While Hillary Clinton has not announced whether she will run for president again in 2016, there is a whole galaxy of donors, political professionals who are making pretty major life and career choices on the assumption that she will. Take the super PAC Ready for Hillary: it has raised more than a million dollars since this spring, The New York Times' Nicholas Confessore reports, with a goal of creating "a grass-roots network that would give her a prohibitive edge in any Democratic primary and a significant advantage over potential Republican rivals." (It will also gather a massive list of supporters' names and addresses that the group can then sell to the Clinton campaign, if it ever forms.) Until then, donors are also proving their love for the Clintons by donating to other candidates. Huma Abedin – Clinton's longtime aide and New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner's wife — has reportedly implied that a donation to Weiner will keep one close with the Clintons. But The Times reports that a donation to Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia and the chairman of Clinton's 2008 campaign, is another way to prove one's devotion to the Hillary cause. The breadth of the pro-Hillary galaxy shows the frenzy among some Democrats to get as close as possible to Clinton by any means possible.
Ready for Hillary was founded by a former junior staffer for Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and now has five full-time staffers. It's run by Adam Parkhomenko, who started his first "Vote Hillary" group in 2003 and was a junior staffer on her 2008 campaign, and Allida Black, a Clinton supporter who told Slate she was talking about a Hillary PAC the night Obama was reelected. The group has hired Jeremy Bird, field director for Obama's 2012 campaign, and Mitch Stewart, who led the Obama campaign's operations in swing states, USA Today reports. Former Clinton White House political director Craig Smith is a senior adviser to the group. Former Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who worked under Clinton at the State Department, is a strategic adviser, the Times reports.
Major Democratic donors have been recruited by Ready for Hillary, though donations are limited to a paltry $25,000 right now. (It's focusing on small donors, the Times reports, having brought in 3,625 donations of $20.16.) Big donors include:
Winthrop McCormack, an Oregon publishing executive; Agnes Gund, the New York arts philanthropist; and Irwin Jacobs, a
telecommunications executive who gave more than $2 million to a pro-Obama super PAC last year.
But other Clinton causes need attention, too. Donors have to consider whether to express their support for Clinton through different financial contributions. There's the Clinton Foundation, recently renamed to be the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
There's Hillary Clinton's transition team, run by, you guessed it, Huma Abedin. The office has half a dozen aides, Politico's Maggie Haberman reports, and not all are full-time. The Weiner scandal "is proving to be another stress-test of the Clinton infrastructure in a year that was supposed to be relatively quiet for them," she reports. The team is working to create a Hillary office within the Clinton foundation.
Some Clinton donors think giving to Anthony Weiner shows their support for Hillary. Prominent Democratic donors are frustrated Abedin contacted them, ABC News reports, because "The clear implication... was that supporting Weiner was akin to supporting the Clintons, given Abedin’s longstanding and close relationship with the former secretary of state." An anonymous Clinton source told the New York Post last week, "If you look at the contributors to Anthony around the country, they weren’t giving for Anthony — they were giving for Huma... For many people, Huma is the gateway to Hillary. She’s one of the closest aides; she’s an adopted daughter. You think [power agent] Bob Barnett would give to Anthony? [Billionaire] Haim Saban wouldn’t give Anthony a second chance." But the biggest bundlers, the Post reported, were ignoring Weiner, because "They already have strong enough ties to Hillary."
Even the Weiner interns think backing Weiner gets them closer to Hillary. Weiner intern Olivia Nuzzi writes in the New York Daily News, "Their hope was to make a connection with Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, and thus forge a potential connection to her longtime boss, Hillary Clinton, to get an inside track for a campaign position if she ran for president in 2016." Junior staffer Clay Adam Wade told her, "I thought if I could only ride this out to the very end, perhaps I could network with Ms. Abedin and, in a few years, secure myself a spot in Secretary Clinton’s all-but-certain bid for the presidency. It was a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
But there are other candidates that perhaps better communicate Clinton love. In the next three months, Hillary Clinton will "hit the campaign trail in some form" for Terry McAuliffe, a noted "Friend of Bill" and Virginia gubernatorial candidate, Politico reports. Some "in the Clinton orbit say they have been encouraged to support Terry McAuliffe’s campaign," the Times reports. Donors must feel relieved they have a lot of options out there.
Then there are the Hillary movies. Objective news networks won't donate to the Clinton campaign, but they can certainly profit from the Hillary buzz. There are already three movies about Hillary Clinton planned this year — a CNN documentary that will air both on TV and in theaters, an NBC mini-series starring Diane Lane as Clinton, and a major motion picture whose cast has not been picked. The entertainment industry knows you have to spend Hillary money to make Hillary money.