Democratic National Committee

Democratic National Committee
Founded 1848 (1848)[1]
Headquarters 430 South Capitol St SE,
Washington, D.C. 20003
, U.S.
Key people
Donna Brazile, Interim Chair
Andrew Tobias, Treasurer
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Secretary

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the formal governing body for the United States Democratic Party. The committee coordinates strategy to support Democratic Party candidates throughout the country for local, state, and national office. It organizes the Democratic National Convention held every four years to nominate and confirm a candidate for president, and to formulate the party platform. While it provides support for party candidates, it does not have direct authority over elected officials.

The DNC is composed of the chairs and vice-chairs of each state Democratic Party committee and over 200 members elected by Democrats in all 50 states and the territories. Its chairperson is elected by the committee. It conducts fundraising to support its activities.

The DNC was established at the 1848 Democratic National Convention.[1] The DNC's main counterpart is the Republican National Committee.

Campaign role

The DNC is responsible for articulating and promoting the Democratic platform and coordinating party organizational activity. When the president is a Democrat, the party generally works closely with the president. In presidential elections it supervises the national convention and, both independently and in coordination with the presidential candidate, raises funds, commissions polls, and coordinates campaign strategy. Following the selection of a party nominee, the public funding laws permit the national party to coordinate certain expenditures with the nominee, but additional funds are spent on general, party-building activities.[2] There are state committees in every state, as well as local committees in most cities, wards, and towns (and, in most states, counties).

The chairperson of the DNC is elected by vote of members of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC is composed of the chairs and vice-chairs of each state Democratic Party's central committee, two hundred members apportioned among the states based on population and generally elected either on the ballot by primary voters or by the state Democratic Party committee, a number of elected officials serving in an ex officio capacity, and a variety of representatives of major Democratic Party constituencies.

Chicago delegation to the January 8, 1912 Democratic National Committee

The DNC establishes rules for the caucuses and primaries which choose delegates to the Democratic National Convention, but the caucuses and primaries themselves are most often run not by the DNC but instead by each individual state. Primary elections, in particular, are invariably conducted by state governments according to their own laws. Political parties may choose to participate or not participate in a state's primary election, but no political party executives have any jurisdiction over the dates of primary elections, or how they are conducted.

Outside of the process of nominating a presidential candidate, the DNC's role in actually selecting candidates to run on the party ticket is minimal.

All DNC members are superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention whose role can influence a close primary race. These delegates, officially described as "unpledged party leader and elected official delegates," fall into three categories based on other positions they hold:[3]

DNC fundraising

In the 2002 election cycle, the DNC and its affiliated committees (which include numerous local committees and committees formed to coordinate expenditures for specific districts or races) raised a total of US $162,062,084, 42% of which was hard money. The largest contributor, with US $7,297,937 was the Saban Capital Group, founded in 2001 by Haim Saban. Fred Eychaner, the owner of Newsweb Corporation, gave the second highest amount of money to the DNC and its affiliates, US $5,175,000. The third largest contributor was Steve Bing of Shangri-La Entertainment, who gave US $4,758,000.[4]

In the 2006 election cycle, the DNC raised a total of US $37,939,887. The three largest contributors were investment bank Goldman Sachs (US $225,600). University of California (US $121,980) and Pond North LLP (US $109,296).[5]

The DNC introduced a small-donor fund raising campaign, the Democracy Bonds program, set up by Howard Dean in the summer of 2005.[6] There were only 31,000 Democracy Bond donors by May 2006, off-pace from the goal of 1 million donors by 2008. The program no longer is in place.

In the 2016 election cycle, the DNC raised a total of US $75,945,536 as of July 21, 2016. The three largest contributors were hedge fund Renaissance Technologies (US $677,850), Newsweb Corp (US $334,000) and Total Wine (US $298,100).[7]

In June 2008, after Senator Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Dean announced that the DNC, emulating the Obama campaign, would no longer accept donations from federal lobbyists.[8] In July 2015, during the 2016 election cycle, the DNC, led by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, reversed this policy.[9]

Current leadership

In addition, a National Advisory Board exists for purposes of fundraising and advising the executive. The present chair is Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal.

DNC National Chairs

Chairperson Term State[15]
Benjamin F. Hallett1848–52Massachusetts
Robert Milligan McLane1852–56Maryland
David Allen Smalley1856–60Vermont
August Belmont1860–72New York
Augustus Schell1872–76New York
Abram Stevens Hewitt1876–77New York
William H. Barnum1877–89Connecticut
Calvin Stewart Brice1889–92Ohio
William F. Harrity1892–96Pennsylvania
James K. Jones1896–1904Arkansas
Thomas Taggart1904–08Indiana
Norman E. Mack1908–12New York
William F. McCombs1912–16New York
Vance C. McCormick1916–19Pennsylvania
Homer S. Cummings1919–20Connecticut
George White1920–21Ohio
Cordell Hull1921–24Tennessee
Clem L. Shaver1924–28West Virginia
John J. Raskob1928–32New York
James A. Farley1932–40New York
Edward J. Flynn1940–43New York
Frank C. Walker 1943–44Pennsylvania
Robert E. Hannegan 1944–47Missouri
J. Howard McGrath 1947–49Rhode Island
William M. Boyle 1949–51Missouri
Frank E. McKinney 1951–52Indiana
Stephen Mitchell 1952–55Illinois
Paul M. Butler1955–60Indiana
Henry M. Jackson1960–61Washington
John Moran Bailey1961–68Connecticut
Larry O'Brien1968–69Massachusetts
Fred R. Harris1969–70Oklahoma
Larry O'Brien1970–72Massachusetts
Jean Westwood1972Utah
Robert S. Strauss1972–77Texas
Kenneth M. Curtis1977–78Maine
John C. White1978–81Texas
Charles Taylor Manatt1981–85California
Paul G. Kirk1985–89Massachusetts
Ron Brown1989–93New York
David Wilhelm1993–94Ohio
Debra DeLee1994–95Massachusetts
Chris Dodd11995–97 Connecticut
Donald Fowler1995–97South Carolina
Roy Romer1 1997–99Colorado
Steven Grossman 1997–99Massachusetts
Ed Rendell11999–2001Pennsylvania
Joseph Andrew1999–2001Indiana
Terry McAuliffe2001–05Virginia
Howard Dean2005–09Vermont
Tim Kaine2009–11 Virginia
Donna Brazile22011 Louisiana
Debbie Wasserman Schultz2011–16[16] Florida
Donna Brazile22016– Louisiana
1 — General Chairperson

2 — Interim Chairperson



Illegal fund raising

In 2002, the Federal Election Commission fined the Democratic National Committee $115,000 for its part in fundraising violations in 1996.[17]

Cyber attacks

Cyber attacks and hacks were claimed by or attributed to various individual and groups such as:


On July 22, 2016 Wikileaks released approximately 20,000 DNC emails.[28] Critics claimed that the Committee favored the contender and 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and acted in support of her nomination. The leaked emails spanned sixteen months, terminating in May 2016.[29] The hack was claimed by the hacker Guccifer 2.0, but several cybersecurity firms believe this assertion is false.[30]

In the wake of the WikiLeaks releases, the exposure of many embarrassing emails, relationships and policies resulted in the rapid resignations of Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Communications Director Luis Miranda, Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall and Chief Executive Amy Dacey.[31]

See also


  1. 1 2 Party History. Retrieved February 17, 2007. Archived November 4, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "Public Funding of Presidential Elections". Federal Election Commission. February 2005. Retrieved October 29, 2006.
  3. "Delegate Selection Materials For the 2016 Democratic National Convention" (PDF). December 15, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  4. "Top Contributors 2002 Election Cycle DNC: OpenSecrets". Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  5. "Top Contributors DNC 2006 Cycle". Center for Responsive Politics. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  6. 2006 Democracy Bonds. Retrieved on August 2, 2007. Archived August 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "Top Contributors DNC 2016 Election". Center for Responsive Politics. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  8. Rhee, Foon (June 5, 2008). "DNC bars Washington lobbyist money". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on July 15, 2008.
  9. Smilowitz, Elliot (July 24, 2015). "DNC to allow lobbyist money to fund conventions". The Hill. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  10. 1 2 Democratic National Committee (January 22, 2013). "Democratic National Committee Elects New Officers at Meeting in Washington Today". Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  11. "Rep. Grace Meng Elected DNC Vice Chairwoman". Roll Call. 2016-07-29. Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  12. Jeff Zeleny and Tal Kopan. "DNC CEO resigns in wake of email controversy". CNN. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  13. 1 2 "Top Democratic National Committee officials resign in wake of email breach". Washington Post. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  14. John Fritze (January 21, 2013). "Rawlings-Blake to take leadership post at DNC". Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  15. Lawrence Kestenbaum. "A Database of Historic Cemeteries". The Political Graveyard web site. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  16. Joshua Cohen (2011-05-04). "Breaking News: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Elected DNC Chair". Archived from the original on August 2, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
  17. "DNC fined for illegal 1996 fund raising",, September 23, 2002. Archived May 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. 1 2 Nakashima, Ellem (14 June 2016). "Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump". The Washington Post. Washington D C. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  19. "'Lone Hacker' Claims Responsibility for Cyber Attack on Democrats". NBC News. 2016-06-16. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  20. 1 2 Sanger, David E. and Rick Corasaniti (14 June 2016). "D.N.C. Says Russian Hackers Penetrated Its Files, Including Dossier on Donald Trump". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  21. Uchill, Joe (2016-07-13). "Guccifer 2.0 releases new DNC docs". The Hill. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  22. Joe, Uchill (2016-07-18). "New Guccifer 2.0 dump highlights 'wobbly Dems' on Iran deal". The Hill. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  23. Ross, Chuck (2016-07-22). "Wikileaks Releases Nearly 20,000 Hacked DNC Emails". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  24. Mackey, Robert (2016-07-26). "If Russian Intelligence Did Hack the DNC, the NSA Would Know, Snowden Says". The Intercept. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  25. "EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange on Releasing DNC Emails That Ousted Debbie Wasserman Schultz". Democracy Now!. 2016-07-25. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  26. Alperovitch, Dmitri (15 June 2016). "Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee". From The Front Lines. CrowdStrike, Inc. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  27. Sanger, David E.; Schmitt, Eric (July 26, 2016). "Spy Agency Consensus Grows That Russia Hacked D.N.C.". New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  28. "WikiLeaks - Search the DNC email database". 22 July 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  29. Uchill, Joe (2016-07-22). "WikiLeaks posts 20,000 DNC emails". The Hill. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  30. "Guccifer 2.0 Claims Responsibility for WikiLeaks DNC Email Dump". Motherboard Vice. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  31. Top Democratic National Committee officials resign in wake of email breach, Washington Post, Abby Phillip & Katie Zezima, August 2, 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
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