ActBlue recently distributed $48 million to various Democratic campaigns and PACs. ActBlue calls itself a conduit that provides infrastructure to fund raise online. However, the cynical view is that ActBlue provides a wall between donors and campaigns. If you donate money through ActBlue, it appears as a donation to ActBlue. You must read the actual PDF to see which campaign / PAC the money is earmark for. ActBlue has taken in 30 million donation in 2017 / 2018 making it very difficult to tie the donor to the campaign. So much for transparency.
The money is really starting to flow outward. From the beginning of July to the end of August, campaigns reported that they spent $256 million. Republican National Committee (RNC) topped the list at $27 million, but they are really just sharing their money. The RNC gave $4 million to National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and another $4 million to the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC). Then they gave another $3 million to themselves, which does not make sense. Rick Scott for Florida is next. Rick Scott spent $10 million with the majority of it going to Media.
Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife were recently indicted for improper use of campaign funds. Today’s CNN article, states that “the Hunters allegedly also spent thousands of dollars of campaign funds on routine purchases for personal items at Costco ($11,300), and Walmart (more than $5,700)”. Now we have no opinion on the Duncans' guilt or innocence, however we wanted to see if that level of campaign spending at Costco and Walmart is irregular. It is not.
Mega-Donors throw money around like normal people give their change to kids. We looked back on 2018 to see who is benefiting from Mega-Donor generosity. With $51 million in donations from Mega-Donors, the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) is clearly the winner. Sheldon Adelson and his wife donated $30 million to the CLF, Timothy Mellon gave $10 million and the American Action Network donated $11 million to the CLF. The Congressional Leadership Fund is dedicated to protecting and strengthening the Republican Majority in the House.
When I was growing up the common phrase was always “party like a rock star”, however maybe it should have been “live like a politician”. We went through the campaign finance expenses and again some of the expenses are just ridiculous. Republican candidates expensed $2.5 million at the Capitol Hill Club. On the Capital Hill Club website we stumbled onto the House Rules. Rule 9 states “No member shall carry on or transact any business or indulge in the practice of any profession in the Club at any time”. If they are not doing business, they why are the donors pay for it.
Top Democrats raised almost twice as much money as Republicans in the last month. Over the last month, 14 Democrats raised over $100 thousand, while only 7 Republicans raised more than that amount. The 14 Democrats raised $4.5 million, compared to the 7 Republicans that only raised $2.6 million. James Thompson in Kansas raised the most bringing in $1.8 million. Now we would love to tell you who donated the money, however almost all of it was funneled through ActBlue. Not a lot of transparency.
Claire McCaskill claims on her website that Mitch McConnell and his dark money allies are working hard and she will lose without grassroots support. However, Claire has plenty of allies and most are not grassroots based. In fact, most of her donations (72%) are not from Missourians. Claire received $406 thousand from donors in Beverly Hills. Is there such a thing as a super-rich grassroots movement? Emily’s List gave her $573 thousand. Emily’s List is a pro-choice mega PAC. Grassroots’ PAC movement? San Francisco and Los Angeles combined for $1.3 million in donations to Claire.
Why did Chuck Schumer need to spend $3.8 million on “Website Consulting”. We spent some time on his website and it is not anything special. Since 2009, Chuck has spent $3.8 million on “Website Consulting” with the bulk ($2.8 million) expensed in 2016. However before 2016, Chuck had already spent $441 thousand on “Website Consulting” How much does “Web Consulting” really cost? Back in 2009 Schumer used Blackrock Associates for his consulting, however since then he has exclusively used Trilogy Interactive. We went to Trilogy Interactive’s web page and it is the worst.
Congressman Mike Conaway of Texas is having a lot of fun. In June, he spent more than $10,000 on meals. His most expense dinner was at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, an upscale Mexican restaurant in D.C. He spent $3,300 in one outing. This restaurant looks to be reasonably priced and so hopefully he had a lot of guests and not a huge bar bill. Conaway also expensed meals at Tortilla Coast and District Taco. If you are against open borders can you still eat Mexican food? Yes of course!! Mexican food is really good and everyone should enjoy it.
28% of Rahm Emanuel’s donations came from other States. If you did not know, Rahm Emanuel is the current Mayor of Chicago. Now I do not agree with but understand people in different states trying to influence Federal Elections. However, why should Californians be able to potentially help decide the next mayor of Chicago. Chicago, one of my favorite cities, has enough problems right now without Californians trying to help. Over the years, Rahm has received almost $9 million from donors in New York ($3.5 million), California ($3.3 million) and Washington, DC ($1.9 million).