Politics

HRC Adviser: ‘She May Be So Tainted She’s Really Vulnerable’

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

A top adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign suggested in a leaked email that the former secretary of state “may be so tainted she’s really vulnerable,” adding that she will need a new approach to tackling “public corruption.”

“This is a jump ball,” Neera Tanden, a campaign adviser and president of the Center for American Progress (CAP), wrote to campaign staff in a March, 2016, email.

“She may be so tainted she’s really vulnerable = if so, maybe a message of I’ve seen how this sausage is made, it needs to stop, I’m going to stop it will actually work,” she wrote. So maybe it requires harder charging.”

Tanden was responding to a memo on “govt reform/[public] corruption” being circulated by the campaign. Staffers debated different policy positions Clinton could adopt to reduce lobbyist influence and apparent conflicts of interest.

“Just trying to think about how we actually operationalize this, because I totally agree you are on to something,” Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s foreign policy adviser, responded to Tanden. “And where do you stand on a $100 limit on campaign contributions, full stop?”

Tanden’s email was one of more than 41,000 published online by WikiLeaks from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s hacked Gmail account. Tanden heads a think tank, CAP, that was founded by Podesta in 2006.

Clinton’s campaign was rocked in the past year by reports suggesting “pay-to-play” arrangements between the Clinton Foundation and its foreign and corporate donors. The campaign was also blind-sided by reports Clinton used a private email server while running the Department of State.

“People are up for radical solutions, my gut is to push here,” Tanden wrote in response to Sullivan. “I wouldn’t dismiss the issues in the 50s. That still means really strong support. And some of that is a lot easier for a Dem.”

“We have been working on some ideas too — on greater lobbyist disclosures, more transparency, stopping the revolving door,” Sara Solow, Clinton’s domestic policy adviser, wrote.

“I’ll resend the menu soon, and think about how to swap out or draw upon this research,” she wrote. “The big idea we are now pursuing is the 100 dollar limit, or a self funding limit. Both would require an even bigger constitutional amendment than getting rid of Citizens United, I think. But that’s ok.”

“On bribery, we can try writing it out and then mull,” she concluded.

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