Hillary Clinton called Senator Bernie Sanders's suggestion that Wall Street's contributions to her campaign could influence her an "artful smear" against her and proclaimed her innocence, "Wall Street is NOT supporting me now!" Watch the fiery exchange that took place during the February 4, 2016 democratic presidential debate in Durham, NH:
But is she the one doing the actual smearing, by accusing the Senator of smearing her and violating his pledge not to run a negative campaign, when in fact Sanders is merely stating the facts? In order to come to a resolution, it's best that we take a look at those facts:
First, what exactly did Bernie say? Let's take a look and listen to the words coming out of his own mouth. As nearly everyone agrees, Bernie is pretty consistent in what he says. So in this one interview that perhaps was the latest time he spoke directly about the issue at hand, Bernie talks with CNN's Wolf Blizter (apparently CNN's embedding code they provide doesn't work very well, so please click on the link to get to the video):
Let's look at Sanders's claims then. The Washington Post recently performed an analysis of Clinton's campaign contributions for this race, as reported by the progressive blog Common Dreams:
"Through the end of December, donors at hedge funds, banks, insurance companies and other financial-services firms had given at least $21.4 million to support Clinton’s 2016 presidential run — more than one of every 10 dollars of the $157.8 million contributed to back her bid, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by The Washington Post.
Nearly half of the financial-sector donations made to support Hillary Clinton’s current presidential run have come from just two wealthy financiers: billionaire investor George Soros, who gave $7 million last year to the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action; and hedge-fund manager S. Donald Sussman, who gave the group $2.5 million.
On top of funding her campaign, "she personally earned more than $3.7 million for delivering paid speeches to banks and other financial-services firms since leaving the State Department in 2013..." the Post reports."As of the end of 2015, more than 1/10th, or 13.5%, of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign contributions have come from Wall Street. This does not include contributions made prior to 2015. In other words, they're only counting contributions to her for this particular presidential campaign run.
Additionally, exactly one week before the New Hampshire debate, or a mere four days before the Iowa caucus, Hillary Clinton held a fundraiser at the Philadelphia offices of Wall Street investment fund management firm Franklin Square Capital Partners. As reported on MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough was blown away by the sheer audacity of her doing this:
Finally, the Associated Press, in an article that examines "that take shortcuts with the facts" called out Clinton for her claim that Wall Street is against her:
THE FACTS: Wall Street is not the anti-Clinton monolith she implied. People in the securities and investment industry gave more than $17 million last year to super political action committees supporting her presidential run and nearly $3 million directly to her campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org, a campaign-finance watchdog. Wall Street is the top industry donating to her effort, ahead of the legal profession, non-profit institutions and others.
Moreover, the top two contributors from this hefty Wall Street support are a billionaire and a hedge fund manager — the two groups of individuals Clinton specifically called out as being against her candidacy for president.
These are facts, and there just is no getting around it. So now that we have the facts, let's move on to the next question, and that is Hillary's accusation against Bernie:
Has Senator Sanders smeared Secretary Clinton by presenting facts about Wall Street money being a substantial part of her campaign and that the corrupt campaign finance system we now have in this nation allows for such contributions to influence candidates? Let us take some direction in our quest for an answer from an expert on this subject who has refrained from jumping into the campaign in support of either side, Senator Elizabeth Warren.
In a 2004 interview, Bill Moyers discusses Hillary Clinton's dramatic shift in policy regarding Bankruptcy reform with Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren. Essentially, Professor Warren met with First Lady Hilary Clinton in 1999 to discuss a bankruptcy reform bill. As a result of that meeting, the First lady felt so strongly about the issue that she convinced President Bill Clinton to change his own position and vetoed the legislation. In 2001, one of the first votes Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) had to vote on was that very same bankruptcy legislation, and she voted for it.
Listen to what Warren had to say about why she believes Clinton changed her views and, ultimately, her vote:
Keep in mind, Elizabeth Warren was speaking in 2004, as a professor of law at Harvard University, long before she had given thought to running for political office. I don't know if Clinton had her sights set on the White House, either — at least publicly.
And this is not merely a single instance. In fact, a blogger over at The Daily Kos uncovered a plethora of times when Hillary Clinton went to bat for Wall Street — once even in opposition to the average American she professes to care so much about! As the article states, "not only did she not battle for the American people against Wall Street, or even follow those who were fighting for the citizens, she actually fought on Wall Street’s behalf."
So it's quite clear that campaign contributions can influence elected officials. And it's particularly clear that money from Wall Street has gotten Hillary Clinton to change her vote in the past.
A review of these facts shows, without a doubt, that Secretary Clinton has lied with respect to at least two subjects: she lied about Wall Street donations being a substantial part of her campaign, and she lied about having ever changed her vote as a result of such donations from Wall Street.
So we're sorry Secretary Clinton, but you are dead wrong on this and dead wrong for accusing Senator Sanders of smearing you. We believe that this is, indeed, a bait-and-switch that Secretary Clinton tried to pull on Senator Bernie Sanders. For that, she owes him an apology.
By the way, the influence of unlimited campaign contributions is one of the reasons why Bernie Sanders believes in and is fighting so hard to overturn the disastrous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC and why he knows that nothing will change in Congress until elections are publicly-financed, a position he has been supporting for decades.
You may also be interested in: Clinton Campaign Contorts LGBTQ History to Attack Sanders's Record
Clinton accuses Bernie Sanders of running smear campaign but is she the one doing the smearing? https://youtu.be/riGfVgZa940
Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton 'funded by Wall Street' http://goo.gl/Zqf6lX
Elizabeth Warren talks with Bill Moyer about Hillary Clinton and the influence of Wall Street's money: https://youtu.be/hbWzE4JhQJY
Did Sanders Smear Clinton or Is This A Bait-and-Switch? http://ow.ly/XYL0B