating with Priorities.”

Clinton staff later assured someone else in the email chain that The Times was not listing donors.

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Later that day, The Times broke the story that Clinton would give her blessing to Priorities USA.

“Mrs. Clinton is meeting with Priorities USA Action donors on her current fundraising swing for her campaign, which involves a three-day trip through California,” The Times wrote. “One meeting took place in San Francisco on Wednesday, and another, in Los Angeles, is planned for Thursday, according to two people familiar with Mrs. Clinton’s schedule.”

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The Times noted that President Obama also blessed Priorities USA in 2012, but stayed away from its fundraisers.

Clinton’s campaign, on the other hand, worried about all the money that Republican Jeb Bush was raising — so they rushed to help Priorities USA. But in doing so, the Clinton campaign caught the attention of The New York Times.

Clinton staff worried The Times would list the names of Priorities USA donors. They did not.

The Times noted that as a candidate, Clinton is prohibited from directly asking donors for more than $5,000 for a super PAC. “But under current Federal Election Commission rules, she can appear at events for donors, and even speak, as long as requests for larger amounts are made outside her presence,” The Times wrote.

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Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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