Sanders team accuses Clinton of dirty tricks fundraising

Bernie Sanders' Team Says Hillary Clinton Broke Campaign Finance Laws
Bernie Sanders' Team Says Hillary Clinton Broke Campaign Finance Laws

On the eve of the highly-anticipated New York Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders' campaign hurled new accusations at the Hillary Clinton camp and the Democratic Party.

On Monday, an attorney for Bernie Sanders' campaign suggested that Clinton and the Democratic National Committee have committed "serious apparent violations" by fundraising joint fundraising committee called the Hillary Victory Fund.

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The Hillary Victory Fund created by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's super PAC to help Hillary and other Democrats down the ballot.

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A press release from the Sanders campaign claimed the fund "appears to operate in a way that skirts legal limits on federal campaign donations and primarily benefits the Clinton presidential campaign."

Sanders alleges that insiders have schemed to push as much money as possible to Clinton, but most experts who've weighed in see it as more of a loophole than illegal.

Here's how election law expert Rick Hasen explained the situation:

Here's the deal. Clinton, like Sanders and other presidential candidates, has set up a joint fundraising committee with her political party. The JFC allows you to raise a huge chunk of change (more now than in past campaigns, thanks to the Supreme Court blowing out the aggregate federal limits in the McCutcheon case). A small bit goes to the candidate's committee under the federal limits (currently $2,700 for the primary and $2,700 for the general). The next bit goes to the DNC, and the rest so state parties in $10,000 chunks. Sanders is accusing the joint committee of raising really big donations, and then having the JFC using some of those really big donations to engage in direct mail and internet targeting of small donors. When those small donors donate small amounts, contributions up to the first $2,700 benefit Clinton under the JFC agreement, and because these are small donors, it means Clinton gets all that small donor money.

"While the use of joint fundraising agreements has existed for some time - it is unprecedented for the DNC to allow a joint committee to be exploited to the benefit of one candidate in the midst of a contested nominating contest," Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said in a press release criticizing the move.

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The Clinton campaign has dismissed the charges as shameful.

"It is shameful that Senator Sanders has resorted to irresponsible and misleading attacks just to raise money for himself," Clinton campaign chairman Robby Mook said.

Originally published