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Big Democrat Donors Among Pelosi Critics

By Matthew Mosk
The group of 21 Hillary Clinton supporters who wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday and upbraided her for suggesting that Democratic superdelegates should back the candidate with the most pledged delegates are not just any collection of Democrats.

Among them they have donated more than $23 million since 1999, according to a report by the Center for Responsive Politics. And that doesn't count the enormous amount the 21 signatories have raised for the party from their large networks of friends and colleagues. Nearly all of them are "Hillraisers," meaning they raised at least $100,000 for Clinton's campaign. Most have several presidential campaigns under their belt, and have also raised huge sums for members of congress.

Longtime Clinton supporters Haim and Cheryl Saban have themselves donated $10.8 million to Democrats and $1.1 million to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (the folks who elected Pelosi to the speakership), the Center for Responsive Politics found. Bernard Schwartz and his wife have donated $4.2 million to Democrats and $1 million to the DCCC.

The letter makes clear the prodigious fundraisers expect to be heard. The last line of their letter says they "hope you will be responsive to some of your major enthusiastic supporters."

By Washington Post editors  |  March 27, 2008; 4:08 PM ET
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Next: Obama Backers Urge Pelosi to Stand Firm


Suspicious, I went looking for it and found it...
"MoveOn is also using the funds to help Democrats, including House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state."

Remember Sally Fields in Legally Blonde 2?

Posted by: thinktank | March 28, 2008 5:20 AM | Report abuse

"Longtime Clinton supporters Haim and Cheryl Saban have themselves donated $10.8 million to Democrats and $1.1 million to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (the folks who elected Pelosi to the speakership)"

That's how the donors probably want to see themself, but as I understand the process, the VOTERS actually elect members of Congress and then elected members of Congress elect the speaker.

The DCCC does run ads in targeted races, which certainly matters, but I don't you can say that the DCCC elected Pelosi to the speakership!!!

Posted by: lappzimm | March 27, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it looks like I was still seething about a superdelegate's suggestion yesterday to step in and stop the race - and didn't focus while reading this one. I can see ajtiger92's anger but more importantly, I want the superdelegates to remain independent (of Pelosi, the 21, etc.) and I don't want them trying to sway or end the popular vote.
As for Hillary or Obama, both have problems but I'll whole-heartedly support either in November because I've spent eight years absolutely appalled at Bush and how "ethic-less" my former party (long, long ago) has become.

Posted by: washpostonly | March 27, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, washpostonly -- if the tables were turned -- and Hillary was in the lead with the super-delegates trying to cut off Obama at the knees, I would be on your side too (LET THE VOTES COUNT : )

Posted by: JakeD | March 27, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Back to the story, I get uneasy whenever *anyone* wants to decide on behalf of the voters. If the race is close, then the more time voters have to get to know the candidates, the better; I don't want superdelegates taking the voice of the people away from us.
Perhaps their motivation is questionable ajtiger92, but what these donors are doing is right. I'm invisible to Pelosi so I'm glad those who can bring immediate attention to this injustice are speaking up. If *my* candidate was in trouble, I would absolutely want some big hitters to step up to the plate.
While this may offend my fellow Obama supporters, think of those who haven't had their primary yet. Should they be robbed of the opportunity to have their say on the future of their country?

Posted by: washpostonly | March 27, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse


All 23 names were posted, plus the full text of the letter, on one of the other threads.

Posted by: JakeD | March 27, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

It's real funny to me that Hillary is the only one talking about these so called delegates, if it was the other way around would she still be pushing for them to reamin independent? They have to listen to the will of the people, point blank.

Posted by: mheusmann | March 27, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Nancy Pelosi was incorrect in her statement about the super delegates. What would be the point of their existence if they were simply under the gun to certify what had already happened?

Obama supporters need to understand that if the Democratic nomination selection process was like the Republican's - closed to only party members and "winner take all" of the delegates in each state - that he may very well have lost the nomination by now.

The super delegates were created so that the Party does not completely lose control of it's nomination and very specificaly to vote independently. It's a cumbersome system but were it to be overhauled - which it can't be in mid election - it would hurt candidates like Obama, not help them.

Pelosi is my Representative and I am very proud of her job as Speaker of the House but I was appalled by her inaccurate statement regarding the super delegates. She has created this controversy, NOT Hillary, and she needs to admit it.

Posted by: maggie | March 27, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

When will the WaPo and the rest of the MSM give us the names and full profiles of these rich white people who run the country, or at least have the nerve to think they do? Was Rev. Wright RIGHT after all? And what about the people's right to know who is really in charge of this so-called democratic republic? Unless I see names and details, I will assume that it is just more of the MSM sheeple know, pay no attention to the 23 people behind the curtain.

Posted by: flarrfan | March 27, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Even if the superdelegates did vote based purely on who would make the stronger candidate, in no way has Hillary shown herself to be a strong candidate. She had every advantage at the beginning of the race and yet fumbled her way to her present near hopeless position. Her campaign is a disorganized mess. How many different slogans and strategies has she had now? All the whining she and her supporters do is incredibly pathetic.

Posted by: skrut003 | March 27, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

MoveOn's petition to back "Democratic leaders with the courage to stand up for Democracy in the Democratic party":

Posted by: DoTheMath | March 27, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

So now its the people with the most money should win. Real woman of people, Hill; a real populist you are. Man am I going to celebrate your defeat!

Posted by: kentduffy | March 27, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Dems could end things now; super cowards only need to commit and wrap this all up.

Posted by: quecuwkiff | March 27, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

This letter is orchestrated by Clinton, but not to win Superdelegates or silence Pelosi.

Clinton wants to occupy the media with anything but this one story: it is almost impossible for her to win the popular or pledged delegate vote. She wants people to think only about superdelegates. By shifting the debate she is trying to get people comfortable with the idea that superdelegates can decide outcomes.

In other words, she's trying to minimize the possibility of a riot or civil war in the Democratic Party that would occur if she usurps the nomination. She knows that she can't lose the primary and win by superdelegates if there is general agreement that it will rip apart the party.

This is the biggest hurdle she faces in winning - the perception that stealing the nomination is unthinkable. She is trying to make it thinkable.

Posted by: jimstrom | March 27, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is flip flopping on pledged delegates and superdelegates by encouraging party elite to vote against the will of the people - "I believe strongly that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people and to me, that means it's time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president." - Hillary Clinton in 2000 (this kind of leadership found support in the notion of "false consciousness" that originated in the philosophical writings of Marx and Engels).

Posted by: oneworld67352 | March 27, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

lisa8: Clinton is taking the party on a self-destructive death march that will only hurt the causes she says she cares about.

Surely you jest! What causes does Clinton care about except herself?

Do you seriously believe anything she says about the real issues facing us?

Posted by: vmathis | March 27, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Cantabrigian, you are funny.

First, Obama has the lead in the popular vote and pledged delegates. How that translates into him attempting to "circumvent" the voters choice for Hillary escapes me.

Second, It was the DNC and its rules committee, which includes MANY Clinton supporters, that voted to disallow the FLA and MI delegates. Obama has consistently said that he will play by the rules of the Party. It is Hillary who keeps trying to redefine what those rules are.

Third, it is the Clinton campaign that seems bent on winning at all costs, including the costs to themselves.

According to rest of your post you seem to want the super delegates to vote according to how their states voted. Okay. Obama has won the most number of states and votes. If you want the super delegates of a state to vote in the same percentage as the the popular vote in that state, then we Obama supporters are okay with that.

You know, it is okay that Hillary has lost. It isn't the end of the world. You are in the anger stage of grief. Don't worry. You'll feel better soon. It is going to be okay.

President Obama will do great things for this country. I hope we can count on you to give him your support in November, and afterwards when he is sworn in.

Posted by: choskasoft | March 27, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Pelosi will cleverly tell the whole lot of them to go to Hill.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 27, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse


You may not realize this, but most "ordinary voting Americans" haven't even heard about this letter (or the one just sent in response ; )

Posted by: JakeD | March 27, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I have never seen an election so wrought with glaring bias for one candidate. Obama is the golden boy and can do no wrong. He has exaggerate his credentials, attend a church that teaches divisiveness and talk platitudes instead of plans for the future and still he walks on water. This is what is destroying the Democratic Party. Not Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is the most intelligent candidate to come a long in a very long time but because she is a woman the elders of the Democratic Party decided she would not be the nominee and the only way they felt they could prevent this was to have a candidate that would challege the system - thus enters Sen. Obama who no one had even heard of outside of Illinois before 2004. I am totally disgusted with the DNC and have decided to become an Independent. I will not vote for a hand picked nominee that has been crammed down by throat by the MSM. Good luck America, we're going to need it.

Posted by: donna.richardson | March 27, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

This is truly a sad time for the Democrats. The Clintons have put their "big-time" campaign donors up the task of what will be perceived by the media and ordinary Americans as "blackmailing" Pelosi and the superdelegates.

These Wealthy Pro-Clinton donors have no clue of how bad this letter looks to ordinary voting Americans. Essentially these wealthy (special interest) Pro-Clinton donors are telling Americans that Hillary should be given the nomination over the will of the people (as defined by most pledged delegates, most states won, and most popular vote) because they have the most wealth in the Party.

This crap makes me so mad that I am going to donate money to Obama again. I encourage my fellow HOPE-MONGERS to donate as well.

Obama in 08!

Posted by: ajtiger92 | March 27, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

What makes Clinton think she can win over superdelegates? The convention is a lot like a caucus and she has been losing those badly to Obama. The only caucus state Clinton has won (very narrowly) is Nevada and Obama ended up getting more delegates out of that state then she did. She is not ging win the pledged delegate count or the popular vote; anyone who can do math agrees on this point. What evidence is there that she would have a shot a pulling off the extreme organizing challenge of a coup at the convention? Especially against Obama's campaign who has out organized her at every turn. Clinton is taking the party on a self-destructive death march that will only hurt the causes she says she cares about.

Posted by: lisa8 | March 27, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse


I'm sure you are aware that Obama supporters are "begging the question" if the Democratic Party can afford to lose the Presidential election and the respect of the American people due to Clinton's campaign effort to win at all costs ; )

Posted by: JakeD | March 27, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

And this garbage is just one more example of why we need Obama. When will these people realize that ALL Americans should have an equal voice - not just those who can afford to BUY a hearing from our nation's decisionmakers.

These people - Hillary folks all - make me absolutely sick.

Posted by: drama_king | March 27, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi, of all people should know the role of the Superdelgates. This is not fuzzy math! The purpose of the Superdelegates is to add rational thought to the Democratic primary election process. The fact that Obama is attempting to circumvent the voters choice for Hillary Clinton, and prevent the votes of Michigan and Florida, emphasizes the importance of Superdelegates in this campaign. However, many states are in the same position as Massachusetts where Senator Hillary Clinton won the state, although Senators Kennedy and Kerry campaigned hard for Obama. There will be more than tea in the Boston Harbor if the Massachusetts Superdelegates support Obama who was clearly not the choice of Massachusetts voters. It begs the question if the Democratic Party can afford to lose the Presidential election and the respect of the American people due to Obama's campaign effort to win at all costs.

Posted by: Cantabrigian | March 27, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, I haven't donated $10.8 million, but Speaker Pelosi already took impeachment "off the table" so I guess that's about as much as I could expect . . .

Posted by: JakeD | March 27, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

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