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Hillary Rodham Clinton is a former U.S. Senator from New York (2001-2009), and former U.S. Secretary of State (2009- 2013). She announced she was running for President on April 12, 2015. [1]

Clinton Announces Campaign Finance Reform Plan

”Hilary’s Fight Against Citizen’s United"

Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton announced her plan to overhaul the campaign finance system in the U.S. at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H. on September 8, 2015.[2] Unhappy with the current “political system hijacked by billionaires and special interests,” Clinton proposed a number of reforms to limit anonymous campaign donations and increase the number of small donors.[3] The ‘’New York Times’’ reports that Clinton’s plan, “includes a push for legislation that would require greater public disclosure of political spending, establish a matching system for congressional and presidential candidates, and support a Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring publicly traded companies to disclose political spending to shareholders.”[3]

Clinton’s plan has received a lot of support from those who have been unsatisfied with the political donation system following the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen’s United ruling. David Donnelly, President and CEO of ‘’Every Voice’’, writes in reaction to Clinton’s plan, "With the release of this strong, bold plan, Hillary Clinton recognizes that in order to create government of, by, and for the people—not just the wealthy campaign funders—it’s crucial to amplify the voices of regular voters. What she has proposed is both good policy and good politics. That’s why Clinton should actively campaign on this platform and push these solutions to the center of the debate in the days, weeks, and months to come.”[4]

See other reactions from other campaign finance reform advocates here.

Clinton's Handling of State Department Emails

In March 2015, widespread media attention was given to Clinton’s practice of using her personal email address and server for work-related emails while serving as Secretary of State. An Associated Press review of emails from past administrations found that Clinton’s actions were “consistent with a State Department culture in which diplomats routinely sent secret material on unsecured email during the past two administrations.” [5] But partisan bickering over the attack on the Benghazi compound, the State Department’s failure to respond to legitimate open records requests and Clinton’s status as a 2016 presidential front-runner have launched the issue into the headlines.

In 2012, congressional investigators looking into the attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya requested State Department emails related to the incident. However, because the use of a private email server shielded Secretary Clinton’s emails from internal searches, State Department officials were unable to provide any of her emails until February 2015. On March 3, 2015 State Department officials publicly acknowledged that Clinton had used a private email address and server for work-related email throughout her time as Secretary of State. She utilized a secure server set up for her husband, former President Bill Clinton, but the security of the server was questioned. [6] The New York Times reported that in late 2014, Clinton’s advisers had combed through her emails and decided which to turn over to the State Department, eventually supplying 50,000 emails. [7]

Concerns were immediately raised that these actions may have breached State Department security protocol or the Federal Records Act. The scandal also highlighted the frequent FOIA requests for Clinton’s State Department records which had frequently been ignored or met with a response that records did not exist. [8] [9] [10] The State Department defended Clinton’s behavior but launched an investigation into the matter to determine if any security protocol’s had been breached. [11] On March 11, 2015, Clinton stated she used a single email for personal and work-related emails for “convenience” but admitted it would have been wiser to use separate accounts. [12]

On June 29, 2015 a memo by the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies asserted that Mrs. Clinton’s private account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” The memo was written to Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management. It was not clear if the State Department had designated any of the materials contained in her emails as classified at the time. [13] Clinton, who had maintained since the March 2015 New York Times story that there was no classified material whatsoever on her emails, modified her assertion and claimed on July 25 that she “did not send nor receive anything that was classified at the time." [14]

Following the June 29 memo, the inspectors general of the State Department and the intelligence agencies recommended that the Justice Department/FBI open an investigation into the matter. However, they asserted that this was a “counterintelligence referral” to ensure that no classified information had been leaked, and not a “criminal referral” to determine if Clinton or her staff should have charges filed against them. [15]

On August 5, 2015 it was announced that the FBI had begun an investigation into the existence of classified materials contained in the Clinton’s emails. [16] On August 11, Clinton turned over the emails to the FBI, which had previously been provided to the State Department. [17]

As of August 21, the State Department has been categorizing many of the publicly released Clinton emails as “Classified” but asserted that these are new designations and were not designated as such when Clinton was Secretary of State. Reuters performed an independent examination of the publicly released emails and disputed the State Departments conclusions, asserting “that some of Clinton's emails from her time as the nation's most senior diplomat are filled with a type of information the U.S. government and the department's own regulations automatically deems classified from the get-go — regardless of whether it is already marked that way or not.” [18] J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government's Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), told Reuters that much of the information in the publicly released Clinton emails is “born classified,” adding “If a foreign minister just told the secretary of state something in confidence, by U.S. rules that is classified at the moment it's in U.S. channels and U.S. possession.” [18]

On August 18, the inspector general for the intelligence community announced that it had concluded its own investigation into the emails and was not taking any further action. [19]

Lawsuits Over the Clinton Emails

In November 2014, VICE News filed a lawsuit against the State Department after a FOIA request by reporter Jason Leopold for a broad array of emails went unanswered.[20] On May 27, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras specified that "all of the non-exempt portions" of the emails should be produced, beginning on June 30, 2015 and via rolling production and "continuing every 30 days thereafter" with an end date of January 29, 2016. [21]

In response to a 2013 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed Judicial Watch into the special employment status of Huma Abedin, which allowed her to work as a top aid for then-Secretary Clinton and outside private clients, in 2015 Emmet G. Sullivan of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia urged the FBI to expand its inquiry to pursue emails that Clinton’s staff may have deleted. According the New York Times, “the judge ordered the State Department to ask the F.B.I. to give it any emails recovered from Mrs. Clinton’s private server that were not already in the State Department’s possession or that may be related to the lawsuit.” [22]

The Associated Press also filed a lawsuit in March 2015 against the State Department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. According to the AP: “The legal action comes after repeated requests filed under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act have gone unfulfilled. They include one request AP made five years ago and others pending since the summer of 2013.” [23]

State Department Approval of Uranium One Deal

In April 2015, the New York Times ran a controversial story linking Clinton Foundation donations to a controversial mining deal. The Times reported that from 2009 to 2013, the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, acquired Uranium One, a Canadian uranium company which gave the Russians control of one fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Because the deal involved acquisition of uranium in the United States, a strategic asset, a number of US government agencies had to approve of the deal, including the State Department during the tenure of Secretary Hillary Clinton. An April 23, 2015 New York Times’ investigation showed that during this period, several Uranium One executives and employees, including the chairman Ian Telfer, made numerous donations to the Clinton Foundation totaling several million dollars. [24]

The Times reporting stirred controversy also because a primary source was Peter Schweizer, a right-wing political operative. The Times did disclose in the article that: "Some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation were unearthed by Peter Schweizer, a former fellow at the right-leaning Hoover Institution and author of the forthcoming book ‘Clinton Cash.’ Mr. Schweizer provided a preview of material in the book to The Times, which scrutinized his information and built upon it with its own reporting." But this did not satisfy critics who wrote to the Times ombudsman asking for further disclosure. [25]

The story also reported that before the Rosatom acquisition, Bill Clinton had helped Frank Guistra acquire large stakes in uranium mines located in Kazakhstan. Guistra had also been a large Clinton Foundation donor, giving a total of $31.1 million. Uranium One later acquired Guistra’s stakes in the Kazakhstan mines. [24] [26]

The State Department denied that the donations had anything to do with approval for the Rosatom acquisition of Uranium One. Foreign investment transactions which involve strategic assets must be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), of which the State Department is one member along with several other agencies. Jose Hernandez, the official who was the State Department’s representative on CFIUS at the time, told Time magazine that Clinton did not participate in the evaluation of this deal, stating “Secretary Clinton never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter.” [27] Additionally, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, exclaimed “to suggest the State Department, under then-Secretary Clinton, exerted undue influence in the U.S. government’s review of the sale of Uranium One is utterly baseless.” [24]

Further complicating the matter for the Clintons is the fact that they failed to properly disclose the donations to their foundation. $2.35 million donated by Telfer was not publically disclosed, despite an agreement Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. [28] The incident caused Clinton to admit “mistakes” in accounting and promise greater openness and transparency regarding foreign donors. [29]


Ready for Hillary: In January, 2013, Adam Parkhomenko, a staff member of Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, and Allida Black, a George Washington University professor, founded Ready for Hillary, a super PAC with the purpose of drafting Clinton into the 2016 presidential race. [30] Prominent supporters of Ready for Hillary included Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, [31] Ohio congressman Tim Ryan, [32] and Missouri senator Claire McCaskill, [33] billionaire philanthropist George Soros. [34] Ready for Hillary focused on building a network of volunteers and donors instead of engaging in high-profile advertising. [35] At the time of Clinton’s announcement of her intention to run for president in April, 2015, Ready for Hillary had held more than 1,300 events and received donations from more than 130,000 individuals totaling over $14 million. [36] As the official Clinton presidential campaign organized in April, 2015, Ready for Hillary began to wind down operation and transferred its list of 3.6 million supporters to her campaign. [37]

Priorities USA Action: In May, 2015, Clinton began raising money for Priorities USA Action, a progressive super PAC founded in 2012 which supported the reelection of President Obama. Priorities USA Action began supporting Clinton’s campaign for president in January, 2014. [38] With Clinton’s official announcement of her intention to run for president, the super PAC reorganized its leadership by adding longtime Clinton supporter Guy Cecil as chief strategist and Anne Caprara, the vice president of campaigns at EMILY's List, as the group's new executive director. David Brock, who headed the group from its 2014 until his resignation in February 2015, also rejoined the board of Priorities USA Action. [39] Prominent past supporters of Priorities USA Action include DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, attorney David Boies, and talk show host Bill Maher. [40] Clinton’s decision to collaborate with Priorities USA Action angered many of her supporters who had hoped she would not align herself so closely with soft money and the wealthiest class of donors. [41] [42]

American Bridge/Correct the Record: In November, 2013, a former senior adviser to Clinton, Burns Strider, and a top Clinton donor, Susie Tompkins Buell, launched Correct the Record, a project of the super PAC American Bridge. [43] American Bridge was founded by David Brock, who also serves on the board of pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action. In May, 2015, Correct the Record reorganized as an independent super PAC. Brad Woodhouse, president of Correct the Record, stated that the purpose of the super PAC is to defend Clinton by “aggressively responding to false attacks and misstatements of the secretary’s exemplary record.” [44] At the time of its independent establishment Correct the Record staff announced that they plan to coordinate directly with the Clinton campaign by taking advantage of the “internet exception” in FEC regulations which states that free content posted online, such as blogs, do not constitute campaign expenditures. Therefore, Correct the Record plans to directly consult with Clinton campaign staff when writing and posting their internet content. Several election law experts stated that Correct the Record’s plans will test the limits of legality. Election law attorney, Jason Torchinsky, stated that collaboration will only be permitted if the individuals posting the content are uncompensated. It is unclear how Correct the Record, which employs paid staffers, will confront this aspect of the regulation. [45]

2016 Presidential Campaign

Headquarters: 1 Pierrepont Plaza in Brooklyn Heights, NY [46]

Campaign Leadership: [47] [46]

  • John Podesta, Chairman: former President Clinton’s chief of staff in the White House and later the founder of the Center for American Progress.
  • Robby Mook, Campaign Manager: former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and staff member in Clinton’s 2008 campaign and Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 Virginia governor’s campaign.
  • Joel Benenson, Chief Strategist and Pollster: former chief pollster for Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
  • John Anzalone and David Binder, Pollsters: former pollsters for Obama’s presidential campaigns
  • Jim Margolis, Media Advisor: former consultant to numerous Democratic senators, including Harry Reid.

Fundraising: Clinton’s 2016 campaign will not be required to disclose how much money it has raised until July, 2015. However reports have indicated that it intends to raise $100 million for the Democratic primaries [48] and approximately $1 billion for the general election. [49] Clinton’s fundraising strategy has sought to emulate that of Barack Obama’s, focusing significant energy on mid-level donors who can provide the maximum $2,700 to her campaign and bundle checks for $2,700 from ten others. Campaign staff has dubbed these bundlers “Hillstarters.” [48]


  1. Klaus Marre, Hillary Clinton’s Announcement Video New York Times, April 12, 2015
  2. Amy Chozick and Nicholas Confessore, Hillary Clinton Announces Campaign Finance Overhaul, ‘’New York Times’’, September 8, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named nyt
  4. Hillary Clinton, 11 Key Reactions to Clinton’s Plan From Leading Campaign Finance Reform Advocates, ‘’hillaryclinton.com’’, September 9, 2015.
  5. Ken Dilanian, State Department officials routinely sent secrets over email The Big Story - Associated Press, August 26, 2015
  6. Ellen Nakashima, Security of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server comes under scrutiny The Washington Post, March 10, 2015
  7. Michael S. Schmidt and Amy Chozick, Using Private Email, Hillary Clinton Thwarted Record Requests The New York Times, March 3, 2015
  8. Laura Meckler, Hillary Clinton’s State Department Staff Kept Tight Rein on Records The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2015
  9. John Gerstein, In wake of Hillary email flap, State won't resist reopening FOIA case Politico, March 12, 2015
  10. Jason Devaney, Sen. Grassley Irate Over Reports of Clinton State Dept. FOIA Interference Newsmax, May 26, 2015
  11. Carol D. Leonnig, Rosalind S. Helderman and Anne Gearan, Clinton e-mail review could find security issues The Washington Post, March 6, 2015
  12. Alexandra Jaffe and Dan Merica, Hillary Clinton: I used one email 'for convenience' CNN, March 11, 2015
  13. Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo, Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email The New York Times, July 23, 2015
  14. Alana Wise, Clinton: I did not send or get classified emails on private account Reuters, July 25, 2015
  15. Justin Fishel and Mike Levine, Hillary Clinton Emails: Your Questions Answered ABC News, August 12, 2015
  16. FBI investigating security of Hillary Clinton's emails CBS News, August 5, 2015
  17. Hillary Clinton to hand her email server over to the FBI CBS News, August 11, 2015
  18. 18.0 18.1 Exclusive: Dozens of Clinton emails were classified from the start, U.S. rules suggest Reuters, August 11, 2015
  19. AJ Vicens, Intelligence Community Inspector General Is Done With Clinton's Emails—But the FBI Isn't Mother Jones, August 18, 2015
  20. Josh Gerstein, Judge orders Hillary Clinton email releases every 30 days Politico, May 27, 2015
  21. Ariane de Vogue, Federal judge orders next batch of Clinton emails due June 30 CNN, May 27, 2015
  22. Michael S. Schmidt, Judge Says Hillary Clinton Didn’t Follow Government Email Policies New York Times, August 20, 2015
  23. Michael S. Schmidt, AP sues State Dept. over Clinton e-mails USA Today, March 11, 2015
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Jo Becker and Mike McIntire, Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal The New York Times, April 23, 2015
  25. Margaret Sulivan, An ‘Exclusive’ Arrangement on a Clinton Book, and Many Questions, April 23, 2015.
  26. Sarah Westwood, Clinton Foundation donor can't explain role in Russian uranium deal Washington Examiner, May 13, 2015
  27. Sam Frizell, Zeke J Miller, Massimo Calabresi, Clinton Allies Knock Down Donor Allegations, New Questions Pop Up Time, April 22, 2015
  28. Amy Davidson, Five Questions About the Clintons and a Uranium Company New Yorker, April 24, 2015
  29. Rosalind S. Helderman, Clinton Foundation acknowledges ‘mistakes,’ emphasizes transparency Washington Post, April 26, 2015
  30. David Weigel, Are You Ready for Hillary? Slate, April 1, 2013
  31. Nick Wing, Ready For Hillary Super PAC Gets Big Assist From Jennifer Granholm Huffington Post, May 6, 2013
  32. Henry J. Gomez, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan signs on with group encouraging Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016 Cleveland News, November 5, 2013
  33. Leslie Larson, Hillary for President lands first congressional endorsement from Sen. Claire McCaskill New York Daily News, June 18, 2013
  34. Fredreka Schouten, George Soros backs pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC USA Today, October 24, 2013
  35. Fredreka Schouten, A Bet on Clinton: If They Network, She Will Run The New York Times, July 29, 2013
  36. Fredreka Schouten, ‘Ready for Hillary’ PAC begins to fold as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign prepares to launch The Associated Press, April 7, 2015
  37. Annie Karni, [http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/hillary-clinton-campaign-scores-ready-for-hillary-email-list-118446 Clinton campaign scores Ready for Hillary email list] Politico, May 30, 2015
  38. Nicholas Confessore, Huge ‘Super PAC’ Is Moving Early to Back Clinton New York Times, January 23, 2014
  39. Alex Seitz-Wald, Huge ‘Super PAC’ Is Moving Early to Back Clinton MSNBC, May 12, 2015
  40. Priorities USA Action OpenSecrets.org, May 12, 2015
  41. MJ Lee, Clinton's super PAC fundraising irks progressives CNN, May 18, 2015
  42. Editorial Board, Hillary Clinton’s campaign-funds chutzpah New York Post, May 7, 2015
  43. Aaron Blake, Top Hillary supporters launch ‘Correct the Record’ effort The Washington Post, November 1, 2015
  44. Fredreka Schouten, Hillary Clinton's campaign gets super PAC boost USA Today Politics, May 12, 2015
  45. Matea Gold, How a super PAC plans to coordinate directly with Hillary Clinton’s campaign Washington Post, May 12, 2015
  46. 46.0 46.1 Hillary for America P2016 Race for the White House - by Democracy in Action, Accessed September 11, 2015
  47. Katie Glueck, The power players behind Hillary Clinton's campaign Politico, April 12, 2015
  48. 48.0 48.1 Gabriel Debenedetti and Annie Karni, Hillary's dash for cash Politico, May 21, 2015
  49. Jennifer Epstein, Hillary Clinton Campaign Outlines Plans For Fundraising and First Big Speech Bloomberg, May 28, 2015