Hacktivist Guccifer 2.0, who breached the servers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in August, released documents last week relating to DCCC Chairman and Congressman Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM). The hacker also leaked dozens of additional documents to the Progressive Army. We published the documents below.
Guccifer 2.0 is also responsible for the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) email dump that was released by WikiLeaks. The emails revealed that the Democratic Party was biased towards Hillary Clinton and colluded against her rival Bernie Sanders during the primaries. The leaks led to the resignation of the DNC’s Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). The DNC blamed the data breach on Russia.
The leaked batch of documents reveals four things about the Democratic Party:
1. The Democratic Party Colludes With the Media
A leaked memo titled “BRL Interview Prep MEMO – CO03, CO06, IA01, NE02, UT04” detailed the state of five competitive Congressional races. The document reveals the Party’s collusion and close tie with the press, its active work to control the narrative and ensuring positive press coverage in Utah’s 4th district:
- We have been very successful in working behind the scenes to shape the narrative favorably in this race. Local and beltway press believe that Love is vulnerable and that Owens is running a great campaign.
The memo also shows that Rep. Brad Ashford’s (D-NE) established a strong relationship with the local press, including Omaha World Herald’s political reporter Joe Jordan who now serves as Rep. Ashford’s communications director. Ashford’s close ties with the press helped change the narrative to his favor:
- The local press – including Joe Jordan of the Omaha World Herald – has a very open and transparent relationship with Ashford and he receives strong local coverage as a result.
- Public perception on this race has changed a lot in Omaha and the Beltway. The press views Bacon and Maxwell as weak opponents despite the fact that Republicans should have recruited a top-tier candidate to oppose our most vulnerable incumbent. Reporters have started to write the story that Ashford (and largely his Chief of Staff) has turned things around and that he is not nearly as vulnerable as initially thought.
The memo also shows that the DCCC initially supported Jim Mowrer in Iowa’s 3rd district. The DCCC only became neutral after the primary challenger Mike Sherzan was able to demonstrate his fundraising abilities.
These are not isolated cases. A recently leaked document from the DNC showed that the Democratic Party strategically colluded with the media. The DNC established a strategy to “muddy the waters around ethics, transparency and campaign finance attacks on HRC [Hillary Clinton].” It also planned to levy different attacks through the media by conducting reporter outreach. The DNC would do “off-the-record conversations and oppo [sic] pitches to help pitch stories with no fingerprints and utilize reporters to drive a message. [emphasis mine]”
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton also has a long record of colluding with the media. Gawker reports how Clinton’s spokesperson manipulated journalists to insert the narrative that Clinton desired in the press. The report found that Marc Ambinder from The Atlantic accepted terms set forth by Clinton’s spokesperson to describe Clinton’s speech as ‘muscular’ in exchange for access to her speech. It notes how Politico’s Mike Allen “promised to deliver positive coverage of Chelsea Clinton, and, in a separate exchange, permitted Reines to ghost-write an item about the State Department for Politico’s Playbook newsletter.”
2. The Democratic Party Preselects Candidates
Primaries at all levels are meant to give eligible participants the opportunity to nominate their preferred candidates in races – but leaked documents show otherwise. One of the leaked memos obtained by the Progressive Army indicates that the DCCC preselected and encouraged Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn to run in New York’s first district. The memo reads: (emphasis mine)
- This swing seat requires a strong candidate that will potentially face a crowded primary and ultimately a well-funded incumbent.
- The ideal candidate must start their campaign early in order to raise significant funds. This seat is located entirely in the New York City media market, which is extremely expensive.
- Please ask about her timeline for making a decision, entering the race, and how she plans to deal with potential primary opponents.
Kara Hahn didn’t enter the race.
Earlier this month, we reported how the DCCC supported Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) in her primary in North Carolina’s 12th district against her primary challengers. The Observer also revealed that the Democratic Party quietly picked favored candidates in three congressional elections in Pennsylvania.
3. The Democratic Party Had Only One Nominee in Mind: Hillary Clinton
Guccifer 2.0 recent leak also shows that the DCCC considered Hillary Clinton as the de-facto Democratic nominee – well before the nomination had come to an end.
The memo that detailed the state of multiple congressional races also indicates that the DCCC saw an opportunity to claim Utah’s 4th district from Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) in November – thanks largely to Trump’s unfavorable numbers in the state. The “Trump Impact,” according to the memo, makes the otherwise safe Republican state a competitive one in the General Election.
But although the memo was written back in April, well before Hillary Clinton secured the nomination, the document only refers to the former Secretary of State in its analysis:
- Trump is extremely unpopular in Utah. Public polling has shown that Hillary Clinton could beat Trump in the very conservative state.
- We do not want to nationalize the race, but Trump will certainly hurt Love’s chances.
4. The Democratic Party Courts Rich Donors
The leak also contains dozens of documents on donor information and fundraising strategies by the DCCC. The documents show that the Democratic Party targets wealthy donors. “Please ask Oscar to write or raise $5,000 for the DCCC,” writes one memo. On average, donors contribute around $1,000 with some donating the maximum amount.
Worth noting is a memo regarding a meeting between Rep. Luján and wealthy insurance executive George Norcross. The wealthy donor “is amongst the most powerful non-elected opinion makers in both New Jersey and nationally,” the memo states. “[He] has used his fortune to influence politics on the county, state and federal level. It is well known that state legislators in South Jersey maintain their power against the more populous north by always voting as a bloc. This bloc of votes is controlled by Mr. Norcross and he uses many tools including independent expenditures, to maintain its influence. [emphasis mine]”
On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver showed how politicians spend between 25 to 50% of their time fundraising for congressional races, targeting wealthy donors. Democratic Party members do not deny this. “For Senate race, I’m not calling anybody who doesn’t have the chance of giving me at least a thousand dollars. So you got to imagine that the people I’m calling, you know, are folks that are, you know, making a half a million to a million dollars. And you know, they have fundamentally different problems than everybody else,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).
While many Democrats complain about fundraising, only a few have endorsed reforms such as public funding of elections to fight the impact of big money in politics.
Here is the list of leaked documents with personal information redacted:
|022615 Ben Ray Lujan Toplines.pdf||Download|
|022615 Lujan State Contributions.xlsx||Download|
|032315 BRL Expenses & Perks.pdf||Download|
|032515 BRL Mass Mailings & Communications.xlsx||Download|
|032515 BRL Staff Salaries – Gender Analysis.xlsx||Download|
|032515 BRL Staff Salaries.xlsx||Download|
|032615 BRL Controversial Votes & Votes Against Dems.pdf||Download|
|051815 BRL Clips Book.pdf||Download|
|063015 BRL Top Hits Memo.pdf||Download|
|11.13.13.Call Results Memo for Congressman Henry Cuellar.pdf||Download|
|113th Congress- Republican Attacks -Lujan.pdf||Download|
|120915 BRL Top Hits Memo – Updated.pdf||Download|
|121415 BRL Top Hits Memo – FINAL.pdf||Download|
|2 3 TEAM CC Memo_Lujan.pdf||Download|
|6.11.15 MOC member dues list update – Lujan.pdf||Download|
|6.12.15 MOC member dues list update – Lujan Crowley.pdf||Download|
|6.12.15 MOC member dues list update – Lujan.pdf||Download|
|6.16.15 MOC member dues list update – Lujan Rankers.pdf||Download|
|6.16.15 MOC member dues list update – Lujan.pdf||Download|
|6.9.15 MOC member dues list update – Lujan.pdf||Download|
|Aguilar Rep. Ray Lujan 5.22.13.pdf||Download|
|Antelo Cristina_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Antelo, Cristina_Latino Council.GH.docx.xlsx||Download|
|Antelo, Cristina_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|April Visa Memos (Lujan).pdf||Download|
|BRL debt limit votes.pdf||Download|
|BRL Interview Prep MEMO – CO03, CO06, IA01, NE02, UT04.pdf||Download|
|BRL Interview Prep MEMO – NM02.pdf||Download|
|BRL pay votes.pdf||Download|
|BRL Regional Reporter Roundtable Prep Memo.pdf||Download|
|Chairman Lujan Letter to PG County Young Dems.pdf||Download|
|Chavez Martin_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Chavez, Martin_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Chavez, Marty_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Comment from Chairman Lujan on NV04 primary.pdf||Download|
|DCCC – Ben Ray Lujan Packet Logo.PNG||Download|
|DCCC Congressman Ben Ray Lujan Chairman.PNG||Download|
|Duran Pino_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Duran & Pino_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Duran, Ingrid_Latino Council.GH.docx.xlsx||Download|
|Duran, Ingrid_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Feb Visa Memos (Lujan).pdf||Download|
|Gonzalez Lawrence Larry_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Gonzalez, John Michael_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Gonzalez, John Michael_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Gonzalez, Larry_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Gonzalez, Lawrence Larry_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Herrera-Flanigan Jessica_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Herrera-Flanigan, Jessica_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Herrera-Flanigan, Jessica_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Ibarra Mickey_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Ibarra, Mickey_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Ibarra, Mickey_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|LC Call Sheets to do.xlsx||Download|
|List of Host Calls.xlsx||Download|
|Lists for Latino Council.xlsx||Download|
|Lujan 2008 PFD.pdf||Download|
|Lujan Attendee Briefing – Latino Council Breakfast.pdf||Download|
|Lujan Donor Map Version C.ai||Download|
|Lujan Donor Map Version C.pdf||Download|
|Lujan Grisham 1.30.15.pdf||Download|
|Lujan Main Briefing – Latino Council Breakfast.pdf||Download|
|Lujan Norcross 3 5 15.pdf||Download|
|Lujan PFD 2008.pdf||Download|
|Lujan PFD 2009.pdf||Download|
|Lujan PFD 2010 Amendment.pdf||Download|
|Lujan PFD 2010.pdf||Download|
|Lujan PFD 2011.pdf||Download|
|Lujan PFD 2012.pdf||Download|
|Lujan PFD 2013.pdf||Download|
|Lujan PFD Spreadsheet.xlsx||Download|
|Lujan.List – Copy.xlsx||Download|
|Magana Mark_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|March Visa Memos (Lujan).pdf||Download|
|Nexis Clips 1 .pdf||Download|
|NY-1 Hahn Lujan Meeting 2 11 15.pdf||Download|
|NY-23 Plumb Lujan Recruitment Memo 4.29.pdf||Download|
|Ocañas, Gilberto_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Ocañas, Gilberto_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Ortiz, Manuel Manny_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Ortiz, Manuel Manny_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Pino, Catherine_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Pino, Catherine_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Raben Robert_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Raben, Robert_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Raben, Robert_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Ramirez Oscar_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Ramirez, Oscar_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Ramirez, Oscar_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Rep. Ben Ray Lujan CHC BOLD PAC Winter Miami Retreat Memo – Members (2).pdf||Download|
|Rep. Lujan Grisham 2014 Cycle DCCC Credit.xlsx||Download|
|Revised AZ Dem Party Speech for Chairman Lujan.pdf||Download|
|Rodriguez Estuardo_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Rodriguez, Estuardo_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Rodriguez, Estuardo_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|Tapia, Raul_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Tapia, Raul_Latino Council.pdf||Download|
|UPDATED – BRL Prep MEMO – CO03, CO06, IA03, NE02, UT04.pdf||Download|
|Velasquez, Joe_Latino Council.GH.xlsx||Download|
|Velasquez, Joe_Latino Council.pdf||Download|