Badnarik Keeps Raising, Spending Money

There’s a new FEC report out on the Badnarik for Congress campaign…

As of March 5th they’d raised $136,763 and spent $132,852 of that, leaving them with $3,912 in cash on hand and another $5,011 listed as debt.

Additionally it appears that they have a goal of raising another $100,000+ before March 25th, that’s according to this comment on the campaign’s official blog:

I’ve been very busy with fundraising letters and phone calls in an effort to meet our quarter-million dollar goal by the March 25th nominating convention.

EDIT: Since a few people in the comments section raised the question of what items were actually purchased during this last reporting period, I decided to look over the PDF and see what I could pull from it.

The campaign spends about $2,400 a month on renting an office and quite a bit on consulting and staff. Those seem to be the main expenses… lots and lots of consulting.

There were several hundred dollars worth of car rental charges, several hundred dollars worth of meals at local restaurants, and some other office-related expenses like phone phone and internet access.

They also appear to have ordered 100 T-shirts and purchased an ad in at least one local newspaper. Also an ad in LP News.

Quite a bit of travel for Badnarik and his staff, most of it to and from locations outside his district… Las Vegas, Phoenix, and California. About $1,100 or so went to Royal Caribbean International, presumably for Badnarik to attend the California State LP Convention which was held on a cruise ship.

Amusingly, the candidate himself seems to have paid $4.95 on February 25th for the cost of 2 ginger ales from Royal Caribbean. The item is recorded as “Campaign Event: 2 Ginger Ale—Michael”.

The folks working on this campaign seem to be expensing quite a few meals out at restaurants. Outback Steakhouse, Luby’s, Marie Callendar’s, and on and on. There must be a couple dozen meals on here. Since last July they’ve spent more eating out at restaurants than most any other Libertarian Congressional campaign will raise or spend at all this year.

Other items include a little less than $1,000 for an Acer notebook computer and $415 for a fridge for the office.

All in all, it looks like pretty normal spending for a major party candidate in a race he’s expected to win. However, I’m not really sure if this campaign qualifies as being in that situation.

30 Responses to “Badnarik Keeps Raising, Spending Money”

  1. Kyle B Says:

    this campaign spends money like it is burning a hole in their pockets

  2. Austin Cassidy Says:

    That does seem to be the case. It’s hard to really know from the “outside” - but you’d think they would be trying to establish some type of warchest.

    It will be interesting to see how things turn out… if December rolls around the the autopsy on the campaign suggests they raised $1 million and spent 90% on things other than advertising and direct voter outreach, that could be an issue for any 2008 Presidential campaign.

  3. Mike N. Says:

    I guess this is their “secret plan”.

  4. Stuart Richards Says:

    Well, what are they spending money on?

  5. LucyPho Says:

    I’ve helped some with the campaign and I can tell you they spend it on fairly frivolous things as far as I could tell. Example- at one campaign event they rented a bunch of folding chairs- 75-100 or so- they were crappy and came to them dirty- and someone mentioned the price they paid, and I think I might have even said out loud- “you paid that much to rent dirty, crappy folding chairs?” The most unfortunate part of the whole thing being that they used about 10 of the folding chairs for people who actually attended the event.
    So yes, they’ve been blowing money on non-direct things such as this a far as I can tell. Its unfortunate. They could really make a good race out of this, but we’ll see. Maybe they’ll suprise us. I’d reccomend them using more money on newspaper advertising and maybe some direct mail.

  6. Mike N. Says:

    Yes, marketing is the key. You have to get people to put in those dirty chairs before you get the chairs….

  7. Mike N. Says:

    Not only is Allen Hacker an asshole, but he doesn’t appear to have a clue how to run a campaign. The “secret” is out.

  8. undercover_ararchist Says:


    Good work, Austin.

  9. Jackcjackson Says:

    “I guess this is their “secret plan”.”

    Mike, you beat me to it. Seems to me the plan is to spend like Rs and Ds but still pull votes like Ls

  10. jchristophm Says:

    I always assumed their “secret plan” was to raise a LOT of money ($1 million), hold on to most of it, lay low, and BAM! smack the electorate with thousands of yard signs, radio ads, and television ads in the last month or so of the campaign. A surprise to McCaul, which is why they wanted to keep it “secret”.

    But $150,000 spent ALREADY! I can almost guarantee you that this campaign will raise a total of $250,000 for the entire race, which is a great amount for a Libertarian, and quite possibly enough to win. But they will spend $260,000 before July. :(

  11. esso Says:

    Seems odd that a party which espouses a conservative fiscal policy would have such talent at burning through money in a short period of time. Well…not really THAT odd…

  12. undercover_ararchist Says:

    Austin: You should be prepared to be named an enemy of the Badnarik campaign.

    I can’t believe I almost voted for this guy in ‘04.

  13. jchristophm Says:

    I think Mr. Badnarik is a good, principled man. I disagree with some of his views, but he is passionate, articulate, and honest. And he has done a lot more for liberty than anyone else I know.

    I have less respect for his “consultants.” It is his management that I question. I hope I’m wrong. I hope their high level of spending has been to lay a foundation, and that after the primary the campaign spending will lead to tangible results (and not tangible as in desks and refrigerators.)

    I hope this campaign has studied the backlash that resulted from the Browne 2000 presidential campaign. Libertarians like to see TV ads and radio ads for their money, not consulting fees.

    Libertarians are not part of a major party, and therefore have to campaign differently. Reps and Dems can spend thousands a month for consultants. Libs cannot.

  14. jchristophm Says:

    I’m not looking foward to the calls and letters I’m sure to get from the campaign at the end of the summer begging for donations so they can run ads that will “win this race”.

    My response: What happened to the quarter million you already raised? And why should I or anyone else shell out more to feed Allen Hacker? (His ego, his stomach and his wallet.)

  15. Stuart Richards Says:

    Yeah… this is bullshit. Why are we pouring money into this crap? Run a fucking campaign or find someone who will!

  16. Hammer of Truth » Badnarik’s wasting libertarian money Says:

    [...] Austin Cassidy over at Third Party Watch did a little investigative reporting on the Badnarik campaign. First, he took notice of something rather encouraging for a libertarian campaign: he raised buckets of money. $125,000. Going on that alone, there is absolutely no reason that Badnarik’s campaign isn’t a winnable one. [...]

  17. James Babb Says:

    “The campaign spends about $2,400 a month on renting an office and quite a bit on consulting and staff. Those seem to be the main expenses”

    So what’s the problem? These are the kinds of things I expect a campaign to spend money on. I’ve seen how frugally Michael Badnarik lives on the campaign trail. Anybody who accuses him of living extravagantly on campaign donations is delusional.

    Of course he’s fundraising outside of his district. He’s leveraging is national celebrity status to raise money. Duh!

    I consider my Badnarik campaign donations well invested.

  18. Trevor Southerland Says:

    Same thing I said at HoT:

    A Libertarian running a professional campaign? Oh, God no, please no!

  19. Chris Says:

    Just because the campaign is spending money faster and in larger quantities than any previous LP congressional campaign doesn’t necessarily make it “professional”.

    Show me the media coverage all of this spending has generated? How many volunteers have been brought aboard? How has this spending affected Badnarik’s poll numbers? How many people are attending these “events”? How many requests for literature etc. has all of this spending generated?

    Show me RESULTS. The CEO of Coca-Cola can talk all day long about how many “professionals” he has working for him, but I’m only buying the stock if the company is selling product.

  20. Vincent Bonham-Carter Says:

    I can’t say that I like the idea of them using campaign money to buy a fridge. Seems to me that Badnarik could have rented a fridge with his own money, but I don’t know. I think Badnarik is the only Lib with a chance of winning, so I’m still going to be sending a check. Although, I belive its Texas (or possibly Cali) has a Lib running for just about every Congressional position. That’s a huge step for us. If we had a Lib running for every position in every state we’d be a lot better off. My state, Massachusetts, doesn’t have a single Lib running. We’ve got to change that if we’re going to win. 2006 is the best shot we’ve had. The public is pissed at both parties, if we miss our opportunity, its only our own falt.

  21. Austin Cassidy’s Third Party Watch » Blog Archive » The Badnarik Campaign: Check Please! Says:

    [...] As I mentioned earlier today, the new FEC report is out for the Badnarik campaign from January 1st to March 5th. As I pointed out in my previous post on this topic, they raised more than $50,000 during that period and seem to have spent every bit of it. Most of the expenses are on consulting fees, paid staff, and office-related items. There is some advertising, but it’s pretty minimal. [...]

  22. Says:

    What Is He Supposed To Do Then?

    Third Party Watch (warning: annoying popups) and Hammer of Truth is trying to make a big deal of Michael Badnarik’s campaign spending $2400/month on an office and staff. What’s he supposed to be doing, working out of his living room…

  23. Hammer of Truth » Defending Badnarik/Hacker and Cassidy/Richards at the same time Says:

    [...] Third Party Watch’s Austin Cassidy and HoT’s Stuart Richards have taken the Badnarik for Congress campaign to task for their campaign spending practices. The key complaints seem to revolve around office and staff expenditures. [...]

  24. Mike Grimes Says:

    You’d be suprised how easy it is for a campaign to spend money. Of course if you make every major spending event into a fundraising event it can work out for you.

  25. Liberty for Sale » Blog Archive » The Badnarik Campaign Finance Controversy Says:

    [...] Here’s a topic Tim certainly would have covered if he was here. It started with some commentary by Austin Cassidy at ThirdPartyWatch. Here’s a sample: The campaign spends about $2,400 a month on renting an office and quite a bit on consulting and staff. Those seem to be the main expenses… lots and lots of consulting. [...]

  26. Allen Hacker Says:

    Here’s to believing everything you read:

    LucyPho (comment #5 above) doesn’t exist.


  27. Angela Keaton Says:

    In 2004 when Badnarik ran his presidential campaign out of a KIA with pocket change, he was castigated for being unprofessional. Today, Badnarik runs a congressional campaign with a clean office and an attractive well behaved staff so he is….what…castigated. What exactly does everyone want?

  28. K Tunstall Says:

    Amazing. I realize the LP is the largest party with the smallest number of “politicians” per capita, and these comments demonstate that fact. How many of our candidates utilize actual GOTV software? Hmmmm….How much do you suppose that costs?

    Knowing the demography of the 10th, TV advertising will not make much difference. Radio, perhaps? 34% of the 10th used to be in the 14th (Ron Paul) prior to DeLay’s redistricting.

    This race is about name recognition. He who has the most and best will win.

  29. Austin Cassidy Says:

    So what you’re saying is that the key to winning is building positive name recongition through the use of radio advertising, billboards, yard signs, direct mail, and possibly some TV… correct? How much do estimate that would cost?

  30. K Tunstall Says:

    I am saying that name recognition will be key. You achieve that recognition by meeting the people in your district. You meet people in your district by targeting those that you feel will vote for you (be excluding Republicrat partisans). You achieve this by utilizing GOTV software. This takes a VERY large amount of money.

    I know what package the Badnarik campaign is using and I know how much it cost. Perhaps, considering that the LP has the largest per capita number of programmers, some of our members will get off their butts and make us some good software. Alas, I doubt that.

    Therefore, we must continue to spend money to manage voters and manage campaigns.

    I would recommend you look at the district again. Badnarik is well known in Austin. Much better than McCaul. Houston is iffy. Between the two, who knows? One thing is for sure. The Republicans are nervous.

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