Clinton to tap Obama email network

Clinton to tap Obama email network
© Getty Images

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPoll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Hickenlooper announces Senate bid MORE will soon tap into President Obama’s coveted email list, according to party officials. 

The long-awaited move, which comes as Clintonites take the reins of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), could inject more money into Clinton’s campaign coffers as she seeks to expand her fundraising advantage over presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Obama list has long been seen as a political gold mine for Democrats. Obama’s campaign raked in around $500 million through email and online donations in the 2012 cycle alone, according to media reports. 

Allies of the likely Democratic nominee say having the list will help their ability to connect to Obama’s diverse network of donors, though they were also careful to note that Clinton’s own fundraising network is a strong one.

“The best email list is the one you build yourself,” one Clinton ally said. “But it doesn’t hurt. There’s data they can get from that, ways they can clean it up, there’s stuff that can help fill a void. The more resources that they piece together the better.”

Sources with knowledge of the list said the data, which was compiled during the 2008 campaign and then expanded upon in the 2012 election cycle, includes approximately 20 million email addresses of supporters and donors.

Early last year, the fate of the list sparked tensions between Obama and Clinton because there was no guarantee that his remaining campaign apparatus would grant the former secretary of State access to it. And some in the Clinton camp feared that Obama would hold on to the data with the purpose of helping to build the president’s library in Chicago. 

“It was a very real concern at the time because I know a lot of people felt like we could’ve used all the help we could get,” the Clinton ally said. 

The DNC last summer reportedly reached a deal to form a joint committee tasked with paying off the Obama’s campaign’s nearly $2.4 million in debt.

In exchange, the DNC was granted full access to the president’s formidable email list. 

The committee previously used the list to send certain approved messages, but the agreement allows the party complete freedom in how to use it. Officials decided not to send out messages to the list during the primary, instead saving it for the general election. 

With Clinton campaign staff members taking over the DNC ahead of the general election, her campaign will essentially have full say over how the list is used. 

Still, the precise ownership of the list remains shrouded in mystery. 

Democratic sources said the dormant Obama campaign still owns the list and is renting it out to the DNC. That means it is likely emails will not be sent under Clinton’s name; instead, the messages will come from the president or other Obama allies. 

A senior DNC official would not reveal whether the committee actually owns the list, saying “we’re not going to get into specifics on our strategy.”

But the official said the party has “a number of extremely valuable assets that we can use to help elect our eventual nominee and to help elect Democrats up and down the ballot.”

“That includes an email list of millions of engaged Democrats across the country,” the official said.  

Organizing for Action, the nonprofit offshoot from Obama’s campaign, had rented the list for more than $1.2 million per year, The Wall Street Journal reported last year. 

It’s unclear if every Obama loyalist will be swayed to back Clinton, two sources noted, and some email addresses could be outdated.

“It’s four years old,” one former Obama aide pointed out.

Obama could send out emails on behalf of Clinton to those on the list. But, his allies note, he can’t ensure his supporters follow suit. 

“Just like Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 candidates have the chance to embrace smarter education policies Bernie Sanders Adviser talks criminal justice reform proposal, 'Medicare for All' plan Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona MORE, President Obama can’t just hand over the movement to her,” one source familiar with the list said. “And he certainly won’t be able to move the millions of young people who voted for him.”

But the source added, “I think it’s definitely helpful. It starts you out on a higher floor.”