Monday, October 19, 2009

3rd Quarter FEC Report Round Up

Okay, here we go again. First off, you can browse these reports yourself at As always I apologize in advance for any errors or misinterpretations. I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant, just an interested observer and these thoughts should be taken as such.

This quarter covers July – Sept, 2009.

Keep your eye on individual donations vs. PAC’s

Most of the candidates leave their reports in alphabetical order. That makes it easy to see who donated what when. Others scramble their reports so the names are not in alphabetical order or the donations on chronological order and that makes it darn difficult to keep track of them. Transparency, folks, a little more transparency please. Yes, this thwarts your opponent but it thwarts your constituents too.

If there are two numbers one is for the quarter, the other for the election cycle to date.

Watch the itemized (over $250 donations), unitemized (smaller donations), and PAC ratios. Generally, you will find unitemized to be about 10% the amount of itemized and PAC’s either a half or quarter of that, at least for incumbents. In open races or in challenger’s reports, there are usually fewer PAC donations. They like to stick with people they are fairly certain are going to win.

6th Congressional District

This is now an open race with two announced Democratic candidates and three announced Republicans.

Doug Pike, Democrat

Itemized 108,242.22
Unitemized 13,112.80
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 121,355.02 / 263,530.63
PACS 5,000.00 / 16,500.00
The Candidate 110,501.99 / 621,779.13
Total Contributions 236,857.01 / 901,809.76
Other Receipts 1,118.23 / 1,118.23
Total Receipts 237,975.24 / 902,927.99
Operating Expenditures 122,179.57 / 157,246.37
Total Disbursements 122,179.57 / 157,246.37
Cash Summary.
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 629,885.95
Total Receipts 237,975.24
Total Disbursements 122,179.57
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 745,681.62

Looking at numbers of listed contributors, not amounts, more than half of Pike’s contributors are from out of state. His own contributions to the campaign are listed as in-kind contributions and not loans. The donations were primarily from the standard doctors, lawyers, corporate chiefs. Given Pike’s journalistic past it was surprising that only 3 writers, 1 publisher, and an editor were listed. There are 13 contributors who donated $2400 or more, meaning they have donated all they can for the primary and any new donations must be used for the general election. Of those two donated $4800, and therefore cannot donate any more to this candidate for the 2010 election. No real celebrity contributors, unless you could politicos Connie Williams and former Philadelphia mayor Bill Green, or well known economist Mark Zandi. In disbursements, Pike lists 4 paid staff people, and health insurance payments. He paid the Campaign Group $25K, $2K to a PA fundraiser, $3500 to a DC researcher, and $16K to a DC firm for web development, plus an additional $1800 for photography.

Manan Trivedi, Democrat

Itemized 111,092.86
Unitemized 0.00
Total of Contributions from Individuals 111,092.86
PACs 3,000.00
Total Contributions: 114,092.86
Loans Made or Guaranteed from Candidate: 13,202.28
Total Contributions: 127,295.14
Disbursements: 5,351.98
Total Disbursements: 5,351.98
Cash Summary.
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 0.00
Total Receipts 127,295.14
Total Disbursements 5,351.98
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 121,943.16

All of Trivedi’s online donations through ActBlue are reported, regardless of the size ($25.00, etc), which explains why no unitemized donations are listed. In this report, all donations are itemized. In the top part of the report – donations to the campaign via fundraisers, cash, checks, anything but ActBlue, all but a few are from in state, but Act Blue contributors (remember, there are a lot of $25.00 and $50.00 donations in here), 4 to 1 are from out of state – keep in mind, though that it is hard to count these correctly as every other line is the same ActBlue aggregate number. An NBC writer and two congressional staffers are the closest to notable names that I saw. As do most candidates Trivedi taps into his family and ethnic roots for campaign donations, which explains a noticeable number of what I recognized as Indian surnames. There were a lot of doctors and other medical occupations listed, though a large number of “information requested” notes in the occupation / employer fields might mask other industrial groupings. Three donors contributed $2400 or more, one giving $4800. On this report no paid staff are listed. The expenditures are all for things like ActBlue processing fees and stamps. There is something odd about the loans listed. The summary table says the candidate has loaned or guaranteed the loan of $13,202, but if you look at the loan information in depth, Trivedi is listed as only loaning the campaign over $6,000. I don’t know if the rest is a loan from someone else guaranteed by Trivedi or if someone accidentally doubled the loan amount. Either way it is odd.

Ryan Costello, Republican

Itemized 25,100
Unitemized 3,930
Total of Contributions from Individuals 29,030.00
PACs 1,000
The Candidate: 641.79
Total Contributions: 30,671.79
Operating Expenditures: 9,804.64
Other Disbursements: 400.00
Total Disbursements: 10,204.64
Cash Summary.
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 0.00
Total Receipts 30,671.79
Total Disbursements 10.204.64
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 20,492.15

Mr. Costello had 31 itemized donors, all but 2 are in Pennsylvania. Five donors contributed $2400. In expenditures, $5K went to a DC firm for his website, another $1500 to a PA firm for FEC conference expenses. A personal note, it is too early in the season and Costello does not have enough money to contribute to other campaigns; they seem to disagree.

Curt Schroder, Republican

Itemized 62,235.75
Unitemized 11,941.00
Total of Contributions from Individuals 74,176.75 / 93,916.86
Politcal Party Committees 0.00 / 400.00
PACs 13,674.99 / 13,199.99
Total Contributions: 87,851.74 / 108,516.85
Other Receipts: 69.56 / 83.86
Total Receipts: 87,921.30 / 108,600.71
Disbursements: 16,547.94 / 21,801.72
Total Disbursements: 16,547.94 / 21,801.72
Cash Summary.
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 15,425.63
Total Receipts 87,921.30
Total Disbursements 16,547.95
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 86,798.99

Schroder has a broad spectrum of donors, a bus company manager, engineer, car salesmen, ceo of the Green Energy Foundation, in enough number to stand out among the usual doctors, lawyers, and chiefs. There are five donations of $2400. Either as individuals or PACs he has donations from a number of state reps or senators (I counted 8 but some others are probably in there and I didn’t recognize the names). He has $2000 donations from 3 medical PACs, Highmark, Blue Cross and the PA Medical Society. Over half of his disbursements went to local Republican firm Hallowell, Branstetter, for consulting, printing, and website development, which they seem to have added to their stable of talents. All this points to Schroder being the establishment choice. No paid staff are listed. This was a very well done report, tidy and neat, easy to read. Note: The campaign did file a report in the last quarter but I missed it. My apologies to the candidate, no slight was intended.

Steve Welch, Republican

Itemized 46,150.00
Unitemized 4,080.00
Total of Contributions from Individuals 50,230.00
The Candidate: 8,913.32
Total Contributions: 59,143.32
Loans Made or Guaranteed from Candidate: 500,000
Total Contributions: 559,143.32
Disbursements: 47,878.98
Total Disbursements: 47,878.98
Cash Summary.
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 0.00
Total Receipts 559,143.22
Total Disbursements 47,878.98
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 511,264.34

This report just screams “wealthy guy wants to run for office, without real local support.” He might make it, stranger things have happened. Of Mr. Welch’s 39 itemized individual donors, 22 are from out of state, and 11 donated $2400 or more (one gave $4800, another $2500). As you might imagine, investment firms show up frequently in the occupation / employer field. There is not a lot of local strength or depth here, the $500,000 from the candidate notwithstanding. In disbursements, roughly $30K of the $48K in disbursements went to one person, Brendan Benner. Even so, Welch seems to be in for the long haul, prepaying 3 months rent on his office. He has two interns and paid a local law firm $5K for legal advice. Get out the popcorn – this will be an interesting show.

7th Congressional District

Bryan Lentz, Democrat

Itemized 172,860.00
Unitemized 14,460.00
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 187,320.00
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 33,100.00
Total Receipts 220,420.00
Operating Expenditures 2,374.06
Total Disbursements
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 0.00
Total Receipts This Period 220,420.00
Total Disbursements This Period 2,374.00
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 218,045.94

The earliest itemized donations were dated 8/17/09 so Lentz is late to the party but has raised an impressive amount of money. Twenty-three people gave the full $2400 for the primary, with most donating more; 14 people gave $4800 which means they cannot donate more to the campaign before the 2010 election. About 15% (rough estimate) of the itemized individual donors are from out of state, respectable for a candidate with national ambitions. The preponderance of donors are lawyers, with a smattering of other occupations thrown in. Among those are his colleagues in the state legislature. Either individually or through their PACs, 21 state legislators donated to his campaign, as did 3 unions, including the IBEW. Two congressional representatives, Allyson Schwartz and Patrick Murphy donated through their leadership PACs. Lentz’s disbursements are all for fundraising events, no rent or paid staff.

Pat Meehan, Republican

Itemized 203,202.07
Unitemized 847.00
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 204,049.07
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 7,500.00
Total Receipts 211,549.07
Disbursements 607.06
Operating Expenditures
Total Disbursements
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 0.00
Total Receipts This Period 211,549.07
Total Disbursements This Period 607.06
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 211,549.07

Wow! Meehan raised over 200K in a few weeks, as the earlier itemized contribution is dated 9/14/09. Of the approximately 81 individual donors, 38 donated $2400, and 23 of those donated $4800, and therefore cannot donate any more money before the 2010 election. Among the individual donors are a few names I have seen in the news for various reasons, Rocco Imperatrice and Vince Galko, State GOP chair Rob Gleason, Delaware County DA Michael Green. The majority of the donors were lawyers with a few lobbyists and a couple of artists thrown in. Two PACs donated a total of $7500. There are virtually no disbursements. My guess is that Mr. Meehan tapped into some personal networks.

8th Congressional District

There is a Republican challenger but he announced late enough that no FEC reports were filed.

Patrick Murphy, Incumbent Democrat (elected 2006)

Itemized 215,746.86
Unitemized 32,832.37
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 248,579.23 / 817,979.04
Political Party Committees 1,160.00 / 1,160.00
PACS 58,375.00 / 323,175.00
Total Contributions 308,114.23 / 1,142,314.04
Transfers from Other Authorized Committees 3,000.00 / 3,000.00
Offsets to Operating Expenditures (Refunds, Rebates, etc) 12,855.85 / 17,771.73
Other Receipts 1, 218.66 / 1,487.74
Total Receipts 325,188.74 / 1,164,573.51
Operating Expenditures 139,517.92 / 845,944.45
Refunds to Individuals: 1,600 / 1,800
Refunds to PACS 21.20 / 21.20
Total Refunds 1621.20 / 1821.20
Other Disbursements 22,902.36 / 42,952.36
Total Disbursements 164,041.48 / 890,718.01
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 459,760.77
Total Receipts This Period 325,188.74
Total Disbursements This Period 164,041.48
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 620,908.03

Roughly a third of Murphy’s individual donors are from out of state. In this report 32 donors gave $2400, 23 donors contributed beyond that, 8 giving $4800 which means they cannot donate any more money before the 2010 election. Some of these donations were in kind items for an auction at a fundraiser. There is an interesting cluster among the donors, a number of ceos and senior executives from a variety of companies, such a J Crew, and Aeropostal, balanced out by someone at Harley Davidson. The are an assortment of people from the arts – a couple of musicians, a writer from Larry David Productions, actress Felicity Huffman, and someone with what many would consider a dream job – “beer writer,” whatever that is. Throw in a midwife, a horse trainer, a veterinarian, some contractors, and the usual assortment of lawyers and doctors. In disbursements, there are 5 paid staff, payments for health insurance, and a note that he also pays for health insurance for staff of the Asplen for DA campaign. The largest payment is around $17K to Sutter’s Mill for fundraising. Liberty concepts received $2700 for his website (note: the “in the news” section showcases an article from a year ago). There are also amounts spent for fundraising events. The campaign also made donations to a number of charitable organizations The only remaining debt is one that has been lingering for some time, for a copier machine lease.

13th Congressional District

Allyson Schwartz, Incumbent District (elected 2004)

Itemized 111,611.82
Unitemized 13,219.78
Total Of Contributions From Individuals 124,831.60 / 695,262.08
Political Party Committees 9.15 / 86.89
Other Political Committees (such as PACS) 106,350.00 / 389,223.26
Total Contributions 231,190.75 / 1,084,572.23
Offsets to Operating Expenditures (Refunds, Rebates, etc) 4723.75 / 5450.09
Other Receipts 6,563.95 / 29,651.77
Total Receipts 242,478.45 / 1,119,674.09
Operating Expenditures 68,153.02 / 310,199.93
Refunds to Individuals/Persons 0.00 / 1,175.00
Other Political Committees (such as PACs) 0.00 / 1,000.00
Total Contribution Refunds 0.00 / 2,175.00
Other Disbursements 110,985.00 / 231,940.00
Total Disbursements 179,138.02 / 544,314.93
Cash Summary
Cash On Hand At Beginning Of Reporting Period 2,531,511.83
Total Receipts This Period 242,478.45
Total Disbursements This Period 179,138.02
Cash On Hand At Close Of The Reporting Period 2,594,852.26

For some reason the Schwartz campaign scrambled their report this time so it is very difficult to track the items tracked in other report summaries. I counted close to 20 donors who gave $2400 or more but there are some duplicate counts in there. I can’t make any guestimate on how many donors are from out of state. No celebrity names that I recognized. Some interesting occupational clusters – several educational administrators, such a college deans. There were also more than usual notes for “information requested” in the occupation / employer fields. The report was different enough that I checked to see if the campaign had changed treasurers. It hasn’t. Other occupations listed are four lobbyists, an architect, some social workers, in with the usual doctors, lawyers, corporate chiefs. The PAC donations showed nine life insurance firms or associations. That’s quite a few. Under disbursements there are 2 paid staff. A DC fundraiser, Erickson & co, received a total of around $10K, 10K to the DCCC, 5K to the Montco Dems, One debt, to a credit card, was listed.

Damian Dachowski, Republican challenger

To make things simpler, let me just list his numbers. The campaign raised a little over $17,000, about $3,000 in cash or in kind form the candidate and the rest raised from 5 donors. The campaign spent a little over $3,000, leaving $23,000 cash on hand.

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