Dec. 24, 2008 — -- Sen. Hillary Clinton's in-the-red campaign committee has found an innovative way to pay down a slice of its debt -- and is getting help from President Clinton's foundation, among other groups, in making it happen.
The William J. Clinton Foundation this week became the latest outside group to buy access to the vast e-mail list compiled by the New York senator's campaign. Political insiders believe the list is second only to President-elect Barack Obama's in its size and efficiency in reaching potential donors.
Clinton political aides and officials with the foundation confirm that the foundation paid the campaign committee to send a fundraising solicitation Monday. In the e-mail to HillaryClinton.com users, Chelsea Clinton asks for year-end gifts to the foundation, touting its work on HIV/AIDS.
Aides declined to specify what the foundation paid the campaign committee for the list; the figure won't have to be reported publicly until next month. They said outside vendors were consulted to set a "fair market" price for the Clinton Foundation to rent the list, in keeping with federal law.
Since there's little precedent for a national political figures selling access to their lists, estimates of what such an e-mail list would cost vary wildly, and would depend in part on whether a group is trying to reach a full list or targeted segments.
Some experts say buying access to a high-quality batch of several million addresses for a fundraising appeal would easily run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Clinton, still owes $6.3 million to vendors after her unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. She's already written off $13.1 million in personal loans to her campaign, so any money raised now won't go toward paying herself back.
And Clinton is facing a fundraising deadline: Because of federal ethics rules, she won't be allowed to solicit campaign donations once she's confirmed as secretary of state. A Clinton adviser said the e-mail list won't be offered for rent after her confirmation.