Tags: democratic national convention | lawsuit | bernie sanders

The Two DNC Lawsuits

The Two DNC Lawsuits
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) (L) looks on as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks as she stops by her campaign headquarters on August 9, 2016, in Davie, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Tuesday, 24 April 2018 12:31 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Friday, the DNC sued the Trump campaign, the Russian Government, Wikileaks, and a score of others, alleging a far-reaching conspiracy. The focus of the case is WikiLeaks’ release of documents and emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) servers.

A federal judge, William J. Zloch, has already filed a written opinion on those leaked documents and emails, on August 25, 2017. But it was in another DNC lawsuit, one brought by 150 Bernie Sanders supporters against the DNC. In that case, Judge Zloch asserted the DNC might be guilty of “Tammany Hall politics,” and based on evidence set forth in the lawsuit, viewed this conclusion to have been well-pled:

"The Court thus assumes that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz preferred Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president over Bernie Sanders or any other Democratic candidate. It assumes that they stockpiled information useful to the Clinton campaign. It assumes that they devoted their resources to assist Clinton in securing the party’s nomination and opposing other Democratic candidates. And it assumes that they engaged in these surreptitious acts while publicly proclaiming they were completely neutral, fair, and impartial."

Exhibit 1 in that case was a memo dated May 26, 2015, where the DNC doesn’t even bother to speak of “the Democratic candidate,” just referring to “HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton],” and no other candidate. Here is one example:

"As we all know, the right wing attack machine has been building its opposition research on Hillary Clinton for decades. HRC’s critics have been telegraphing they are ready to attack and do so with reckless abandon."

The leaks also exposed what Politico labeled “money-laundering”: $82 million was raised for down-ticket candidates, and Clinton simply stole 99 percent of the money for her own campaign coffers. The leaks also exposed DNC CFO Brad Marshall suggesting that Sanders’ Jewish heritage be used to undermine his candidacy in Christian Fundamentalist states.

DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a defendant along with the DNC, was forced to resign immediately after the incriminating documents and emails were leaked. Bernie Sanders had been onto the DNC as early as 2015 when he sued them over an earlier act of Clinton favoritism; after the documents and emails were disclosed in 2016, when asked if the DNC unfairly supported Clinton, Sanders said: “That is no great secret. Of course they did.” Democratic Senator Harry Reid said: “I knew — everybody knew — this was not fair.” DNC Deputy Chairperson Donna Brazile said Wasserman-Schultz “let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was.” At the Democratic Convention, when Wasserman-Schultz attended her home state Florida delegation’s breakfast, she was booed and shouted down.

With the above DNC lawsuit in mind, let’s now fast-forward to the other DNC lawsuit, this one by the DNC. Here are the key damages alleged in the new lawsuit:

"136. The timing and selective release of stolen materials was designed to and had the effect of driving a wedge between the DNC and Democratic voters. The release of stolen materials also impaired the DNC’s ability to support Democratic candidates in the general election.

137. The public release of stolen DNC materials was enormously disruptive to the convention, undermining the party’s ability to achieve unity and rally members around their shared values. The release cast a cloud over the convention’s activities, interfering with the party’s opportunity to communicate its vision to the electorate.

138. The release of this stolen material upended the DNC’s ability to communicate effectively among staff and with members of the party and broader community…

139. The DNC also suffered significant interruption and disruption of its political and fundraising activities throughout the United States during the critical final months of the presidential campaign…"

OK, let’s translate all of the above to what they are really talking about:

“146. The release of DNC materials resulted in Hillary Clinton losing the Presidential election.”

Considering the two DNC lawsuits, statements like “What did they expect?” and “They had it coming” immediately come to mind. You don’t have to be a member of the Republican Party to accept the plain fact that the DNC suffered an election disaster which was entirely of their own making. It’s nonsense to call what Clinton, Wasserman-Schultz, and the DNC did “campaign dirt”; it was a dead-to-rights violation of Section 5 Article 4 of the DNC charter, mandating that its Chairperson and national officers “shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns.” The release of the documents and emails exposed to the world that Clinton had corruptly locked up the nomination long before the first caucus.

But there is a larger question that no one has really asked: If the Clinton campaign indeed secretly colluded with the DNC for more than a year to manipulate the primaries, ensuring Clinton would defeat Bernie Sanders, didn’t the American voter have a right to know this?

The only counter-argument to this would have to be that Clinton and the DNC had the God-given right to rig the primaries — in violation of their own charter and public proclamations — as well as the God-given right to keep their rigging a secret forever.

The exposure of Michael Cohen and Harvey Weinstein’s fixers has provoked a debate about the enforceability, not to mention morality, of hush money and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). This is but a continuation of a very old debate between the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution: whether a free press guarantees the public will have a right to know about wrongdoing when its disclosure violates NDAs, employment contracts, Top Secret classification, etc. In the digital age, this debate has expanded into a worldwide debate on basic human rights, given that the free press in question may be just a guy with an internet connection operating out of a Moscow airport lounge or holing up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Most Americans view whistle-blowers as heroes, whether it was Daniel Ellsberg leaking the Pentagon Papers, Julian Assange leaking a video of two Reuters journalists being gunned down by a laughing U.S. air crew in 2007 Baghdad, Edward Snowden’s exposing NSA snooping on American citizens, or Harvey Weinstein and Steve Wynn’s victims exposing alleged rape and molestation. In every instance, these leakers violated their employment contracts, non-disclosure agreements, Top Secret classifications, etc.

Retaliating against whistle-blowers is ever-more difficult once the whistle-blowing has been reported widely. Ellsberg was investigated, but never indicted. Today, alleged sexual predators like Wynn and Weinstein would be insane to sue one of their victims for violating a hush money deal. And prosecutors of Assange or Snowden would be faced with PR nightmares which would make the O.J. Simpson criminal trial pale in comparison. But that is not the point. In all whistle-blowing, the outcome of retaliation has no effect on the underlying moral principle that freedom of speech is always more important than the right to privacy.

That principle applies equally with the DNC’s blatant wrongdoing. Federal election law prohibits a foreign national from making “a contribution of money or other thing of value” in connection with an election. Donald Trump, Jr.’s “I love it” in response to a Russian national offering documents that would “incriminate Hillary” certainly suggests election law was broken. But the media circus surrounding this matter has no bearing on the right of the American people to know that the DNC had grotesquely debased the election process — even if Trump and Putin had marched arm-in-arm into The Washington Post offices with the DNC documents and emails. It’s also been estimated that the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the DNC, which may wind up in the Supreme Court, could win $200 million if their appeal is successful. Likewise, that outcome is irrelevant to the underlying moral principle here.

Since 1856, Americans have only had a realistic choice between Democrat and Republican presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton clearly violated the charter of the Democratic Party mandating its “impartiality and evenhandedness.” From the very first caucus, Americans are entitled to an election process that is free and fair, and an absolute right to know when it is not, regardless of how any wrongdoing may be exposed. When this trust has been flagrantly violated as it was in the 2016 Democratic Presidential primaries, Americans’ right to a free press far outweighs the DNC’s right to privacy.

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” — George Orwell, 1984

If you think about it, there is pure Orwellian “doublethink” in the DNC’s Russia-Trump-WikiLeaks Friday lawsuit. The lawsuit argues that Americans were not entitled to know the truth about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 primary campaign, that the DNC had the right to keep the truth about the rigging — which cost the DNC Chair her job — hidden from voters forever. If Trump got votes, or Democrats stayed home on Election Day, as a result of knowing that truth, wasn’t that what democracy is supposed to be about? Just try to imagine the firestorm which would have erupted had Clinton won the presidency, and the hacked documents and emails about how she rigged the nomination been leaked the day after the election. Picture twenty million seething Berniacs descending on Washington, D.C., in full Occupy-the-White-House mode.

Both the earlier lawsuit against the DNC and Friday’s by the DNC are concerned with the information revealed by the leaked DNC documents and emails. The lawsuit against the DNC argued that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton from the start, and a federal judge has already agreed that argument was well-pled. The lawsuit by the DNC argues the opposite: that the DNC had the right to cover up its illegitimate favoritism. If the DNC terminated Debbie Wasserman-Schultz when the documents and emails were leaked, surely it’s talking out of two sides of its mouth now by asserting its rights of privacy were harmed in the leak.

Henry Seggerman managed Korea International Investment Fund, the oldest South Korean hedge fund, from 2001 until 2014. He is a regular columnist for the Korea Times, and has also been a guest speaker, written for, or been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Bloomberg Television, Reuters, and FinanceAsia — covering not only North and South Korea, but also Asia, as well as U.S. politics. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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HenrySeggerman
Friday, the DNC sued the Trump campaign, the Russian Government, Wikileaks, and a score of others, alleging a far-reaching conspiracy.
democratic national convention, lawsuit, bernie sanders
1719
2018-31-24
Tuesday, 24 April 2018 12:31 PM
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