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Hillary Clinton to Hire Some 'Summer Fellows' After Reports of Interns Working for Free

Jul 8, 2015 / Media Coverage / The Guardian — Ben Jacobs

The presidential frontrunner finally added eight full-time staff to her campaign’s payroll after reports that some politically experienced organizers were unpaid

Hillary Clinton has hired eight “summer fellows” as full-time paid staffers, just weeks after the Guardian revealed that the presidential frontrunner’s campaign was using experienced political operatives as unpaid interns.

The Clinton campaign is adding 20 full-time field organizers in Iowa, seeking to increase her presence and rally Democrats in the crucial caucus state, which she visited on Tuesday as her team acknowledged fears of a better-than-expected showing from the independent challenger Bernie Sanders.

As first reported by the Des Moines Register, eight of those new hires had previously served as full-time “organizing fellows”. In that capacity, fellows performed almost identical duties to field organizers, who do the most basic work on a campaign: recruiting volunteers and endorsements, going door-to-door and calling voters, often outside the confines of a 9-to-5 day job.

Now, those people will be paid, the Clinton campaign confirmed to the Guardian on Tuesday.

Clinton already had a sizeable footprint on the ground in Iowa and launched her campaign with roughly 40 staffers in the state, but the new wave of hires represents a decisive step by Clinton to build up her organizing efforts in the state.

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The push to woo ardent Iowa Democrats comes amid a surge of progressive appeal from Sanders, the Vermont senator who has been surging in recent polls and more than doubled his support among Democrats in the state between May and June, according to a Quinnipiac University’s survey.

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The Iowa hires, however, represent the continuation of a trend in Clintonland that new staffers – no matter how much political experience they may bring from previous campaigns – initially must work for free before getting on the Clinton payroll.

Many high-ranking staffers worked for free as “volunteers” on the Clinton campaign in the weeks before she formally launched her campaign in early April. Political watchers told the Guardian last month it represented an attempt to wiggle around federal campaign-finance rules that ban an undeclared campaign from paying staff.

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