Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign shares the same liberal crusading lawyer as billionaire Democratic moneyman Tom Steyer, according to leaked documents published Saturday.
Clinton legal advisor, Marc Elias, also happens to represent Steyer, a man for whom the Clinton team has worked hard to solicit money from throughout the campaign. The revelation comes from a trove of hacked emails from Democratic operative John Podesta.
Podesta, who serves as the chairman of the Democratic nominee’s campaign, condemned the hacked emails, telling reporters on Oct. 10 that he doesn’t know where the “unauthentic” emails originated. The memo was one of more than 10,000 emails that have been illegally leaked by WikiLeaks over the course of the election season.
“I spoke with Elias today. He’s good with our plan – ideally, we ask Tom to host HRC’s first fundraiser in San Fran on May 8, raise all of his $$ through that event now, then he can spend the rest of the cycle on the IE stuff,” Clinton’s finance director, Dennis Cheng, wrote in a memo addressed to both Elias and Podesta.
He was addressing an ongoing plan to hash out legal ways to get the billionaire fully on board the Clinton train. Cheng and Elias apparently found a way for Steyer to help fund the campaign without giving off the appearance the campaign was breaking campaign finance laws.
“He has his own lawyers, so I will first facilitate a lawyer to lawyer call,” Podesta responded, apparently not realizing Elias was included in the email chain.
“I suspect that is me,” Elias chimed in after noticing his name was being batted back and forth in the memo.
“Oh right! Marc is Tom’s lawyer too!” Podesta wrote, suggesting the liberal operative was acknowledging a fact known among members of the Clinton team.
Elias, whose law firm Perkins Coie LLP represents mostly liberal concerns, has made a name for himself in Democratic circles — he counts liberal mega-donor George Soros and Clinton as just two of his most powerful clients. The high-powered lawyer is perhaps best known for representing Al Franken in the recount of the 2008 Minnesota Senate race. It resulted in a 312-vote win for Franken.
He’s been the go-to guy for Democrats in voter recount cases ever since — and he has never lost a case.
The Democratic presidential nominee’s team worked hard throughout the presidential campaign ironing out a plan to get Steyer on board the campaign. They even flirted with the idea of granting the former hedge fund manager an official title, which was eventually dashed after Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook expressed concerns about giving Steyer a California chair position.
“My gut: Don’t give him a title. He will be the story. Arch rival to the Kochs. His views may differ from hers,” Mook wrote in a separate spat of emails obtained and leaked by WikiLeaks earlier this month.
Steyer ironically believes the U.S. needs financial reform, if not to restore the political system to the people, than at least to make certain that “self-interested” businessmen can’t purchase the government – such lofty ambitions don’t seem to square with Steyer’s political philanthropy.
The green billionaire funnels most of political donations through his political his political action group, NextGen Climate Action, which opposes most Republican candidates and supports nearly every alternative energy policy floated by Democratic candidates.
NextGen spent about $20.7 million in independent expenditures in 2014, while Steyer himself has contributed nearly $40 million of his own cash to political candidates so far this year, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Clinton and Steyer’s connection to Elias is also dumbfounding considering they both believe money plays too big a part in the country’s political system – it’s all the more concerning since Elias appears dead-set on loosening restrictions on political parties receiving money from wealthy benefactors.
Elias helped craft a provision added into the $1.1 trillion spending bill in 2015. The provision effectively raised the amount of money donors can give to political parties from $97,400 to $777,600. The move essentially allows individuals to drastically increase the amount of money they can give to party committees.
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