Sanders campaign rips Clinton-DNC fundraising

The Bernie SandersBernie SandersWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Poll: Trump, Biden in dead heat in 2020 matchup Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on MORE campaign is complaining about joint fundraising by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Hillary Clinton on US leading in coronavirus cases: Trump 'did promise "America First"' Democratic fears rise again as coronavirus pushes Biden to sidelines MORE's presidential campaign.

In a letter to the DNC, Sanders argues the fundraising raises "serious apparent violations" of the campaign finance laws, and that they should "cease immediately."

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The letter was sent by Brad Deutsch, the attorney for Sanders' campaign, to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC.

The letter said the Hillary Victory Fund reported receiving individual contributions as high at $353,400 or more, "which is over 130 times the $2,700 limit that applies for contributions to Secretary Clinton's campaign."

"Bernie 2016 is particularly concerned that these extremely large-dollar individual contributions have been used by the Hillary Victory Fund to pay for more than $7.8 million in direct mail efforts and over $8.6 million in online advertising, both of which appear to benefit only HFA by generating low dollar contributions that flow only to HFA, rather than to the DNC or any of the participating state party committees," the letter says.

Deutsch said in the letter that the issue has "grown to staggering magnitudes" and "can no longer be ignored."

"Bernie 2016 is concerned that, at best, the joint fundraising committee's spending on direct mail and online advertising appears to represent an impermissible in-kind contribution from the DNC and the participating state party committees to HFA," the letter said. 

“At worst, using funds received from large-dollar donors who have already contributed the $2,700 maximum to HFA [Hillary for America] may represent an excessive contribution to HFA from these individuals.”

It also says that the joint committee paid the Clinton campaign committee $2.6 million to "reimburse" members of Clinton's presidential campaign for time running the joint committee.

Deutsch said this “raises equally serious concerns that joint committee funds, which are meant to be allocated proportionally among the participating committees, are being used to impermissibly subsidize HFA through an over-reimbursement for campaign staffers and resources.”

“While the use of joint fundraising agreements has existed for some time — it is unprecedented for the DNC to allow a joint committee to be exploited to the benefit of one candidate in the midst of a contested nominating contest,” said Jeff Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager, in a news release.