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To rig primary against Bernie, DNC’s Tom Perez nominates regime-change agents, Israel lobbyists, and Wall Street consultants

With Senator Bernie Sanders surging in the polls, DNC chair Tom Perez has put forward a cartoonishly neoliberal cast of foreign policy hacks and corporate lobbyists to sabotage his nomination.

by Kevin Gosztola

Part 5 - Wall Street bankers, corporate lobbyists, and free trade fanatics

To round out his cartoonishly neoliberal DNC committee, Tom Perez has put forward three employees of the Dewey Square Group (DSG), a lobbying firm that has fought against several progressive reforms: Charlie Baker, the president and co-founder of DSG; Minyon Moore, a principal at DSG; and Maria Cardona, a principal at DSG.

Cardona was nominated to co-chair the Rules Committee with former Democratic Congressmember Barney Frank. She is a contributor to CNN and CNN en Español.

In March 2016, Cardona authored a column for Univision in which she invoked the boogeyman of Venezuelan socialism to frighten readers into rejecting the social-democratic policies supported by Sanders. She omitted the fact that the US had worked to destabilize Venezuela since Hugo Chavez’s election in 1998, backing multiple coup attempts and imposing lethal sanctions.

Cardona repurposed the reactionary line of attack in December 2019, questioning Sanders’ “electability” in an op-ed for The Hill: “If [Elizabeth] Warren and Sanders remain among top Democratic tier (they will), Trump will continue to try to paint all Democrats as radical socialists who want to turn the US into Venezuela.

Cardona worked for the Commerce Department as the lead communications strategist for the passage of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993. She was a senior adviser and spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008.

In 2016, Barney Frank was also the head of the Rules Committee. Sanders attempted to have him removed because he was openly hostile toward his campaign.

Frank is on the board of Signature Bank New York. In July 2018, the New York Times examined this little-known bank and how it became a go-to lender for the Trump family, as well as the family of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.

Others nominated include the former deputy secretary of labor for Obama, Chris Lu. In June 2016, he offered a tone-deaf answer about the TPP, calling it a “great opportunity for U.S. companies that sell products overseas.” This was Lu’s response to a question about the way Trump and Sanders spoke against trade deals that killed jobs.

Former US Senator Heidi Heitkamp was nominated to the Rules Committee as well. The conservative Democrat and longtime corporate lobbyist is on the board of trustees for the McCain Institute, a Washington think tank that collaborates with corporate executives, arms manufactures, and foreign government officials to advance the late Senator John McCain’s imperialist legacy.

Carol Browner was a Clinton delegate on the Platform Drafting Committee in 2016, and she was nominated to help shape the platform again. Browner is also a senior counselor for the Albright Stonebridge Group.

Browner had a role in the Obama administration working on climate change policy. Along with other Clinton delegates, she voted against all of the following: a ban on natural gas fracking; a carbon tax; a requirement to keep 80 percent of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground; a government test to block any energy infrastructure projects, which would significantly contribute to climate change; and a measure to halt the abuse of eminent domain by the fossil fuel industry.

While on the Platform Drafting Committee, Sanders delegate Dr. Cornel West was so taken aback that he condemned the “neoliberal rationalizations of corporate power” by figures like Browner during the meeting.

Veteran lobbyist Tonio Burgos was nominated by Perez to serve as vice-chair of the Credentials Committee. Burgos’ firm received nearly $1 million from Williams Companies to lobby for the fracked gas Constitution Pipeline.

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