By now, most Americans have grown sadly complacent with the absurd levels of government corruption. We’ve come to expect it. We know it is happening, and would rather look away. But what’s happening now in the wake of the Wikileaks disclosure of 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee is making even the most jaded take note. Consider this epic SNAFU:
Emails released this week contain details about the party’s plan to reward big donors and the best fundraisers with appointments to federal boards and commissions. This is, of course, illegal.
And it isn’t just emails. The emails had attachments: spreadsheets that contain names and positions for the possible appointments.
The data had been exchanged by the DNC’s finance team. All told, it contains 23 names, corporate execs and professional fundraisers who have made significant financial contributions.
The name calling and backlash against Bernie Sanders (the candidate who just wouldn’t go away, the candidate who kept winning) is offensive enough. But the gut-level reaction fades as voters simply begin to pity Sanders. And–for what it’s worth–none of the names on this list are Sanders donors. Not one.
But buying political position and influence? That wasn’t supposed to happen anymore. And it reaches all of us.
Evidence that the document is a plan for appointments is the notation next to David Shapira’s name. He’s an executive chairman for the Giant Eagle grocery chain. Next to his entry, it reads “USPS.”
President Obama had already nominated Shapira for a USPS’ board of governors but Republicans held up his nomination.
Shapira and his wife Cynthia have donated the $2,700 maximum to Clinton and Shapira gave $100,000 to the American Unity PAC. His wife has donated $33,400 to the DNC, and $58,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund.
The documents had been emailed back and forth between top DNC officials back in April. They raise serious legal questions for the party, says Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. Just how far reaching these legal troubles could be is still not certain.
In one email, Jordan Kaplan, DNC’s national finance director, asked others to give names donors they want to propose for the positions
“Last call for boards and commissions,” Kaplan wrote in the email dated April 20. “If you have someone, send to [DNC finance chief of staff Scott] Comer – full name, city, state, email and phone number. Send as many as you want, just don’t know how many people will get to.”
“Boards and commissions? Sorry, I’m lost,” Jordan Vaughn, the national finance director for the DNC’s African American Leadership Council, wrote back.
So Comer clarified: “Any folks who you’d like to be considered to be on the board of (for example) USPS, NEA, NEH. Basically anyone who has a niche interest and might like to serve on the board of one of these orgs.”
“I should say, though, that the likelihood of landing a spot on ones as prestigious as NEA/USPS is unlikely.” Comer added.
“It’s much more likely they’ll get something like ‘President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History.’ (no shade to women) But when you submit your names, we don’t need specific designations.”
“The disclosed DNC emails sure look like the potential Clinton Administration has intertwined the appointments to federal government boards and commissions with the political and fund raising operations of the Democratic Party,” Boehm said.
“That is unethical, if not illegal.”
And it gives reporters something to talk about. This week isn’t shaping up to be the harmonious gathering of minds it was supposed to be. What could have been an historic event–the first woman presidential candidate to recieve the nomination of a major political party, now looks like politics as usual, and maybe a bit worse.