Members of the Clinton campaign appear to have leaked a photo of a sunbathing Bernie Sanders to gossip blogger Perez Hilton.
“I wonder what @MikeBloomberg would think about this??? @BernieSanders lounges at elite Martha’s Vineyard pool, summer 2015, after helping raise money from Wall Street lobbyists,” Hilton wrote in a Feb. 9 post on his Facebook and Instragram accounts.
The picture showed Sanders lounging near a swimming pool at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee retreat at Martha’s Vineyard.
Several days before the post, a longtime Bill Clinton aide named Tina Flournoy forwarded the picture to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign press secretary Brian Fallon.
The email chain was released by WikiLeaks and hacked from Podesta’s Gmail account.
The campaign at that time was attempting to paint Sanders as a hypocrite for attending DSCC fundraisers even while he criticized Clinton for her ties to lobbyists and the Democratic party establishment. Though Sanders is an independent, he caucuses with Democrats in the Senate and helps raise money for the party.
“Bernie at the DSCC retreat,” Flournoy wrote in the Feb. 6 email to Podesta and Fallon.
“Omg,” Fallon responded.
“Can we tweet?” Podesta asked.
Fallon suggested giving the picture to the New York Post.
Flournoy then provided a date for the picture — July 11, 2015. She also sent Fallon and Podesta a guest list for the 2015 retreat.
The next day, MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald reported on Sanders’ appearances at the DSCC conclave. He also included information from the same guest list Flournoy provided to the Clinton campaign.
Seitz-Wald reported that the guest list was from a 2007 DSCC event rather than the 2015 meeting. He followed up with an article two days later hammering Sanders against for attending the events.
The MSNBC article did not include the photo of Sanders. The scheme did not make as big a splash as the Clinton team seems to have hoped it would.