The big-money campaign finance system that Hillary Clinton has pledged to dismantle as president is what’s fueling her White House bid, according to a new investigation.
The Democratic front-runner’s campaign behemoth is built on super PACs, secret cash and unlimited contributions — the very things she’s railed against on the campaign trail, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
The center said its investigation found Clinton’s own election efforts “are largely immune from her reformist platform.”
Clinton’s campaign committee has raised about $160 million compared to rival Bernie Sanders’ $140 million. But she’s buoyed by four pro-Clinton super PACs that have together raised at least $86 million and often work together.
These outside groups that can raise unlimited dollars are connected to David Brock, a longtime Clinton ally.
“She doesn’t just have a constellation, she has a galaxy — a Milky Way — of this outside funding,” said former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a former Democratic presidential candidate.
Instead of denouncing super PACs — like rivals Sanders and Donald Trump — Clinton has embraced them, by “personally wooing potential PAC donors and dispatching former President Bill Clinton and campaign manager John Podesta on similar missions,” the investigation found.
Super PAC contributors include billionaire financiers George Soros and Haim Saban.
Super PACs are prohibited from directly coordinating with the campaign on spending strategy, but Clinton personally reached out to Saban to solicit the TV mogul’s “thoughts and recommendations” on how to counter the “boycott, divestment and sanction” movement against Israel’s presence in Palestinian territory, the investigation found.
“I will be speaking out publicly on this issue in the weeks ahead, so I am eager to hear your perspective and advice,” Clinton last year wrote Saban — who with his wife contributed $5 million to the Priorities USA Action super PAC. “Looking forward to working with you on this,” she added in a hand-written postscript.
Allies say Clinton is committed to undo the post-Citizens United campaign finance system, but in order to compete with Republicans and win the White House, she must play by the rules of the current system.
“When she is elected president, Hillary Clinton will make it a priority to restore a government of, by and for the people,” Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin said.
Sanders says Clinton’s ties to super PACs make her unqualified to be president, and he continued to mock her big-money ties at an AFL-CIO convention Thursday morning.
“I will not leave here this morning and go to a Wall Street fundraiser,” Sanders told the audience in Philadelphia. “I will not be hustling money from the wealthy and the powerful. I grew up, in a sense, in this movement. You are my family. And we will win or lose this campaign on the backs of working families.”