HRC folks have been pushing back against allegations that their fundraising style is not just aggressive, but threatening and retaliatory. Their best argument thus far was that none of the donors who feel like their arms were twisted have been willing to go on the record — well, there was one: Jim Neal, uncovered by the NYT’s Pat Healy, but the guy was not exactly David Geffen. A Clinton campaign operative points out that Neal gave only nominal amounts in the past and that there’s no record of him ever participating in any HRC fundraising conference calls.
The latest iteration of the “Hillary’s Thugs” meme comes from NY mag, who quote another anonymous donor thusly:
“There are some people the Clintons consider Clinton people who have gotten behind Barack,” a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary’s explains to me. “And there will be total retribution if the opportunity presents itself.”
Total retribution? You’re joking, right?
“I’m not joking. They’re not going to audit somebody’s tax return or anything. But once you’ve been in the Clinton camp, once they think you’re part of the team, once you’ve helped them and they’ve helped you and you then go somewhere else—I just think it’s very hard to crawl back into their good graces. I’m not saying it won’t happen. But they won’t forget. They may take you back eventually, but they won’t forget.”
I don’t doubt that Hillary’s folks talk tough, and I don’t doubt that people are intimidated by the rather grim air of determination the campaign exudes. But now that we have actual names of donors, including those who appear to have jumped Hill’s ship (reported on here), shouldn’t reporters be demanding more concrete examples of “retaliation”? Just feeling like the Clintons may, you know, drop you from their Christmas card list if you give to Obama is a far cry from breaking your kneecaps. Or auditing you, for that matter.
Seriously, if “Terry McAuliffe will look at you sternly” is the worst threat Hillary’s bundlers can come up with, no wonder Obama’s able to poach from them. Now, a well-placed Vince Foster reference, that might keep some people loyal…