Thursday, June 19, 2008

Of Pride and Pragmatism

A friend was kind enough to update me on a conference call Senator Clinton just had with many of her volunteers. Here is what Senator Clinton had to say about our efforts to retire her primary debt: "She does not want help paying back the money she lent the campaign, but asked for help paying the vendors."

Let me clarify exactly what this means. Senator Clinton is saying she does not us to help her repay herself - she lent her own personal money to the campaign -a separate entity from her personally - and she's willing to absorb that loss. But she owes money to "vendors" ranging from Mark Penn to caterers and maintenance staff and so forth.

The pride I feel: I don't know too many people, let alone politicians, regardless of their personal wealth who make it clear that they will absorb a loss of over 10 million dollars rather than seek donations from her supporters.

The pragmatism: Senator Clinton is not going to expect those who worked for her to go unpaid. Now, the vendors to whom she owes fees for things like lighting and catering should get paid in full. But her biggest outstanding debtor is Marc Penn's firm, which is reportedly owed 5 million dollars. Now, if Marc Penn wanted to he could simply forgive that debt. Apparently he has not chosen to do so. Maybe he cannot forgive the entire debt because he must consistently pay his own employees. I do not know.

But here is what often happens in situations where a debtor owes a creditor but the creditor is willing to compromise - perhaps because the creditor did not perform services as well as it might have or perhaps just out of graciousness. The parties agree on an amount that will, basically, settle the debt. After the creditor receives that money the parties agree to an amicable parting of the ways - in legal parlance, they agree to release on one another from further obligations.

I would really like to know what amount Mark Penn would accept in exchange for such a set of mutual releases. But here's my new game plan for RETIRE THE DEBT.

While I remain committed to raising every last penny Senator Clinton owes every vendor, my first priority would be to induce Mark Penn to accept a lesser amount than what he has billed for in exchange for an amicable end to this episode in his relationship with the Clinton campaign.

So starting today, I am raising money in the name of negotiating with Marc Penn for him to accept significantly less than 5 million dollars. I am going to focus on a big enough number to get Mr. Penn's attention but not so big that I cannot possibly raise it. More pragmatism.

I think that if I keep plugging away, giving it my all, I can raise $50,000 dollars by the end of August. I really think I can do it. I think I can do it with five dollar donations. So long as I work really hard. My pride in Senator Clinton makes me happy to work on her behalf. My pragmatism makes me know the work is needed.

Want to help? If so please donate to retire the debt.


Anonymous corage said...

great if mark penn can lower the debt owed...are you working on this too?
you are one busy hard-working bee for senator clinton. i hope she knows that you work tirelessly for her.
i would love to donate to retire the debt. i've been wanting to do so for a while now, but i'm currently not working, so money is very tight. plus, yesterday, i pledged a little bit to the denver group.
as soon as i can get some extra $ in the next few weeks, i will definitely donate to retire hillary's debt.
thank you again for all you do.

June 19, 2008 at 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HLF, you ROCK, totally ROCK!

I feel an enormous pride for Hillary too and now for you:). I really enjoy your site and I so appreciate your commitment and kindness.

I will continue to do what I can to help Hillary and your efforts with the Denver group and I’ll keep spreading the word about your awesome website!

June 19, 2008 at 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate Penn !!! Hopefully he will accept less for his non-service.

June 19, 2008 at 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in on that conference call, and I was really impressed when she said that she considered the loan to her campaign an "investment" and was not asking for our help with that. It emphasized her own personal involvement like so many of us. I'm maxed and don't have a spouse. I've already made a pledge to the Denver Group.


June 19, 2008 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger CognitiveDissonance said...

Heidi, every time I think Sen. Clinton can't do anything else to raise my estimation of her (it's already very high), she does something like this. If we had a few more politicians like her, we could move mountains!

Incidentally, could you tell us more about exactly how much debt she has if what she put into the campaign isn't counted? I think it would really help in getting people to donate.

June 19, 2008 at 7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


About Penn and other vendors, as I understand it there is no deadline on paying them back; some candidates have taken years to pay off campaign debt.

So isn't the Denver Group fund more urgent? For one thing, every donation there shows a CLEAR STRONG message. PUMA!


June 19, 2008 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger purplefinn said...

Wow I love Senator Clinton. Thank you so much Heidi Li for what you do, and how you enable us small donor folk to help. It has to be next week for me.

June 20, 2008 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous JiffyJML said...

Heidi, your steadfast support of HRC is incredible. Thank you on behalf of so many of us who don't have the time, energy and money to be so vocal and active and involved as you, due to whatever our own circumstances may be. Your dedication inspires many of us to do whatever we can on behalf of HRC, even if it is a small, occasional thing.

A few months ago, around the Ohio primary time, I pledged to myself that I would donate $10 from each paycheck to Senator Clinton's campaign. I only get paid twice a month, so it hasn't amounted to a lot of money, but indeed I did keep that pledge to myself. I had not donated since HRC suspended her campaign but today, inpired by your dedication, I just did give another $10.00.

Thanks again for all you do.

June 20, 2008 at 12:10 PM  

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