DNC re-org raises questions about party unity and buries Obama rule on lobbyists.

In 2016, the DNC swept away the “Obama rule”, which had previously disallowed donations from lobbyists.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has dismantled the last of its prohibitions on receiving donations from lobbyists and political action committees.

The ban has been in place since 2008, when President Obama became the party’s presumptive nominee. — thehill.com/…

This week, we’ve moved further away from those principles as several prominent lobbyists were appointed or re-appointed to at-large positions. More significantly, some (like Ickes) gained seats on the executive and rules committees where they will wield power over rules governing future elections.

The appointment of active corporate lobbyists as at-large members of the 447-member Democratic National Committee has aroused controversy in the past.

“I will register my customary objections” to the selection of at-large members, said Christine Pelosi, a California-based vice-chair of the DNC who in February authored a proposal to bar the appointment of corporate lobbyists as superdelegates. The national committee voted down her proposal.

— www.bloomberg.com/…

The at-large members chosen by Perez include Harold Ickes, a lobbyist for a nuclear energy company; Manny Ortiz, a lobbyist for Citigroup; Joanne Dowdell, a lobbyist for News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News; and Jaime Harrison, a former lobbyist for coal companies, big banks, and tobacco companies.

— theintercept.com/…

News Corp is the Rupert Murdoch company which owns Fox News.

“The Democratic Party will only succeed in stopping Trump and the Republicans in Congress if it is a boldly progressive, multiracial, populist party. So it’s troubling to see the DNC seem to purge people from its leadership simply because they supported the progressive candidacy of Keith Ellison for chair,” said Joe Dinkin, spokesman for the Working Families Party. “For the sake of the nation, the DNC should reverse course, spend less time courting big donors, and more time bringing progressives voices into the party, instead of silencing them.”

— theintercept.com/…

Several former committee members who supported Keith Ellison’s candidacy as DNC president were “reshuffled” out of their roles. This includes Alice Germond, who had previously served as the party secretary for over 10 years.

Germond has been on the DNC since the 1980s and was a vocal backer of Ellison for DNC chairman.

“It is quite unusual for a former party officer who has been serving on the DNC for forever to just be left out in the cold without even a call from the chairman,” Germond said. “So I assumed it had something to do with myself support for Keith.” — www.nbcnews.com/…

In another discordant note, Donna Brazile has been appointed to the rules committee. For weeks, Brazile vociferously denied leaking debate questions to the Clinton team during the 2016 primaries. Months later she admitted to it.

One of the highest-profile Democrats removed from the new list was Barbra Casbar Siperstein, the first transgender member of the DNC. The new list — which, according to DNC spokesman Michael Tyler, was based on recommendations from state parties — included a different transgender member, Marisa Richmond.

Nonetheless, a meeting that Democrats hoped would close the door on the bitter 2016 primary produced yet another activists-vs.-establishment fight. What was reported as a “shake-up” by NBC News became, in Vanity Fair, “DNC chair purges dissenters.” At Splinter, it became “The DNC Cuts High-Profile Trans, POC Members From Party’s Left Wing in the Name of ‘Diversity.’”

— www.washingtonpost.com/…

All of this suggests the vaunted DNC unity commission has not made very much progress.