The Hillary Clinton campaign's takeover of the Democratic National Committee began even before she officially announced her 2016 candidacy, according to a new report.
Donna Brazile's new book Hacks charged that Clinton took control of party strategy and fundraising in August of 2015 in the form of a joint fundraising agreement.
However, three months before Clinton announced her run, then-DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) started recruiting Clinton loyalists to assist and develop a 2016 general election victory, the Huffington Post reports.
Two of the highest-paid consulting firms hired by the DNC were Precision Strategies and SKDKnickerbocker, which received close to a million dollars during the presidential race.
Jennifer O’Malley Dillon is the co-founder of Precision Strategies and was a former Barack Obama campaign veteran and former executive director at the DNC. In August 2015, the New York Times reported O'Malley Dillon was unofficially advising the Clinton campaign and Politico reported she was a possible hire.
Senior vice president of SKDK Jon Reinish has described Schultz as a personal friend and served on the host committee for a Ready for Hillary LGBTQ fundraiser in January 2015.
Two of the SKDK managing directors who worked side-by-side with the DNC were Anita Dunn, a White House aide under Obama, and Hilary Rosen, who backed Clinton in 2008. Both Dunn and Rosen were listed as reliable surrogates by Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri in an email circulated in March 2015.
The DNC gave nearly $400,00 to the two firms during the primary.
Dunn assisted in the DNC debate schedule between Clinton and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and told the Huffington Post she didn't know her name was on the list of reliable surrogates. Dunn said she remained neutral before Clinton’s nomination and defended DNC messaging during the vigorously contested primary.
"Traditionally the DNC role during the primaries is to focus on the Republicans and to keep the focus on the Republican candidates while the Democratic candidates go through the process," she wrote. "I think if you talk with people who have been through previous elections, they will tell you the DNC (and, for that matter, RNC) play this role during the primaries because the candidates are differentiating between each other and you need the national party to carry the campaign against the Republican during that period."
Sanders surrogate Nina Turner responded to the revelation, telling the Huffington Post "they can’t serve two masters."
"If the Democratic Party is going to regain the public’s trust, it must remain neutral in accordance with its bylaws, and it can’t let its consultants take a side publicly during a primary," Turner said. "They can’t serve two masters."