Hillary Clinton can finally retire her Penn debt, thanks to Obama finance team

Tweet Share on Facebook Share on Tumblr Print

Last month, for the first time in a long time, Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign committee reported more cash on hand than debts and obligations.

Clinton has been struggling to dig out from more than $20 million in debt that her campaign carried when she quit the primary four years ago. She's sold off Hillary '08 merchandise, and raffled off her husband twice. But even after paying most of her creditors, a lone, six-figure debt to Penn, Schoen & Berland lingered. (The six-figure sum was actually a vast improvement over the millions she once owed the firm.) 

In April, the New York Times reported that President Obama's national finance team was renewing its calls to help Clinton retire that debt. The president had asked supporters to contribute back in 2008, shortly after Clinton dropped out, but the wounds of a bitter primary were still too fresh for some donors.

But an influx of maximum contributions in recent months, many from donors who also appear on the president's list of 2012 bundlers, has helped the Clinton campaign whittle the Penn debt down to $73,000 as of the end of October, with $109,216 in cash on hand.

MORE ON CAPITAL

ADVERTISEMENT

Among the more conspicuous Obama supporters who contributed to Clinton's cause in recent months were Joel Benenson, Obama's pollster, who gave the maximum $2,300 in July, and Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue who has been one of Obama's top bundlers, who gave the maximum in June.

Wintour had a falling-out with Clinton during the 2008 campaign, when the candidate canceled a planned photo shoot for Vogue, out of fear it would make her look too feminine, a slight to the magazine that drew a scathing editor's note from Wintour.

Obama and Clinton appear to have developed a strong working relationship since he appointed her as Secretary of State, and Bill Clinton emerged during the campaign as one of the president's most active and effective surrogates.

Clinton's campaign also profited from some 2012 campaigns, who appear to have paid for her email lists. Elizabeth Warren's campaign paid about $18,000 and the campaign of Sean Patrick Maloney—a former aide in the Clinton White House—paid nearly $11,000.

Clinton raised $123,000 in the third quarter after raising more than $220,000 in the second quarter. 

Paying off the Penn debt in full would allow Clinton to close the campaign account and officially put 2008 behind her.