Additional Information on Donna Brazile

● Brazile first drew widespread public notice in 1981 as the national student coordinator for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee, which petitioned to make the late civil-rights leader’s birthday a national holiday. In 1983 she helped Coretta Scott King organize a 20th anniversary commemoration of the historic 1963 March on Washington.

● Brazile’s outspokenness has often made her a lightning rod for controversy. In 1988, for instance, the Dukakis campaign fired her for making unfounded accusations that George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign discriminated against minorities, and for spreading unsubstantiated rumors that Bush was having an extramarital affair. Less than three weeks before the election, Brazile urged Bush to “fess up” because “the American people have every right to know if Barbara Bush [his wife] will share that bed with him in the White House.”

● In September 2014, Brazile tweeted: “We need a new constitution.” The tweet linked to a Salon article by historian Andrew Burstein, titled: “Here’s How We Save American Democracy from Charlatans, Loudmouths and the 1 Percent.” In that piece, Burstein, rejecting the beliefs of “those who have been conditioned to fear ‘big government'”:

  • advocates the funding of national political campaigns “exclusively” with tax dollars;
  • proposes that “equality of education” can be achieved by pouring massive sums of money into public schools located in “underprivileged areas”;
  • suggests that more money be spent on bringing additional “counselors and school psychologists to our school systems”;
  • calls for the use of government intervention and resources to “mak[e] college affordable”;
  • advises lawmakers to “institute a two-year national service commitment, allowing students to obtain college admission at the end of high school—deferred acceptance”;
  • urges the government to “tax those who will never hurt, who will never feel the loss of a few percentage points in their accrued wealth”;
  • calls for the imposition of “huge fines” on “industries actively engaged in destroying the planet” from an environmental standpoint;
  • says that “instead of rewarding oil and coal interests with government subsidies,” government should “accord them the same treatment [it] has given to Big Tobacco for a whole generation, which has dramatically reduced the percentage of Americans who smoke”; and
  • advocates the adoption of former President Franklin Roosevelt’s suggestions for modernizing the Bill of Rights. Specifically, as Burstein notes, Roosevelt sought to guarantee everyone “the right to a useful and remunerative job”; “the right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation”; “the right of every family to a decent home”; “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health”; “the right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment”; and “the right to a good education.”

● In November 2017, Brazile authored a piece in Politico revealing that during the 2016 presidential campaign season, Hillary Clinton had essentially controlled all DNC funds. Wrote Brazile:

“Right around the time of the convention, the leaked emails revealed Hillary’s campaign was grabbing money from the state parties for its own purposes, leaving the states with very little to support down-ballot races…. [T]he states kept less than half of 1 percent of the $82 million they had amassed from the extravagant fund-raisers Hillary’s campaign was holding … When the Politico story described this arrangement as ‘essentially … money laundering’ for the Clinton campaign, Hillary’s people were outraged at being accused of doing something shady. Bernie’s people were angry for their own reasons, saying this was part of a calculated strategy to throw the nomination to Hillary….

“When I got back from a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America. The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and [Clinton campaign manager] Robby Mook with a copy to [the Clinton campaign’s general counsel] Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings….

“The funding arrangement with HFA [Hillary For America] and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity.”

● At various times in her professional career, Brazile has been a lecturer at the University of Maryland, a fellow at Harvard University‘s Institute of Politics, and an adjunct professor of Women and Gender Studies at Georgetown University. She has been a columnist for Roll Call and a contributor to NPR‘s Political Corner and ABC News. And in 2004 she published the memoir, Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics.

● Oprah Winfrey’s magazine named Brazile to its first “O Power List”; Washingtonian ranked her as one of America’s “100 Most Powerful Women”; and Essence placed her among the “Top 50 Women in America.” The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, for its part, once presented Brazile with its highest award for political achievement.

 

 

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