Hillary Clinton’s top donors are fed up with the email controversy that has taken her not-yet-announced presidential campaign by storm.
The former secretary of state and presumed Democratic frontrunner has come under fire for her use of personal email at the State Department. She addressed the controversy head-on for the first time on Tuesday, insisting she didn’t break any rules and that she’s taken every necessary step to ensure the public has access to her work emails.
Frustration has been building for days among some of Clinton’s deep-pocketed supporters over what they perceive to be a scandal hyped up by Republicans – as well as the press. In a sign of Clinton’s strong ties with the Democratic elite and her dominance in the Democratic field as she heads into 2016, her top donors and supporters are coming out to publicly defend the former secretary of state as well as her team’s handling of the issue.
There is no “scandal,” said Alan Patricof, founder of the venture capital firm Greycroft and a Clinton friend and donor.
“I don’t perceive any concern among the donor community who recognize that this is just one of many issues that gets blown out of proportion when it relates to a Clinton,” Patricof told CNN. “This will all pass when it is realized it is just a tempest in a teapot.”
But one well-connected private sector observer based in New York said some donors are “very worried” about just how long the email scandal will haunt Clinton.
“It is a huge distraction and will take a long time to resolve,” the person said. The main concern among top allies, they added, is that the issue “will be unresolved story for months.”
Former Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard, who served on Clinton’s finance committee in 2008 and has publicly vowed to donate to Clinton’s next campaign, suggested that the press has played no small role in hyping up the controversy.
“The upcoming campaign will have to focus on jobs, economic growth and quality of life,” Blanchard said. “And, of course, the opposition needs to be the right wing (Republicans), not the press.”
Taking questions at the United Nations on Tuesday, Cilnton explained that during her time at the State Department, she chose to use her personal email account rather than her government address for the sake of “convenience.”
She defended the “unprecedented steps” she’s taken to ensure that all work-related emails were turned over to the State Department. “Looking back, it would have been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone,” she said.
Brian Greenspun, a Nevada media mogul and longtime friend of the Clintons, dismissed the recent email controversy as trivial “kerfluffle” that does nothing to undermine Clinton’s qualifications. In an email to CNN moments after the conclusion of Clinton’s press conference, Greenspun said he was more than satisfied with her public explanation.
“When she says it was easier to do it the way she did it, I get it. In hindsight, I suppose it would have been better to have two accounts,” Greenspun said. “I recognize the political ‘gotcha’ games but I think America needs serious people to deal with very serious issues right now.”