Top Clinton Campaign Lawyer Helped Open Big Money Floodgates
Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer was a key figure in a fight that allowed wealthy individuals to drastically increase the amount of money they could give to party committees, despite pledges by Clinton to combat money in politics.
As the Clinton team was shaping up earlier this year, they quietly brought aboard Marc Elias, a top campaign finance lawyer. Elias, who is a partner at the Washington D.C. law firm Perkins Coie and was general counsel for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, was just one month removed from drafting a provision that contradicted Clinton’s stated promises.
Elias was called in by the office of Harry Reid late last year to help craft a provision added into the $1.1 trillion spending bill at the last minute. The provision effectively raised the amount of money donors can give to political parties from $97,400 to $777,600.
The sudden addition of the provision surprised legislators on both sides of the aisle. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) commented at the time she did not know about it until one day before the vote on the year-end bill.
Politico reported that Elias’ firm, Perkins Coie, could benefit from the provision’s stealth implementation, which also allows for higher contributions to the legal fees of the committees.
Alongside Elias, Perkins Coie is led by Bob Bauer, who served as chief counsel to the Obama White House from January 2010 to June 2011. The firm, which is described as having a “stranglehold” on Democratic clients, has raked in more than $40 million in legal fees since 2000 from clients ranging from Obama to the Democratic National Committee.
The Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, all of whom use the services of Elias, denied that he was working on their behalf as he drafted the provision.
Clinton has said ‘Revitalizing Our Democracy’ depends upon battling money in politics. More