John Podesta threatened to quit his position as Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman late last year over an issue involving campaign contributions from his brother, superlobbyist Tony Podesta.
Podesta appears to have made the threat in order to protect Tony, who is the elder Podesta, from pressure that the campaign’s finance team gave over donations to the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF), a controversial joint fundraising committee coordinated between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and 32 state party committees.
“[Anthony T. Podesta] hasn’t done HVF yet – which Finance asked me about…(on the heels of their HVF commitment from Heather…),” Podesta’s campaign deputy, Sara Latham, informed John in a Nov. 13, 2015 email.
Heather is Heather Podesta, a Beltway lobbyist who divorced Tony in 2014.
The emails, which were released by WikiLeaks on Saturday and were hacked from Podesta’s Gmail account, appear to have set off the Democratic operative.
“I’ll do it, but the sure way to make sure that he washes his hands of this campaign is to draw the comparison to Heather,” Podesta wrote back to Latham.
“Let them know that if I ever hear a whisper of that again, I’ll quit.”
Podesta then contacted his brother, other emails show.
“Have you been hit up for this yet? Interested,” he asked.
“No first I’ve heard,” Tony replied.
“They seem weird. They want me to hit up my clients. Cause I’m a lobbyist — not this,” he added.
Campaign finance disclosures show that both Tony and Heather Podesta contributed to the Hillary Victory Fund. Overall, Tony contributed $36,100 to the joint committee. Heather donated $68,400.
Both Tony and Heather have bundled hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to the Clinton campaign and to HVF. Tony has bundled $267,835 for the campaign and $244,535 for the joint committee, according to records maintained by the Federal Election Commission. Heather has bundled $406,877 for the campaign and $551,529 for HVF.
The joint committee came under fire earlier this year after Politico reported that only one percent of the funds raised for the committee went to state parties. Most of the money went to Clinton’s campaign and to the Democratic National Committee, much to the frustration of some of the state parties.