Anyone in fundraising knows the ropes. When a major gift is made by a donor with deep pockets, there WILL BE some kind of recognition and/or perk that comes with the cash. When the charity is one for disease, or a university, the reward is a plaque on the wall. When the “non-profit” entity is the Democratic Party, the quid pro quo is something far more desirable: a place at the big boy table.
Such is the reality that is coming to light with the latest release from Wikileaks. This time the media is not emails, but voice mails. And this time, the mainstream “news” media is not ignoring the story, at least not completely. Take ABC News. This report actually aired.
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Yes, that was George Stephanopoulos. He was one of the pundits talking about the pricetag to meet Hillary Clinton: $200,000. And the couple who DIDN’T get to sit with Barack Obama at a function. And that high priced donors bump people with cancer from sitting next to Obama. The reality that the highest level of donor, Rittenhouse Square, requires fundraising to the tune of $1,250,000 at the upper end. That’s a lot of money to raise. It also just ensures entry to the parties and the behind the scenes schmoozing, not necessarily actually getting to see the candidate.
And yes, all of that private information on donors – including social security numbers – is available online for the world to see.
CNN tried to downplay the damage done by this most recent release by focusing on VERY low level donor who was angry about Bernie Sanders having any influence followed by this:
But most of the released voicemails amount to innocuous messages from one person trying to reach someone else. A few of the messages highlight the relationships between donors looking for favors and goodies, and the party officials trying to bring in money to their coffers.
And THAT is the entire point. The Democratic Party got caught selling seats at the table. The reality is that the real business is rarely done out in public for the world to see. Most of it is done behind the scenes at private functions or in one on one meetings. That’s just the way of the world. It is most disturbing for a lot of Americans to find out that the “party of the people” is doing everything possible to shut them out, but there it is.
For those of us who have been on the inside of fundraising and have had to field the calls from the donors wanting their incentives (I actually had someone call up and use that word once when we were backordered on prizes), this is no great surprise at all. What is surprising is that the Democratic Party’s voicemail system was compromised. That shouldn’t happen.