Tag Archives: campaign debt

Scott Walker finally retires campaign debt, but other candidates still owe

Scott Walker has finally paid off the debt he accrued during his short-lived presidential run, putting him in a good position for his third gubernatorial bid.

Walker owed $1.2 million when he dropped out of the race in 2015 after just 71 days. In June 2016, he still owed more than $800,000 for a campaign that spent lavishly — up to $90,000 per day at its peak.

Walker had promised to pay off all the campaign  debt by the end of 2016 and apparently he did. The governor employed some unusual fundraising strategies, including selling pro-Walker T-shirts for $45.

The campaign said it could not guarantee color and size of the T-shirts, but suggested they were suitable for framing or for use as material in crafts work.

In May, Walker offered to rent out his email and donor lists to other political candidates in order to raise money to retire his campaign  debt.

Walker campaign adviser Joe Fadness said in a memo to Walker on Jan. 13 that his campaign debt had been erased thanks to robust fundraising in December. Fadness hinted that the strong fundraising in December shows Walker is in a good position for a third gubernatorial run.

Fadness told Walker he’s showing strength at a crucial time and noted the governor has about 30 fundraising events scheduled for the first half of 2017.

Other candidates’ campaign debt

Meanwhile, other 2016 presidential candidates have left a swath of debt for security services across the nation, including here in Wisconsin.

The Center for Public Integrity reported this week that Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have ignored hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding bills stemming from police security for campaign events — from Vallejo, California, to the University of Pittsburgh.

Green Bay officials said the three White House aspirants stiffed the city on police protection costs totaling $24,000.

“We appreciate, and we feel honored, when the candidates come to Green Bay,” Celestine Jeffreys, chief of staff to Mayor Jim Schmitt, told the CFPI. “We are also very appreciative when they honor their debts.”

CFPI investigators found that costs associated with Trump’s campaign were the highest, because the president-elect’s rallies were unruly and often violent. Trump sometimes incited brawls, and his campaign staffers were physically involved in some of them.

Trump’s refusal to pay for security contrasts sharply with his campaign rhetoric. One of his central messages was calling for increased respect and resources for law enforcement.

But Trump — despite receiving demand letters and collection notices — doesn’t acknowledge in federal campaign financial disclosures that it owes cities a cent. Ditto the Clinton campaign, which hasn’t paid at least $25,000 in bills.

The Sanders campaign, on the other hand, acknowledges in federal campaign filings that it owes $449,409 to nearly two dozen municipalities and law enforcement agencies.

 

Walker’s failed presidential campaign still owes $807,000

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker still owes more than $807,000 in campaign debt from his failed presidential bid that ended nine months ago.

His latest campaign report filed Monday with the Federal Elections Commission shows Walker owes $807,675. That’s down about $91,000 from the previous month. His debt stood at $1.2 million at the end of 2015.

Walker ended his 71-day campaign for president in September, after average spending of $90,000 a day on his losing effort. He’s been slowly paying off his campaign debts since.

Walker’s latest filing shows he raised about $127,000 in May.

Walker has tried a number of tactics to eliminate his leftover debts.

In May, he rented out his donor list and email list to other candidates. The previous month, he offered to sell T-shirts from his failed campaign in exchange for $45 donations. Because Walker could not take requests for the size and color of the T-shirts he was selling, he suggested that buyers frame them or use them for craft projects.

It’s widely believed that Walker was forced to withdraw from the race because he ran out of money. Critics, including Republicans, chastised Walker for his fiscal imprudence, but apologists blamed it on his advisers, particularly his campaign manager, Rick Wiley.

But Donald Trump hired Walker’s former campaign manager Rick Wiley to serve as his political director, suggesting that Trump’s people did not think Wiley was to blame.

Walker has endorsed Trump for president.

Walker rents out donor list to pay campaign debt

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is renting out his email and donor lists to other candidates to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from his failed presidential bid.

The campaign owed $1.2 million at the end of 2015 and has paid off about $308,000 since then, according to campaign finance records.

The bulk of those payments have been made possible by income from Granite Lists, a New Hampshire-based company that rents out Republican donor lists. Granite Lists has paid more than $172,000 to Walker’s campaign since it ended in September.

In April alone, Granite Lists brought the campaign nearly $50,000, comprising most of the total $70,930 the campaign brought in that month.

It’s common for candidates to sell their donor lists for extra cash flow once they’re no longer in the race — the donor list from Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 presidential run is featured alongside Walker’s on the Granite Lists website.

But the funding agreements aren’t always evident on campaign finance reports. In addition to flat-rate charges, candidates can set up revenue-sharing agreements, where some of the proceeds they obtain from donors are diverted back to the list owner.

Candidates can also pay a flat rate of $10,500 to email Walker’s entire 675,000-person email list and $7,000 to email the 225,000 donors and presidential sign-ups, according to Granite Lists website.

“Even before he ran for president, Gov. Scott Walker had amassed a huge national network of online donors which was the envy of the political fundraising world,” the website says.

It calls Walker’s donor file “one of the hottest donor lists to hit the market in years.”

Granite Lists said no one was available for  comment. Walker’s campaign treasurer, Kate Lind, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Walker spent an average of $90,000 a day on the 71-day campaign and still owed $898,676 at the end of April. The largest outstanding debt he owes is $260,000 to FLS Connect for telemarketing and data.

In April, Walker offered his fans T-shirts from his campaign in exchange for $45 donations. In his email asking for the money, Walker said but he was unable to honor size and color requests. He suggested that the shirts could be framed as keepsakes or used for “crafty things,” such as pillows or bags.

Walker reduces campaign debt below $1 million

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has cut the campaign debt from his failed presidential bid to just under $1 million.

His latest campaign filing shows Walker owes just over $952,000. That is down about $141,000 from the previous month. His debt stood at $1.2 million at the end of 2015.

Walker ended his 71-day campaign for president in September, after spending $90,000 a day on the effort. He’s been slowly paying off his campaign debts since.

It’s widely believed that Walker was forced to withdraw from the race because he ran out of money. Critics, including Republicans, chastised Walker for his fiscal imprudence, but apologists blamed it on his advisers, particularly his campaign manager, Rick Wiley.

But Donald Trump hired Walker’s former campaign manager Rick Wiley to serve as his political director, suggesting that Trump’s people did not think Wiley was to blame.

Walker’s latest Federal Election Commission filing shows he raised about $128,000 in the last month, during which he ran a debt-retirement campaign that included giving away T-shirts in exchange for $45 donations.

Walker’s T-shirt offering said he unable to honor size and color requests because of a lack of resources. Walker suggested that the shirts could be framed or used for “crafty things,” such as pillows or bags, instead of being used as clothing.

The T-short offering was made in an email to donors saying, “If there is one thing the American people learned about me during our presidential campaign, it is that I am thrifty.” He cited his habit of using coupons and shopping at sales racks — a practice that he emphasized repeatedly during his campaign.

On the stump, he told a story about power shopping at Kohl’s so many times that it was ridiculed by Jimmy Fallon on ‘The Tonight Show.’

Scott Walker offers $45 T-shirts to pay off campaign debt

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is giving away T-shirts in exchange for $45 donations to help pay off the $1.2 million debt left over from his short-lived presidential campaign.

The Republican sent an email to donors Sunday saying, “If there is one thing the American people learned about me during our presidential campaign, it is that I am thrifty.” He cited his habit of using coupons and shopping at sales racks — a practice that he emphasized repeatedly during his campaign.

Walker told one story about the purchase of a sweater at Kohl’s so many times that it was ridiculed by Jimmy Fallon on ‘The Tonight Show.’

But Walker’s campaign failed because of his extravagant spending. He spent more than $90,000 a day during his 70-day presidential run. He was forced to withdraw from the race because he ran out of money.

Critics, including Republicans, chastised Walker for his fiscal imprudence, although apologists blamed it on his advisers.

Walker’s email offering said anyone who donates the $45 will receive a campaign T-shirt, but he’s unable to honor size and color requests because of a lack of resources.

Still, Walker suggested that the shirts could be framed or used for “crafty things,” such as pillows or bags, instead of being used as clothing.

In other Walker news, Donald Trump told USA Today that he would consider the governor as a possible running mate.

“I like Walker actually in a lot of ways,” Trump told the newspaper. “I hit him very hard. … But I’ve always liked him. There are people I like, but I don’t think they like me because I have hit them hard.”

During a rally in Janesville just two weeks ago, Trump blasted Walker’s poor handling of Wisconsin’s economy, which lags the rest of the region.

Walker said he was “shocked” by the article, but he declined to rule out the possibility of running as Trump’s vice president.

When Walker withdrew from the GOP presidential race last September, he urged other GOP candidates to follow suit in order to give the party a chance to coalesce around a suitable candidate other than Trump.

Walker endorsed Ted Cruz shortly before the Wisconsin presidential primary election. Cruz won that race.

AP writer Scott Bauer contributed to this article.

 

Scott Walker burned through $90,000 a day, left campaign $1M in debt

Gov. Scott Walker burned through $90,000 a day during his short-lived race for the presidency and left his campaign about $1 million in debt.

Walker raised about $7.4 million in his campaign during the third quarter of this year and spent about $6.4 million of it before dropping out 71 days after his campaign’s official launch, according to finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Reports filed by presidential candidates in mid-October cover July through September. Walker officially entered the race in mid-July, although he traveled the country extensively the first six months of the year, partly using Wisconsin taxpayers’ money. He dropped out of the race on Sept. 21. 

Walker reportedly left the race because fundraising couldn’t keep up with his massive campaign operation, which grew to around 90 staffers. He decided to drop out rather than take on debt or significantly scale back his operation when his polling numbers went into a steep decline in key early voting states and donors began to balk, according to The Associated Press.

Frenzied spending

The Wall Street Journal reported that Walker’s debt stretches to more than $1 million beyond his cash on hand when unpaid bills are included.

That debt is not surprising.

Walker paid his campaign manager Rick Wiley nearly $52,000 for three months of work, which equals about $208,000 a year. Campaign communications director Kirsten Kukowski was paid about the same amount.

Also on the payroll were Walker’s two sons, who were paid about $1,500 a month to campaign for their dad. The recently released FEC report shows Alex Walker was paid $4,819 between June 30 and September and Matt Walker was paid $4,824.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson told the AP that Matt and Alex had part-time jobs at campaign headquarters and returned to school when the fall semester began. Both sons were frequently by Walker’s side when he campaigned.

Walker has promised to pay back travel costs for the taxpayer-funded security detail that traveled with him as he campaigned. His administration said in mid-October that $67,000 in security costs remained unpaid.

In the wake of the Walker campaign’s crash, Wiley’s management has come under withering criticism from Republicans, particularly Walker loyalists. They contend that Wiley encouraged Walker to go too big too soon and failed to prepare him adequately for unscripted appearances.

Wiley’s alleged persona as an overgrown party boy — and not in the sense of political parties — didn’t sit well with the Christian extremists who were among Walker’s most ardent supporters.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda

Walker said recently he would not run for president again as a sitting governor, because it’s too difficult to do both. His second gubernatorial term runs through 2018.

With his presidential campaign behind him, Walker has not indicated whether he’ll seek a third term as governor. His current favorability ratings are under water: 57 percent of Wisconsin voters saying they disapprove of his job performance, while only 37 percent approve, according to a Marquette Law School poll released in September.

Many Walker loyalists contend that if not for his unbridled spending, Walker would have been able to remain in the race. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story the morning Walker quit the race insisting that his high favorability ratings outside of Wisconsin augured well for his campaign. Meanwhile, Walker’s fundraising was on par with other Republican contestants. Carly Fiorina reported raising $6.8 million during the third quarter. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio brought in $6 million. 

On the other hand, Ben Carson raised $20 million, Jeb Bush hauled in $13.4 million and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a longshot candidate, wrangled $12.2 million in donations.

On the Democratic side, where the presidential field is less crowded, Hillary Rodham Clinton raised $28 million and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders collected $26 million.

The FEC figures include only direct contributions to campaigns and not money raised by super PACs.  PACs support campaigns with TV commercials and other promotional media. According to federal law, they’re barred from coordinating their activities with campaigns, although the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on July 16 that such coordination is legal under Wisconsin law.