In an election reform proposal Sen. Elizabeth Warren submitted over the summer, the Massachusetts Democrat suggested taking election management away from the states and giving it to the federal government, in an effort to “Protect Our Democracy.”
Two words missing from her proposal were “fraud” and “corruption,” possibly for good reason. Evidence has been unearthed suggesting that her campaign may have engaged in a vote-buying scheme, to swing a party endorsement away from her fellow far-left presidential rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
The Working Families Party (WFP), a progressive subsidiary of the Democratic Party, recently surprised observers by endorsing Warren over Sanders. WFP’s national committee refused to release final vote tallies, although it did so in 2016 when it overwhelmingly endorsed Sanders.
The controversy stems from the fact that the party’s national committee, which numbers 56, was weighted equally with the grassroots membership, which numbers in the thousands.
Sanders took 87% of the WFP vote in 2016; this year he was awarded less than half — only 35.8%, to Warren’s 60.9%. Something seemed terribly off-kilter.
People’s Policy Project founder Matt Bruenig surmised in a Medium post that WFP refused to release the actual vote tallies because “the member votes went for Sanders while the leadership votes went for Warren, and the organization is embarrassed to reveal the degree to which the leadership overruled the membership.”
But the answer to the riddle may be found in WFP’s financial records rather than its vote tallies.
It turns out that Demos, a liberal think tank, reportedly donated $45,000 to the WFP in 2017-2018, and this marked the first instance in which Demos had donated so much as a dime to the organization, according to The Daily Mail.
Warren’s daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, is chairwoman of Demos, the Mail reported. Warren’s campaign treasurer, Paul Egerman, also sits on the Demos board of trustees, according to the Demos website.
Jordan Chariton, founder of media outlet Status Coup, originally broke the story. He acknowledges that $45,000 isn’t an earthshaking sum by the standards of twenty-first century presidential politics but says that a “source familiar with WFP tells me the Demos $$ to WFP was a ‘signal’ that there’s more where that came from if WFP were to endorse Warren.”
And the sum was also significant by Demos standards. Chariton observed that according to its tax filings, the think tank “made $229,523 in grants for 2017-2018. The $45,000 in grants to @WorkingFamilies makes up 20% of their overall grants. That’s a fairly significant amount for a donation-based organization.”
Although there’s no evidence directly connecting Warren to the donation, it’s unrealistic to assume that she didn’t have at least some knowledge of the transaction — and it was one from which she certainly benefited.
Writing for The New York Times, Astead Herndon predicted that WFP’s endorsement of Warren was important because it “could turn heads among left-leaning Democrats desperate to defeat [former Vice President Joe] Biden, the more moderate front-runner, in a primary election where their party’s ideological future is at stake.”
The apparent influence-buying is especially egregious given Warren’s history of projecting her own character flaws upon others.
For example, she often rails against large banks and Wall Street firms for allegedly exerting undue influence on the electoral process. “Corruption, the influence of money, touches every decision that gets made in Washington,” Warren told hundreds of attendees of a May 16 campaign event at George Mason University, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
“Whatever issue brought you here today, I guarantee if there’s a decision to be made in Washington, it’s been touched, pushed, massaged, tilted over, just a little, so the folks with money do better than everyone else.”
But while Warren blasts the corruption that she says Wall Street money creates, she’s not at all shy about accepting donations from these very firms, according to The Daily Beast. And FreedomWorks reported that Warren’s also not above handing over taxpayer funds to bail out the financial community to the tune of billions of dollars.
$45,000? That’s chump change to Warren.
Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang raised eyebrows at the third Democratic presidential debate when he announced that his campaign would award 10 random families $12,000 each, payable in $1,000 monthly installments over a 12-month period, as Politico reported.
Yang, a businessman and philanthropist who founded Venture for America, intended the gesture to highlight his universal basic income proposal, but others believed that it could be illegal — as a form of vote-buying.
Yang’s problem may be that he did it in the open. Then again, neither of his children are old enough to serve on a board of trustees and act as a bagman.