The same Democratic law firm working with Google to provide people with election information may have helped the Obama administration to run a "pay for play" operation that could explain how ambassadorships were awarded during Hillary Clinton's tenure at the State Department, according to new leaked documents purportedly from the Democratic National Committee.
The revelation about the Seattle-based Perkins Coie was included in a batch of documents leaked Tuesday by Guccifer 2.0, a hacker who holds information on both the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Democrats have warned some of the papers might be counterfeit, but Guccier 2.0 has leaked other papers that were not disputed by Democrats.
The most explicit language was included in a May 18, 2016 email sent by Perkins Coie attorney Jacquelyn Lopez to staffers at the DNC, in which Lopez asked them to set up a call "to go over our process for handling donations from donors who have given us pay to play letters."
The law firm did not reply to questions from the Washington Examiner about the use of the term and what it might mean.
A separate document lists the presidential appointments that were doled out to donors. That list notes the highest bidder, Matthew Barzun, contributed $3.5 million to President Obama's first election in 2008, and subsequently received an appointment as America's ambassador to the United Kingdom and Sweden in August 2009.
Julius Genachowski, who donated a little more than $3.4 million, was appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in June 2009. Frank Sanchez, who donated nearly the same amount, was awarded a position as undersecretary at the Commerce Department in 2010.
Of the top 57 donors, 18 received ambassadorships at Clinton's State Department. The cheapest, Bill Facho, paid a paltry $950,718 to serve as ambassador to Austria from 2009-13. The median price was about $1.5 million, and the four contributors closest to that range received appointments to South Africa, Belgium, Luxembourg, and New Zealand.
It's unclear whether any donors were awarded positions in the days subsequent to the email from Lopez, which came less than a month before the revelation the DNC hand been breached.
Lopez's firm, Perkins Coie, has performed legal work for both the DNC and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The firm drew fire from Democrats who supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over Clinton in the party's presidential primary over that perceived conflict of interest.
The firm announced in August that it was entering a partnership with Google to offer election information through the search engine. Google insisted it was a nonpartisan effort aimed at encouraging users to vote.
While it's not uncommon for donors to receive political appointments, the Obama administration has been criticized for doling out an unusually large number over the years. Unqualified appointees could constitute a violation of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which prohibits appointments from being made on a purely financial basis.