Clinton Passing The Hat for Mark Penn
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is having trouble raising money to pay down her huge campaign debt, and her former strategist Mark Penn is making the task far tougher. Clinton owes Penn millions — more than $2 million listed in a March FEC report and millions more according to several estimates — and Penn just can’t keep his self-obsessed, Obama-bashing attitude out of the spotlight.
It’s not just his old campaign memos shooting across the Web, courtesy of anti-Penn leakers, but a new op-ed praising McCain’s attack ads as effective, memorable and attention-grabbing. When such ads are fair, he adds, they "serve a legitimate role." You go into the general election with the Democratic strategists you have, not the ones you want, obviously. Penn’s transgressions are not only rhetorical. He is still working for a host of anti-Democratic clients, and he has ties to major Republicans — including a senior aide to Sen. John McCain.
Normally these insider antics have no consequences, but Clinton’s situation changes the leverage. Donors and activists could stipulate that any money they raise for Clinton be spent only on debts other than Penn’s consulting fees. Better yet, sympathetic Clinton donors could pool their money in online pledges, which will only be released when Penn forgives Clinton for his remaining bills.