The 2018 "superdelegates" to the Democratic National Convention will include lobbyists for Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp, CITGO petroleum, Citigroup, and other large corporations.
Superdelegates are unelected party favorites who get to vote for the party leader in primaries. The DNC was sued for dirty tricks in the 2016 primaries, and in its defense, DNC leaders insisted the party could "pick candidates in smoke-filled back-rooms" and ignore the votes of party members.
In what is certainly unrelated news, the DNC is in a panic because its donations are way, way down heading into the 2018 elections.
I gave money to the DNC in 2016, and as a result I get a steady stream of fundraising calls. I always tell the fundraisers that for so long as the party is committed to representing lobbyists and big business, so long as it believes that it can choose the candidates in "smoke filled rooms," it can forget about getting money for me. I still make donations to the individual downticket campaigns, including some of the local races being challenged by Our Revolution-backed progressive candidates, but as far as the national party is concerned, it's a case of "fool me twice, shame on me."
More often than not, the fundraisers say that they do the same thing.
One of the lobbyists is Joanne Dowdell, who's registered as a federal lobbyist for News Corp., where she's senior vice president for global government affairs. Dowdell ran for New Hampshire's House seat as a Democrat in 2012 and is a party donor.
Two other lobbyists who disclosed corporate clients in their most recent public reports are Clinton White House veteran Harold Ickes and Manuel Ortiz. Ortiz's clients this year include CITGO Petroleum Corp, owned by the Venezuelan government, and Citigroup Management Corp. Ortiz also lobbies for Puerto Rican interests.
The three lobbyists didn't respond to requests for comment.
At least 10 of the other superdelegates chosen by Perez have in the past been registered federal corporate lobbyists, with their most recent filings ranging from late last year to nearly a decade ago.
Democrats Plan to Name Lobbyists, Operatives Superdelegates
DNC enters 2018 in cash panic
[Gabriel Debenedetti and Edward-Isaac Dovere/Politico]