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Bill Clinton joining Wisconsin recall battle against Scott Walker

By Matea Gold, Tribune Washington Bureau –

WASHINGTON — Bill Clinton will stump in Wisconsin on Friday for that state’s Democratic gubernatorial challenger, the latest in a series of high-profile campaign roles for the former president.

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Thursday that Clinton would be campaigning with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett as he looks to unseat Gov. Scott Walker in next week’s recall. The former president will take part in a rally with Barrett, according to the latter’s website.

Clinton has recently emerged as the party’s go-to utility player. On Monday, he will appear with President Barack Obama at three consecutive fundraisers in New York, including a small dinner at the home of hedge fund manager Marc Lasry (whose fund once employed Chelsea Clinton) and a gala at the Waldorf Astoria. Topping off the evening will be a Broadway concert featuring performances by stage luminaries such as James Earl Jones, Tony Kushner, Patti LuPone and Angela Lansbury.

The events come a little more than a month after Clinton appeared with Obama at another fundraiser for the president’s re-election campaign, held at the Virginia home of former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe.

And the former president is scheduled to headline yet another fundraiser in Beverly Hills on June 14 — this one to raise money for the host committee organizing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The midday lunch will be at the home of media entrepreneur Haim Saban, a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid.

Guests are being asked to pony up as much as $100,000 per couple to attend the event, in exchange for hotel rooms in Charlotte and convention credentials. It’s one of the first major high-dollar events for the Charlotte host committee, which has been laboring to raise money under rules imposed by the Democratic National Committee that prohibit donations from for-profit corporations, political action committees and registered lobbyists.

But organizers have found a way for monied interests to play a role in financing the event. Convention officials have encouraged corporate executives to write personal checks. They have suggested that corporations can donate goods and services to the convention, and by giving up to $100,000 through a corporate foundation. Lobbyists can also bundle money in exchange for perks such as credentials. And union money is not prohibited.

In addition, a separate committee called New American City accepts unlimited sums from corporations. That fund pays for all the host committee’s administrative overhead — including the costs of producing fundraisers such as the one Clinton will headline — and welcome parties for the media and delegates.

Convention officials have declined to release the tally of how much the host committee has raised so far, but spokeswoman Suzi Emmerling said Thursday that fundraising is “right on track.”

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