Sanders Haul: $33 Million

Bernie Sanders announced yesterday that he has raised $33 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, all of it for his primary campaign. By comparison, Hillary Clinton raised $37 million for her primary campaign, but also an additional $18 million for the Democratic Party in the general election. Sanders had a very high burn rate for the quarter, spending 96% of what he took in, around $31.7 million.

Fairly or unfairly, Sanders’ failure to raise any money at all for the party is a weakness, even given the recent hostilities between the campaign and the DNC. Party stalwarts already viewed the non-Democrat with suspicion, and this information won’t help. Money for the party is ultimately critical in the general election, not just for the nominee but for broader campaign activities as well. This passage won’t help heal the rifts, either.

While Clinton has coordinated with the National Democratic Committee to raise an additional $18 million, Sanders has not replicated those efforts, despite an arrangement with the national party that allows him to do so.

Sanders and the DNC have had a turbulent relationship in recent months, punctuated by a lawsuit Sanders filed against the DNC in the wake of a controversy over a breach in a DNC voter database committed by several Sanders staffers.

“We remain happy to work with them,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said Saturday, when asked about joint fundraising efforts. “The party hasn’t given us any dates for events.”

For the year, Clinton raised $112 million to Sanders’ $73 million. Clinton has $38 million in the bank heading into 2016, compared to Sanders’ $28 million.

Sanders Campaign Poaches Clinton Data, Blames Vendor

The Sanders campaign’s access to voter data through NGP VAN has been been suspended after at least four campaign accounts accessed private data from the Clinton campaign. The data was briefly available after a glitch in the system took down the firewall between generally available data and the private information gathered by individual campaigns.

The Democratic National Committee has told the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont that it was suspending its access to its voter database after a software error enabled at least one of his staff members to review Hillary Clinton’s private campaign data.

The decision by the party committee is a major blow to Mr. Sanders’s campaign. The database includes information from voters across the nation and is used by campaigns to set strategy, especially in the early voting states.

The breach occurred after a software problem at the technology company NGP VAN, which gives campaigns access to the voter data. The problem inadvertently made proprietary voter data of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign visible to others, according to party committee officials.

The Sanders campaign said that it had fired a staff member who breached Mrs. Clinton’s data. But according to three people with direct knowledge of the breach, there were four user accounts associated with the Sanders campaign that ran searches while the security of Mrs. Clinton’s data was compromised.

The Sanders response? “The vendor made us do it.” Uh, that’s not a good excuse.

In a statement, Mr. Sanders’s campaign spokesman, Michael Briggs, blamed the vendor for continuing to “make serious errors.”

“On more than one occasion, the vendor has dropped the firewall between the data of different Democratic campaigns,” he said. “Our campaign months ago alerted the D.N.C. to the fact that campaign data was being made available to other campaigns. At that time our campaign did not run to the media, relying instead on assurances from the vendor.”

“Unfortunately, yesterday, the vendor once again dropped the firewall between the campaigns for some data,” Mr. Briggs said. “After discussion with the D.N.C., it became clear that one of our staffers accessed some modeling data from another campaign. That behavior is unacceptable and that staffer was immediately fired.”

He added that the errors had also “made our records vulnerable.” Despite repeated requests, the Sanders campaign did not provide information about the other user accounts that were involved.

Time for Plan B, Bern. Plan A really sucked. Per the Washington Post, you’re not getting your VAN access back until you come clean.

The DNC has told the Sanders campaign that it will not be allowed access to the data again until it provides an explanation as well as assurances that all Clinton data has been destroyed.

Matthews Endorses Clinton

Yes, it would be more newsworthy the other way around, but here’s the press release from Matthews:

MD-8 Democratic Congressional Candidate Kathleen Matthews Endorses Hillary Clinton

Today MD-8 Democratic candidate Kathleen Matthews publicly endorsed Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. Praising Clinton’s foreign and domestic policy experience, in addition to her record as a lifelong advocate for America’s working families, Matthews said Hillary Clinton would be the best possible President for our time. Matthews and Clinton have both been endorsed by EMILY’s List, the national organization dedicated to electing more pro-choice Democratic women.
Here is Matthews’ full statement:
“In 1920, this country ratified the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Nearly a century later, America has the opportunity to break down another barrier to full equality and respect by electing Hillary Clinton President of the United States.
I say this with the total conviction that Hillary Clinton, regardless of her gender, regardless of the significant history we can make next November, would be the best possible President for our time.
I ask you to have the courage to share this decision with me. There is no other progressive out there today running for President on a record such as Hillary’s: eight years as First Lady, eight as a U.S. senator, four as Secretary of State. Not only does she bring the most extensive experience in foreign policy and national security matters, Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime championing the progressive causes of healthcare, education, child development, and, of course, gender equality.
I have been fortunate to work with Hillary Clinton on State Department initiatives to enhance economic opportunity for women around the world, to create jobs in Haiti following the devastating earthquake, and to promote youth employment here in America with the Clinton Global Initiative.
And as a reporter and later in my business career, I’ve seen she has the talent, the commitment, the seriousness of mind and emotion to be not only the first woman President but one of the great Presidents. It’s up to us to make it happen.
I endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States and expect to be forever proud that I did and did so now.”

Clinton Rolls Out MD Endorsement List

John Fritze reports early this morning on a list of almost 70 Maryland elected officials and activists who have endorsed Hillary Clinton here in Martin O’Malley’s home state.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign announced endorsements Tuesday of more than 70 officials and community leaders in Maryland — including most of the state’s congressional delegation — underscoring the sway the former secretary of state holds even in the home territory of a rival.

The list of Marylanders backing Clinton’s campaign and joining her state leadership team included four statewide elected officials, the president of the state Senate, Thomas V. Mike Miller, two dozen members of the General Assembly and a similar number of community leaders, former elected officials and local politicians.

Many of them have also worked with former Gov. Martin O’Malley, who announced his own presidential campaign in May after completing his second term this year. Despite aggressive campaigning and solid performances in the first Democratic debates, O’Malley has been unable to climb out of single digits in polling.

The list of those joining Clinton’s leadership council is below.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski
Sen. Ben Cardin
Rep. Steny Hoyer
Rep. John Delaney
Rep. Donna F. Edwards
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Rep. John Sarbanes
Rep. Chris Van Hollen
Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp
Comptroller Peter Franchot
Former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Former Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.
State Sen. Cheryl Kagan
State Sen. Susan C. Lee
State Sen. Nancy King
State Sen. Mac Middleton
State Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr.
State Sen. Catherine Pugh
State Sen. Delores Kelley
State Sen. Guy Guzzone
Del. Kirill Reznik
Del. Brooke Lierman
Del. Marc Korman
Del. Shane Pendergrass
Del. Carlo Sanchez
Del. Ben Barnes
Del. Edith Patterson
Del. Shelly Hettleman
Del. Carolyn J. B. Howard
Del. Samuel I. “Sandy” Rosenberg
Del. Frank Turner
Del. Vanessa Atterbeary
Del. Eric Ebersole
Del. Terri Hill
Del. Jay Walker
Del. Clarence Lam
DNC Member Bruce Morrison
DNC Member Karren Pope-Onwukwe
DNC Member Maria Cordone
DNC Member Greg Pecoraro
Mayor of College Park Andrew Fellows
Mayor of Hagerstown David Gysberts
State’s Attorney Prince George’s County Angela Alsobrooks
Prince George’s County Council Chair Mel Franklin
Prince George’s County Councilmember Todd Turner
Prince George’s County Councilmember Deni Taveras
Baltimore County Councilmember Tom Quirk
Baltimore County Councilmember Vicki Almond
Baltimore County Councilmember Cathy Bevins
Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young
Howard County Councilmember Calvin Ball
Howard County Register of Wills Byron Macfarlane
Former Ambassador Cynthia Schneider
Former Secretary of Aging and State Senator Gloria Lawlah
Former White House Communications Director Ann Lewis
Community Leader and Former FCC Commissioner Susan Ness
Former Assistant US Attorney Paul Tiao
Former Maryland National Committeeman Lanny Davis
Former Delegate David Valderrama
Student Leader Samara Cohen
Community Leader Tom Schneider
Community Leader Tessa Hill-Aston
Community Leader Elianne Ramos
Community Leader Courtney Watson
Community Leader Laura Esquivel
Community Leader Karen Murphy
Community Leader Lucie Lehmann
Community Leader Dana Beyer
Community Leader Lisa Polyak
Community Leader Lee Finney
Community Leader Kathy Bustraan
Community Leader Sarah Meyers

LCV Endorsement Rankles Sanders Backers

The League of Conservation Voters endorsed Hillary Clinton for President yesterday, and Bernie Sanders supporters are not happy.

Backers of Sanders posted a slew of comments on Facebook and Twitter, suggesting that the League of Conservation Voters’ federal political action committee had made a politically expedient choice. They noted that Clinton did not come out against the contentious Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama vetoed Friday, until September, while her rivals were early opponents.

Several vowed to withhold future donations to LCV in retaliation for the move and either give the money to other environmental groups, or Sanders himself.

“Bernie is obviously the better choice when it comes to environmental issues!!!!” posted Kimberlee Nelson. “He doesn’t have to think twice when it comes to protecting the environment unlike Hillary. ugh.”

LCV’s political folks fired right back.

In an interview Monday evening, LCV Action Fund President Gene Karpinski said ” it’s not surprising that Senator Sanders’ supporters feel passionately” about their candidate.

“We continue to believe Hillary Clinton is best positioned to be an effective leader, and will be the best president on these issues from Day One,” he added.

In determining its endorsement, according to a statement, the political committee of the League of Conservation Voters’ board of directors reviewed questionnaires and conducted in-person interviews with each “pro-environment candidate” in the presidential race. The committee gave its recommendation to the full board of directors, which approved it.

The endorsement process is not the search for truth that the Sanders folks would like it to be. It mixes political expediency, personality, and the desire to back a winner. I’d expect more endorsements like this one to come as the process unfolds.

Interesting Clinton Emails

As a general proposition, and as I hope is clear by now, I think the whole Hillary Clinton email “story” is bogus and stupid. That said, now and again there are some interesting tidbits that come out as the emails are released. In the latest batch, there are emails showing that Clinton - even before she came out in favor of marriage equality in 2013 - was taking an interest in the issue, at one point in a way that involves our fair state of Maryland’s efforts to pass marriage equality in the General Assmbly.  The Washington Blade reports:

At a time when Hillary Clinton had yet to support same-sex marriage publicly, her staff and supporters were alerting her to news developments on the issue — and in at least one instance sought her help to advance the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maryland.

The latest Clinton emails made public by the State Department on Friday — more than 7,000 messages largely sent or received in 2011 and 2012 — reveal the exchanges.

Perhaps the most striking email to Clinton on marriage was from Peter Edelman, a law professor at Georgetown University who sought the former secretary of state’s help in convincing former Maryland Assembly member Sam Arora to vote for same-sex marriage in Maryland.

In a Feb. 16, 2012 email, Edelman forwards to Clinton confidante Cheryl Mills a complaint that Arora seemed poised to renege on his campaign promise to support same-sex marriage in the state. Mills had sent the message to Clinton.

“This is a little off the wall, but I am told that Sam Arora worked for Hillary at some point,” Edelman writes. “I may be writing too late anyway — I’ve been in meetings all day — but the people who are working the gay marriage bill in the Maryland legislature think it would be helpful if someone could find an appropriate way to say to Mr. Arora on Hillary’s behalf that it would be great if he could vote for the bill. Thanks for whatever is possible. I realize it may be too much of a reach. All best.”

Arora, who has since resigned from the legislature, would end up voting against same-sex marriage in Maryland. It’s unknown whether Clinton made any contact with Arora on the issue. According to reporting at the time from the Huffington Post, former President Bill Clinton was among those who reached out to Arora.

DeBlasio Endorses Clinton

Politico has the story.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Friday.

“She has said what she believes in. This is a very sharp progressive platform. I believe she will follow through on it,” de Blasio said during an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” adding that Clinton “has the ability to follow through on it.”

De Blasio, a progressive champion and the former campaign manager for Clinton’s successful Senate bid, had been holding back his endorsement of the former secretary of state for months. He argued on Friday that Clinton is best positioned of all the 2016 presidential candidates to successfully tackle income inequality in America.

“I’m supporting, I am endorsing Hillary Clinton enthusiastically because we have to take on income inequality. It is the issue of our time. We have to restore the middle class and Hillary Clinton knows how to do it, will get it done, and has a progressive platform that speaks to all the changes we need, including progressive taxation, including uplifting working [people],” de Blasio added.

His backing is a blow to Sen. Bernie Sanders, as both men are strongly associated with the progressive wing of the Democratic party and have focused intensely on issues related to poverty and income inequality.

The end, it doth draw near.

Can I Get A “Wow, You Were Right”?

I’ve argued for months that Joe Biden’s support in the polls was largely at the expense of Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders acolytes chased me with pitchforks and torches, saying no, no, there was a lot of Biden/Sanders synergy. In a word: horseshit.

With Vice President Joe Biden officially out of the running and the Benghazi testimony behind her, Hillary Clinton has surged to a 41-point lead in the first caucus state of Iowa, according to results out Tuesday from the latest Monmouth University poll surveying likely Democratic caucus-goers.

Clinton earned the support of nearly two in three likely participants in next February’s caucus, with 65 percent. Her next closest competitor, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, took 24 percent. In third place is former Gov. Martin O’Malley with 5 percent, and Harvard law professor Larry Lessig follows with 1 percent.

Can I get an amen? What what?

And yes, I know that Clinton’s Benghazi performance had something to do with her movement in the polls. But I do enjoy reveling in my rightness. I’m not above some situational narcissism, I admit it. And it feels GOOD. 

AFSCME For Clinton

Labor unions are breaking strongly for Hillary Clinton in the wake of her very effective performance in her appearance before the Benghazi witch hunt committee Thursday. Friday, AFSCME endorsed her candidacy.

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday won the endorsement of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a massive public-sector union, adding to her recent momentum in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Though Clinton was favored to win AFSCME’s backing, supporters of her leading rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), had urged the union’s leadership to hold off on a decision to get a better sense of where rank-and-file members stand.

In a statement Friday, AFSCME, which claims 1.6 million members, said its 35-member executive board voted “overwhelmingly” to endorse the former secretary of state based on several factors, including polling that showed nearly two-thirds of union members would vote for Clinton in the Democratic primary.

“The next president will make decisions that could make or break the ability of working people across America to sustain their families,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “That’s why we spent the last six months engaged in the most member-focused, in-depth, and transparent endorsement process AFSCME has ever undertaken.”

Barring a major pratfall or damning revelation, this race is beginning to look like an inevitable coronation. But one that was earned by a masterful 11 hour performance on national television. 

Clinton Benghazi Hearing [UPDATE w/Better Live Feed]

Where else but on CSPAN? The live feed is totally laggy, and the audio and video keep getting unsynched, but you can watch the whole thing from the start as well, which seems to be functioning better. Several video streams to choose from. Have fun, and I will totally back you up if you get busted at work watching the hearing.

[UPDATE] Washington post live feed is working better than CSPAN.