In a new book Donna Brazile, former interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, reveals the chaos and chicanery that took place inside the organization during the 2016 presidential campaign, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) poor management style when she headed the committee.
“Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music,” Brazile wrote in the book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.
In an excerpt from the book published by Politico, Brazile goes on to explain that she had promised Sanders that she would “get to the bottom” of whether Hillary Clinton’s campaign had “rigged the nomination process.”
“So I followed the money,” Brazile wrote, going on to lambast Wasserman Schultz:
My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.
“Debbie was not a good manager,” Brazile wrote. “She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was.”
Brazile also blamed Wasserman Schultz for keeping information about operations at the DNC from others on the staff, including the dire financial situation:
Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.
“If I didn’t know about this, I assumed that none of the other officers knew about it, either,” Brazile wrote. “That was just Debbie’s way.”
“In my experience she didn’t come to the officers of the DNC for advice and counsel,” Brazile wrote. “She seemed to make decisions on her own and let us know at the last minute what she had decided, as she had done when she told us about the hacking [of the DNC] only minutes before the Washington Post broke the news.”
Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Hillary’s campaign, told Brazille in a telephone call that the Democrat party was “fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign” and went on fill in the details of what she describes as a financial scandal.
“When we hung up, I was livid,” Brazile wrote. “Not at Gary, but at this mess I had inherited.”
“I knew that Debbie had outsourced a lot of the management of the party and had not been the greatest at fundraising,” Brazile wrote, adding that she would improve the DNC even if her position was only temporary.
Brazile wrote that she told Sanders that his suspicions were correct but that, for the sake of the country, he should rally around Clinton as the nominee.
“When I hung up the call to Bernie, I started to cry, not out of guilt, but out of anger,” Brazile wrote. “We would go forward. We had to.”