Newly released hacked emails published by Wikileaks on Wednesday show top Hillary Clinton campaign staffers and strategists were still working on fleshing out new policy proposals in late February and into early March 2016. One strategy session in particular focused on the topic of government reform and public corruption, including a proposal to strengthen bribery laws. Amid the backdrop of certain media outlets reporting on pay for play allegations with the Clinton Foundation, these emails show top Clinton campaign aides and strategists expressed concern about Clinton’s ability to take a strong stand on those types of issues.
In an email dated February 29, 2016, Neera Tanden — president of the Center for American Progress — writes to John Podesta and top Clinton aide Jake Sullivan under the subject line: memo on govt reform/public corruption:
I’ve discussed thoughts on this with both of you so sending it along. Hope it’s helpful. We are fleshing out these policy ideas, but we are about a week away from that process being done. Thought this was important to get to you sooner though. I know members of your team are fleshing out similar ideas. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!
The memo is not included as an attachment with the leaked email. However, Sullivan’s response the next day suggest he read an attached memo. Sullivan then lists out five of the proposals, giving special attention to two of them. His response to the email states, in part:
Neera – so it seems like the ideas that really have currency are the following:
. . .
2. Strengthen bribery laws to ensure that politicians don’t change legislation for political donations.
. . .
4. Strictly limit the amount of money that lobbyists and their clients can contribute.
. . .
The email continues, “The fourth idea seems challenging – who counts as ‘clients’? Would we limit the funds given by people working for companies that lobby more than those who don’t? Not sure how that would work.”
Sullivan then focuses his attention on the second proposal — to have Clinton call for the strengthening of bribery laws — and he appears to express some reluctance and concern about the candidate calling for major policy changes on this topic.
On this point, Sullivan writes, “The second idea is a favorite of mine, as you know, but REALLY dicey territory for HRC, right?”
Tadeen jumps back into the email chain and replies, “This is a jump ball. She may be so tainted she’s really vulnerable = if so, maybe a message of I’ve seen how this sausage is made, it needs to stop, I’m going to stop it will actually work. So maybe it requires harder charging.”
The email chain concludes with Sullivan seemingly deciding it is something they need to consider further before moving forward.
“We will mull,” Sullivan said, “I can see this either way.”
LawNewz.com reached out to the Clinton campaign for comment on the email chain and we will update the article if they respond.
[image via screegrab]