From NBC's Mike Viqueira
A Democratic source in Washington provides the following letter from a major Democratic donor as evidence that yesterday's "shakedown" letter to Speaker Pelosi is having an effect antithetical to its intention.
Leslie Walker Burlock of San Francisco writes yesterday to Nancy Pelosi pledging the max $28,000 to the DCCC. The Dem source says Ms. Burlock wrote after learning of the letter from the group of heavy hitters, a move that Burlock disagreed with.
I spoke with Ms. Burlock by phone. She says that yes, she agrees with Nancy Pelosi's stance on superdelegates, and that yes, she is an Obama supporter. But she demurred when asked several different ways whether or not her pledge comes as a rebuttal to the letter from the others. She didn't deny it, however.
P.S. - Ms. Burlock says she hasn't yet sent the dough.
March 26, 2008
Dear Madame Speaker,
I have joined your "Speaker's Cabinet - Gold" for the 20008 Democratic National Convention because I want to be in the convention hall when Senator Barack Obama accepts our party's nomination to be the next president of the United States. I hope and trust that when the Super Delegates cast their votes at the convention they will represent the will of the voters as you have called for them to do. I am hopeful that with this election we will see a break from the quid pro quo endorsements that seem to dominate our political system and that with a new administration we will have a fresh start and be able to build coalitions that reach across party lines and political allegiances. I look forward to an administration that will be a "team of rivals" where the best minds are called to the table to work together to tackle the challenges that face our nation and the world.
Leslie Walker Burlock
*** UPDATE *** MoveOn.org, which has endorsed Obama, has also weighed in with the following letter to supporters:
Dear MoveOn member,
This is pretty outrageous: a group of Clinton-supporting big Democratic donors are threatening to stop supporting Democrats in Congress because Nancy Pelosi said that the people, not the superdelegates, should decide the Presidential nomination.1
It's the worst kind of insider politics—billionaires bullying our elected leaders into ignoring the will of the voters.
But when we all pool our resources, together we're stronger than the fat cats. So let's tell Nancy Pelosi that if she keeps standing up for regular Americans, thousands of us will have her back. And we can more than match whatever the CEOs and billionaires refuse to contribute. Clicking here will add your name to our statement:
The statement reads: "The Democratic nomination should be decided by the voters—not by superdelegates or party high-rollers. We've given money—and time—to progressive candidates and causes, and we'll support Speaker Pelosi and others who stand up for Democracy in the Democratic Party."
We're launching it today with our friends at the blog OpenLeft.com. Our goal is to deliver tens of thousands of signatures to Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders later this week.
A few weeks ago, Speaker Pelosi told ABC News, "If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic Party."2
She's right, but Clinton's top fundraisers want her to back off. According to the New York Times, their letter "carries an ominous tone, which stops just short of delivering a threat. The donors remind Ms. Pelosi that they are 'strong supporters' of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee."3 Their language was careful, but their implied threat was universally understood. (Roll Call carried this headline: "Clinton donors threaten Pelosi and DCCC."4)
They're the old guard, and this is how the Democratic Party used to function—the big donors called the shots. But the small donor revolution has changed that. The 20 people who signed this letter have given Democrats an average of $2.4 million per year over the last 10 years.5 Small donations now dwarf that: In February alone, Obama and Clinton raised $47 million in small donations.6
Still, old habits die hard. We need to send a strong signal that we, the small donors, will back Democratic leaders who have the courage to stand up and do the right thing. Please sign our statement today.
Thanks for all you do,
–Noah, Justin, Ilyse, Wes, and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Thursday, March 27th, 2008
1. "Clinton Donors Warn on Superdelegate Fight," New York Times, March 27, 2008.
6. "February Fundraising Frenzy for Presidential Candidates," Campaign Finance I