Document dump: Bill and Hillary Clinton made more than $100 million
By the numbers
Welcome to Trail Guide, your daily tour through the wilds of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's Friday and this is what we're watching:
- Hillary Rodham Clinton 's campaign is releasing new tax filings and a clean bill of health from the candidates's doctor
- Reporters are also sorting through thousands of pages of Clinton's email posted online
- Clinton didn't mention Jeb Bush by name but warned black activists not to trust Republicans' campaign promises
- Clinton spoke at the Urban League, which is hosting a top-tier lineup of candidates working on their African American outreach: Clinton, Bush, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley and Ben Carson
- But never have Democrats been more unsure of how to talk to black voters
- Later, Clinton will call for the end of the Cuba embargo
- A conservative counterpoint, Freedom's Journal Institute, will host Carson and Mike Huckabee later in the day
Hollywood is a big source of funds for Hillary Clinton
Entertainment industry moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, were among the top donors to Hillary Rodham Clinton's "super PAC," according to disclosure reports filed with federal elections officials.
Each contributed $1 million to Priorities USA. Other $1-million donors included George Soros, the billionaire financier who has backed many causes on the left; Herbert Sandler, the retired Bay Area banker and philanthropist; and Donald Sussman, a prominent figure in the hedge fund industry.
The Clinton donations add a California cast to a list of top donors to presidential super PACs that is otherwise dominated by Texas, Florida and New York billionaires. The top Republicans seeking their party's nomination mostly drew from those three states for their biggest donors, although Florida Sen. Marco Rubio received one of his largest donations from Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp.
Clinton emails: Secretary of Awesome
One thing is clear from reading Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails: Her inner circle thought she was Secretary of Awesome.
That was the subject line to one of the emails -- a note circulating a video of Clinton dancing. “She's moves like a Sistah .... This is fabulous!!” Minyon Moore responded in the email that made its way to the secretary via Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.
Lighthearted, enthusiastic and, at times, cringe-worthy and fawning, “atta girls” were common in the Clinton world. Here's a sample:
Our Chicago Tribune colleague Rick Pearson caught up with Mike Huckabee on Friday, as the former Arkansas governor was speaking to a group of black ministers.
Huckabee delivered a sermon of sorts about the nation's moral "rudder." He also boasted about not apologizing for his comments last week comparing President Obama's multinational Iran nuclear deal to the Holocaust.
Huckabee, however, found a new metaphor this time around.
“This is like helping to put the bullet in the gun that is pointed to our head, and the full enactment of this ill-fated and ill-conceived idea of a negotiation and an agreement with a fanatical, radical Islamic government is like cocking the hammer and then inviting them to squeeze the trigger,” he said.
Clinton emails: Time zones, call lists and to-dos
The trove of Clinton emails released Friday is riddled with short missives tackling the complex logistics of being a Very Important Person in Washington.
Tax filings show Clintons earned more than $100 million over seven years
Tax figures released by Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday suggest that she and former President Bill Clinton earned a total of more than $100 million during the seven-year period that ended last year.
The figures again put the spotlight on the immense wealth of the couple, who have positioned themselves as crusaders for middle-income Americans and at various times have expressed public anxiety over a lack of cash flow -- most famously when Hillary Clinton said they were “dead broke” after Bill Clinton's presidency ended.
In a letter to be posted on the campaign website, Hillary Clinton seeks to frame her family's vast income as a teachable moment.
“We've come a long way from my days going door-to-door for the Children's Defense Fund and earning $16,450 as a young law professor in Arkansas -- and we owe it to the opportunities America provides,” the letter says. “I want more Americans to have the chance to work hard and get ahead, just like we did. And reforming the tax code can help.”
“Reforming our tax code to promote strong, fair, long-term growth is a centerpiece of my campaign, and I will continue outlining specific new ideas in the months ahead,” she writes.
Then Clinton goes on to reveal that she and Bill Clinton paid $43,885,310 in federal taxes and made $14,959,450 in charitable contributions since 2007. They also paid $13,625,777 in state and local income taxes. The couple's effective federal tax rate was 35.7% last year.
Campaign officials say they will release new details on Friday evening on the work the Clintons did in the private sector to earn that much money. Previous disclosures suggest much of it came from delivering speeches, for which Bill and Hillary Clinton each could collect in the range of $250,000 for a single appearance. The speech income has proven a political liability for the couple, as much of it was paid by companies with business before the government.
Campaign officials framed the tax disclosures as a gesture of transparency. They note wealthy candidates seeking the GOP nomination -- Jeb Bush, in particular -- have yet to be as forthcoming about their personal financial histories.
In the letter in which Clinton reveals her tax payments, she calls out particular Republicans for supporting policies that would allow wealthy individuals -- like her -- to pay less taxes.
“Families like mine that reap rewards from our economy have a responsibility to pay our fair share,” the letter said.
Oracle's Ellison gave $3 million to Marco Rubio group
Larry Ellison, the billionaire guru of Oracle, who gave millions of dollars in the last presidential election to try to elect Mitt Romney as president, has contributed $3 million to the "super PAC" backing Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential bid.
In June, Ellison hosted a fundraiser for Rubio at his home in Woodside, in the hills west of Silicon Valley. That event raised money for Rubio's campaign committee under the federal rules that limit contributions to $2,700 per person. But donations to super PACs, such as Rubio's Conservative Solutions, are unlimited, and Ellison has taken full advantage of that.
His $3 million contribution is the second-largest to the pro-Rubio group and is just short of one-fifth of the total the PAC took in the first half of this year, according to its disclosure form filed with the Federal Elections Commission.
The biggest contributor was Rubio's longtime backer Norman Braman, who made his fortune initially as an auto dealer and has helped finance Rubio's political rise for years. He gave $5 million in three donations between April and June.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's personal doctor declared her in "excellent physical condition" and "fit to serve" as president, according to a letter released by her campaign.
The letter describes the 67-year-old's health issues as minimal. She suffers from "hypothyroidism and seasonal pollen allergies," wrote Dr. Lisa Bardeck, chair of internal medicine at Mount Kisco Medical Group.
Bardeck describes Clinton's treatment for her 2012 concussion, as well as her general good habits — yoga, fruits and vegetables, occasional alcohol and no tobacco. The full letter is below.
Friday document dump: Clinton camp to release tax filings and clean bill of health
With armies of journalists already distracted digging through thousands of pages of Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails this afternoon, her campaign has decided that now would be a good time to release yet more records that shed light on the candidate's personal history.
The campaign is planning to produce on Friday seven years of previously undisclosed tax filings, a detailed listing of the business income Hillary and Bill Clinton have earned while not serving in government, and new details about speeches they have delivered and how much they have collected in fees from each of them.
The campaign has also provided reporters a letter from the candidate's doctor detailing her health history and concluding that she is fit to serve as president. The letter says she has fully recovered from the blood clot in her head that was discovered by doctors in December 2012 and continues to take a daily anticoagulation. It notes that Clinton is also being treated for a hyperactive thyroid.
A campaign official said the document dump is a gesture toward transparency, meant to draw a distinction from the approach taken by Clinton's main GOP rival, Jeb Bush. Bush has yet to produce as detailed an accounting of his personal history, the official said.
But some of the numbers ¿ to be released by the campaign later Friday ¿ will undoubtedly be unflattering to Clinton. Earlier disclosures of her and her husband's speech income, revealing that they routinely accepted fees in the range of $250,000 per appearance, proved controversial. And with the national media already gearing up to write about the email release, this particular Friday afternoon was may have proved to be an opportune time to just get it all out there.
If it's the last day of the month, it's a Clinton email day in Washington.
The State Department has released another batch of emails from the pile of 55,000 pages former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pulled off her private server and turned over in December.
State has said it will release a stash of documents monthly through January.
So far, the correspondence hasn't yielded much of note -- at least until The New York Times reported last week that federal investigators were looking into whether classified information may have been disclosed as part of the release.
Reporters and opposition researchers in Washington and beyond are spending their Friday afternoon sorting through the pile. You can, too, at the link below.
Evan Halper's fuller report on the Urban League convention and Clinton's "right to rise" jab is in. Take a look at the link below.
How Hillary Clinton went after Jeb Bush in his home state
Hillary Rodham Clinton took the stage Friday right before Jeb Bush, the two appearing in the same place for the first time since they became 2016 presidential candidates, and she wasted no time taking a shot at him.
The event was in Bush's home state of Florida, but it was before an audience much friendlier to Clinton, a conference of the National Urban League in Fort Lauderdale. Clinton warned hundreds of African American activists to be wary of “a mismatch between what some candidates say in a venue like this and what they actually do when elected.” Then, without mentioning Bush by name, she attacked his slogan.
“I don't think you can credibly say that everyone has a 'right to rise' and then say you are for phasing out Medicare or for repealing Obamacare,” Clinton said. “People can't rise if they can't afford healthcare. They can't rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on. They can't rise if their governor makes it harder to get a college education. And you cannot seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote.”
Clinton got a standing ovation by much of the crowd when she finished her remarks. Bush was scheduled to speak later in the event. But his communications director, Tim Miller, responded immediately on Twitter:
Today, we find out a little bit more about all those big spenders fueling the 2016 race
A long list of super PACs with patriotic-sounding names will file their first disclosure reports today, providing an early look at the names of the rich donors willing to invest early in a possible next president.
In the 2016 race, the groups, which can take unlimited donations as long as they don't coordinate with campaigns, are dominating the early money race like never before. The runaway leader so far is Jeb Bush, who delayed his formal entry in the race to focus on amassing more than $103 million in the super PAC supporting his candidacy, thanks in part to the kind of donor network that comes with having two other presidents in the family.
But if Bush's strategy was supposed to intimidate other candidates to stay on the sidelines, and their supporters to sit on their wallets, it didn't work. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's supporters managed to pull in $38 million in checks to groups supporting his candidacy, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's allies were able to collect $31 million, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has close to $17 million.
Even latecomers to the crowded Republican presidential candidate party have been able to raise substantial sums: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's supporters have contributed $26 million (his super PAC's name, Unintimidated, doubles as a plug for his book of the same name.) Supporters of Ohio Gov. John Kasich have about $11 million in an outside group, about the same as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The reports are due at midnight.
Though these groups can't directly coordinate efforts with the campaigns, the lines have become increasingly murky, as outside groups stage events and take on functions that once were the turf of the candidates' organizations.
At this stage, with some middle- and lower-tier candidates in the Republican field of 17 scrambling to stay in the running, a seven-figure check from a billionaire can add a luster of credibility, and some outside groups have been happy to identify some of their biggest donors.
On the Democratic side, supporters of Hillary Clinton got off to a slow start in raising big checks for an affiliated super PAC, with about $15.6 million raised through the first half of the year. She far outraised the Republicans in money for her own candidate account, with $47 million ¿ though the campaign has burned through about $18 million already.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Clinton said she dislikes the “corrupting, corrosive” influence of the new outside groups but says she and other Democrats have no choice but to compete for the big checks.
“Do I wish that we didn't have to be doing this? Yeah, I do,” she said, criticizing the Supreme Court decisions that paved the way for unlimited contributions. “And we're going to have to do what we can in this election to make sure that we're not swamped by money on the other side.”
Jeb Bush tries to peel African American voters away from Democrats
Jeb Bush will seek to persuade a large conference of black advocates Friday morning that the Democratic Party has failed them, and it is time to reconsider their longtime alliance with the left.
It will be a tough sell. African American voters are showing no sign of drifting toward the GOP. Bush will share the stage at a conference of the National Urban League in his home state of Florida with Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, a favorite in the black community.
“For a half-century, this nation has pursued a War on Poverty and massive government programs, funded with trillions of taxpayer dollars,” Bush plans to say, according to excerpts of his speech sent to reporters. “This decades-long effort, while well-intentioned, has been a losing one.”
Bush will express empathy with the plight of blacks in America, acknowledging that “there are unjust barriers to opportunity and upward mobility in this country.” He will tout his record in Florida appointing black judges and boosting the number of minority-owned businesses.
But he will stress that his economic plan -- which focuses on boosting growth domestic product -- would prove more beneficial to inner urban communities than those pushed by Democrats, which are rooted in restructuring the economy to move more of the country's wealth to the middle class.
“Four percent growth is more enterprise in urban areas, more people moving in, a higher tax base and more revenues -- in other words, a better chance to save our cities,” say Bush's prepared remarks. “We can do this as a country. We can grow at a pace that lifts up everybody, and there is no excuse for not trying.”
Hillary Clinton isn't hedging this time around on the issue of Cuba
In a speech in Miami on Friday morning, Hillary Rodham Clinton will declare “the Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all.”
The evolution of her position comes as little surprise, after President Obama called on Congress to move in that direction earlier this year. But it's a change for Clinton, who during the 2008 presidential campaign suggested that Obama's plans to make overtures to the island nation were naive and potentially dangerous.
Now, Clinton is eager to use her new thinking on Cuba to draw a distinction with GOP rivals. She will make a forceful case for resuming trade relations in the home state of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Republicans who continue to advocate isolation of Cuba.
“We have arrived at a decisive moment,” Clinton will say, according to prepared remarks. “The Cuban people have waited long enough for progress to come.”
Clinton will call for replacing the embargo with “a smarter approach that empowers the Cuban private sector, Cuban civil society, and the Cuban American community to spur progress and keep pressure on the regime.”
"Today I am calling on Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell to step up and answer the pleas of the Cuban people,” say the planned remarks released by the Clinton campaign. “By large majorities, they want a closer relationship with America. They want to buy our goods, read our books, surf our Web, and learn from our people. They want to bring their country into the 21st century."
The Black Lives Matter movement has flipped the script on Democrats this campaign cycle, report The Times' Evan Halper and Kurtis Lee. Democrats and Republicans addressing the Urban League on Friday are going to have to talk more directly about issues they've manage to avoid for years.
"The protesters involved are proving masterful at refocusing the spotlight. Candidates who might have otherwise been complacent given their high marks on legislative report cards from the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and endorsements from an older generation of black leaders have had to more directly confront uncomfortable questions of racial inequality and the mistreatment of blacks by the criminal justice system."
Trail highlights: Trump's messy immigration policy, Clinton's 'I told you so' on Islamic State, Sanders the rock star
Your Trail Guide was busy Thursday. If you were, too, here's what you missed.
> Donald Trump's attempt to lay out an immigration policy got low marks even from those who ostensibly agree with his views
> Hillary Rodham Clinton noted in an interview she advocated early on to President Obama that he choose a different strategy to help rebels in the Syrian civil war, which helped give rise to Islamic State
> And after weeks of restricting access, she's engaging with voters in New Hampshire and Iowa, too
> Sen. Bernie Sanders got a rock star's welcome at a rally on the Hill celebrating 50 years of Medicare
> Sanders pitched the AFL-CIO Wednesday; it was Clinton's turn Thursday. No endorsement coming soon
By the numbers
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