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Eric Cantor Did Not Spend $5 Million Running Against Brat. He Spent It Running Against Boehner


The Tea Party today is furiously trying to spin Eric Cantor’s loss as a function of their deft organizing in the face of David vs. Goliath odds. This despite the fact that reports indicate not only did the various Tea Party Groups not contribute to Brat’s campaign, but they may have even refused to take his calls. So how does a Congressional Candidate spend $5 million and lose to a guy that spent $125,000? The answer is pretty obvious when you dive into Cantor’s public disclosure of expenses. Over the past two years, Cantor spent $5 million, this is true. It’s not entirely clear what any of it had to do with his campaign, however. Here, for example, are the top 10 things he paid for:

Purpose Amount
CREDIT CARD:SEE BELOW 708143
ADMINISTRATIVE/SALARY/OVERHEAD: PAYROLL 521584
EVENT CATERING 305018
FUNDRAISING: FUNDRAISING CONSULTING 261962
PAYROLL TAXES 228676
ADMINISTRATIVE/SALARY/OVERHEAD: PRINTING 189979
AIRFARE 167512
LEGAL CONSULTING 108599
WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT/HOSTING 104714
FUNDRAISING: CATERING 83693

Of his top 10 expenses, what do you notice missing? How about Advertising? Direct Mail? Phone banks? But note the massive credit card expenses and bill for airfare. Cantor’s was a campaign on the move, but I’m guessing it moved a lot of places that weren’t in his district. Printing and Mailing Services accounted for only about $100,000 out of the $5 million he spent – roughly on par with what he spent for his website. His catering bills dwarf the amount he actually spent trying to win his seat. So unless he bought everyone in Virginia lunch, the idea that the upstart Brat spent considerably less than Cantor on the campaign is ridiculous. Granted, his spending through yesterday isn’t fully disclosed yet. It is possible his post-election report will include larger expenses for things like GOTV that have been spent since May 21 – the date of his last filing. However, based on news reports that Cantor’s pollster showed him 34 points ahead as of May 28, Occam’s Razor would suggest this was a campaign that did not take it’s opposition seriously. They did none of the things campaigns must do to win, while spending ridiculous amounts working on the one campaign they did care about – the race to replace John Boehner. The full dump of his campaign spending follows. Please note that there are numerous instances where slight variations in the text to describe the item’s purpose create redundancy. For instance, “Printing and Mail Services” vs. Printing and Mailing Services”.

Update: I should clarify my headline. When you spend next to nothing on your own race, and a huge amount on flying around the country on behalf of other candidates, you expect that to pay dividends. In this case, the grumblings about Boehner’s leadership and a coming challenge to the throne are well known. Cantor would be the apparent successor in a coup against our orange-toned Oompa-leader. From my read, based on 22 years in politics, is Cantor pushed to hard for the brass ring and not hard enough to keep his day job.

Purpose Amount
Expense Amount
CREDIT CARD:SEE BELOW 708143
ADMINISTRATIVE/SALARY/OVERHEAD: PAYROLL 521584
EVENT CATERING 305018
FUNDRAISING: FUNDRAISING CONSULTING 261962
PAYROLL TAXES 228676
ADMINISTRATIVE/SALARY/OVERHEAD: PRINTING 189979
AIRFARE 167512
LEGAL CONSULTING 108599
WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT/HOSTING 104714
FUNDRAISING: CATERING 83693
CATERING 66503
PRINTING AND MAIL SERVICES 61676
TRAVEL: AIRFARE 58374
LODGING 57375
SURVEY RESEARCH 51800
STRATEGIC CONSULTING 51187
PRINTING AND MAILING SERVICES 49443
FUNDRAISING: EVENT CATERING 47845
RENT AND UTILITIES 45836
FUNDRAISING: PRINTING 41805
ADMINISTRATIVE/SALARY/OVERHEAD: CATERING 33101
ADMINISTRATIVE/SALARY/OVERHEAD: MAILING 31000
HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUM 29940
CREDIT CARD PROCESSING FEES 22122
CELLULAR SERVICE 21661
MEETING EXPENSE – MEALS 19344
MEETING EXPENSE-MEALS 18898
EVENT LODGING/CATERING 17903
FUNDRAISING CONSULTING 14220
FUNDRAISING: ROOM RENTAL 13811
CONFERENCE CALL SERVICES 10091
INTERNET ADVERTISING 9965
PHONE SERVICE 9673
SOFTWARE SUPPORT 9406
CONFERENCE FEES 9079
TRAIN TICKET 8657
FUNDRAISING: SOUND SYSTEM/LIGHTING 8355
CELLULAR SERVICE/EQUIPMENT 8051
CONFERENCE GIFTS 7637
OFFICE SUPPLIES 7190
CAMPAIGN INSURANCE 7111
COMPUTERS/TECHNICAL SUPPORT 6627
COMPUTER EQUIPMENT 6578
EVENT LODGING 5265
OFFICE FURNITURE 5001
SPEECH CONSULTING 5000
EVENT DECOR – CARPET,STAGING 4910
MONTHLY PARKING 4785
COMPUTERS/TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT 4770
PRINTING 4715
POSTAGE 4617
POLLING: PHONE BANK 3750
SHIPPING 3696
EVENT SUPPLIES – TENTS/LINENS 3579
SEMINAR FEES 3309
FUNDRAISING: CREDIT CARD:SEE BELOW 3129
CONFERENCE CALL SERVICE 3082
EVENT SUPPLIES 2900
TEMP. ADMINISTRATIVE WORK 2885
GROUND TRANSPORTATION 2760
INSURANCE PREMIUM 2667
EVENT SPONSORSHIP 2500
COMMEMORATIVE COINS 2439
ADMINISTRATIVE/SALARY/OVERHEAD: MILEAGE 2391
APPRECIATION GIFTS – FRAMES 2334
FUNDRAISING: RENTALS-LINENS,CHINA 2282
TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT RENTAL 2205
TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT 2083
DATA SERVICE 2050
INKIND: IN KIND:CATERING 2000
MUSIC FOR EVENT 1665
WORKERS COMP INSURANCE 1658
FUNDRAISING: EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY 1604
EVENT GROUND TRANSPORTATION 1598
FUNDRAISING: MUSIC FOR EVENT 1515
DATA SERVICES 1360
CELLULAR EQUIPMENT 1309
STORAGE FEES 1302
COMPUTER/SOFTWARE/MAINTENANCE 1231
EVENT SUPPLIES – BOOKS 1059
OFFICE EQUIPMENT/SUPPLIES 1016
PHONE BANKS 952
EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY 893
LIST RENTAL 763
EVENT DECOR-FLORAL 727
EVENT SUPPLIES – TABLES, LINEN 721
SUPPORTER GIFTS – COOKIES 706
COFFEE/BEVERAGE SERVICE 685
INTERNET SERVICE 684
SUPPORTER GIFTS-CRYSTAL BOXES 675
AUDIO/VISUAL EQUIPMENT 670
PARKING 664
MEDIA DOWNLOAD 643
FUNDRAISING: VALET SERVICES 615
CAMPAIGN EVENT: BOOTH RENTAL 600
EVENT GOLF FEES 599
FUNDRAISING: GOLF FEES 599
PHOTO PROCESSING 551
EVENT SUPPLIES-GUIDE BOOKS 546
COOKBOOKS 535
SPEECH WRITING 500
TEMP. ADMIN. SERVICES 500
MONTHLY STORAGE 476
STORAGE 476
STORAGE FEE 476
COMMERCIAL BANKING FEES 452
OFFICE SUPPLIES – SCANNER, INK 447
ANNUAL STORAGE FEES 445
EVENT SUPPLIES-PAPER, BEVERAGE 408
ADMINISTRATIVE/SALARY/OVERHEAD: PRINT AD 400
EVENT HOST GIFT-BASKET 392
EVENT DECOR 384
EVENT SUPPLIES-GIFT BAGS 375
LONG DISTANCE 367
BALLOONS 345
EVENT SUPPLIES-PAPER, FLORAL 345
EVENT SUPPLIES – PEANUTS 322
CREDTI CARD PROCESSING FEES 309
EVENT HOST GIFT-SILVER BOWL 278
EVENT SUPPLIES-NAME TAGS 270
HOST GIFT-BASKET 248
EVENT SUPPLIES – BEVERAGES 243
MILEAGE AND PARKING 232
PAYROLL PROCESSING FEES 218
EVENT HOST GIFTS – BASKETS 191
RENTAL CAR 167
FUNDRAISING: EVENT SUPPLIES – LINENS 161
EVENT HOST GIFT – BASKET 139
MILEAGE, CAB, MEAL 137
GIFT FOR HOST – SILVER TRAY 117
EVENT HOST GIFT-SILVER PLATTER 99
FUNDRAISING: EVENT PARKING 96
ADMINISTRATIVE/SALARY/OVERHEAD: BOX FEE 88
CELLULAR SERVICES 81
HOST GIFT-SILVER TRAY 81
BANKING FEES 74
TRAVEL: GROUND TRANSPORTATION 55
INTERNET SERVICES 54
FUNDRAISING: VIDEO SERVICES 52
FAXING SERVICE 48
TRUCK RENTAL 43
SUBSCRIPTION 39
EVENT SUPPLIES – CANDY/WATER 36
EVENT PARKING 34
AIRLINE FEES 30
ADMINISTRATIVE/SALARY/OVERHEAD: PARKING 24
PAYROLL SERVICE FEES 21
HOST GIFTS-PEANUTS 16
DIRECT DEPOSIT FEES 2



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Written by Turk