Thousands of leaked emails from Democratic National Committee bigwigs touched on topics as varied as donut licking and other unhealthy eating habits to sandbagging an upstart Vermont senator in the press.
WikiLeaks’ data dump of 20,000 messages last week confirms what Bernie Sanders’ backers long suspected: the Democratic National Committee (DNC) favored Hillary Clinton long before she clinched the nomination. The leak of DNC internal communications also sealed the fate of embattled chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who ceded the gavel and left this week’s convention early.
No real bombshells have surfaced from the trove, presumably hacked by the Russians to stoke tensions in an already fractious party. But the correspondence offers an inside look at the pay-to-play aspect of the national committee and how DNC flaks deal with journalists.
Off-the-record messages between DNC apparatchiks and reporters show how the party tried to butter up media outlets to boost Clinton and downplay then-rival Sanders.
Some emails hint at more serious issues, such as hiding details of a joint fundraising deal with Clinton that siphoned money through state-level Dem parties.
Clinton, who’s no doubt sick of talking about email scandals, has yet to answer to the shady fundraising tactics. But she did condemn a DNC staffer’s suggestion to ask questions about Sanders’ atheism to undermine his chances with religious voters in southern states.
One local operative who figures prominent in the leak is DNC Northern California finance director Erik Stowe, who exchanged messages about the Golden State Warriors, a Huffington Post article about “pulling out” as a form of birth control and a big-money fundraiser hosted by former State Controller Steve Westly in Atherton.
Responding to a query from Stowe, DNC national finance director Jordan Kaplan describes a conference call with President Obama as having something to do with “small business shit.”
In an email from May, the wife of Capt. Sully Sullenberger, the Bay Area-based airline pilot of “Miracle on the Hudson” fame, asked Stowe for a favor. Could he find out if President Obama would make good on an offer he made seven years ago to give them a tour of Air Force One? “[We] never followed up to make that happen,” she wrote. “And now in the blink of an eye 7 years has passed.”
Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire who founded a climate change super PAC, got a passing mention. Unfortunately, so did his social security number.
A couple staffers flagged a San Francisco Chronicle interview in which Sanders discusses campaign differences with Clinton.
“I don’t think we should do anything on this but wanted to flag,” DNC communications official Mark Paustenbach wrote in the May 19 message. “He’s in denial.”
In an email two days later, Paustenbach mentioned urging reporters to write about how Sanders campaign was “a mess” after a computer glitch compromised Clinton voter data.
“Wondering if there’s a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess,” he wrote to DNC communications colleague Luis Miranda.
Other reporters weren’t even given the time of day. Emails from a Fox News freelancer asking for a DNC response to one of Donald Trump’s misogynistic sound bites apparently went unanswered.
“The asshole from fox emailed us again,” DNC spokeswoman Rachel Palermo wrote. “I did some research and there’s still no ‘fuck you’ emoji, unfortunately.”
An especially entertaining email thread involved a DNC media booker named Pablo Manriquez whose clapback to higher-ups has gone viral.
Here’s a link to the WikiLeaks landing page for DNC email leak. Pro tip: put an expletive in the search bar to turn up the some of the more colorful banter.