David Brock on Monday abruptly resigned from the board of the super PAC Priorities USA Action, revealing rifts that threaten the big-money juggernaut being built to support Hillary Clinton’s expected presidential campaign.
In a resignation letter obtained by POLITICO, Brock, a close Clinton ally, accused Priorities officials of planting “an orchestrated political hit job” against his own pro-Clinton groups, American Bridge and Media Matters.
Those groups — along with another pro-Clinton group, the super PAC Ready for Hillary — had their fundraising practices called into question last week by a New York Times report. It pointed out that veteran Democratic fundraiser Mary Pat Bonner got a 12.5 percent commission on funds she raised for Brock’s groups and a smaller percentage commission on cash she raised for Ready for Hillary.
In his letter to the co-chairs of Priorities’ board — former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina — Brock alleged that “current and former Priorities officials were behind this specious and malicious attack on the integrity of these critical organizations.”
The letter — and Brock’s resignation — offer a rare glimpse into a network of groups upon which Democrats are relying to keep the White House and stave off increasingly robust big-money efforts on the right. The public airing of dirty laundry comes as sources say Priorities is struggling to live up to the hopes of some Clinton allies, who had argued it should aim to raise as much as $500 million to eviscerate prospective Clinton rivals in the primary and general elections.
Brock, who spent his early career in Washington as a self-described “right-wing hit man” before experiencing a political awakening and emerging as the leader of an empire of hard-hitting liberal attack groups, contends in his letter that Priorities is trying to damage his groups’ fundraising efforts, “while presumably enhancing Priorities’ own. Frankly, this is the kind of dirty trick I’ve witnessed in the right-wing and would not tolerate then. Our Democratic Presidential nominee deserves better than people who would risk the next election — and our country’s future — for their own personal agendas.”
Brock did not respond to requests for comment about the letter, his group’s relationship with Bonner or with the other big-money groups boosting Clinton.
Craig Smith, a senior adviser to Ready for Hillary, said his group is still working with Bonner, as well as with Priorities and Brock’s groups. “We have worked with them for almost two years. We continue to work with them. We all do very different things, so there’s not a lot of overlap.”
Asked whether he thought rivals on the left were circulating negative information on Bonner, he said, “I would hope not. Not that I’m aware of.”