The Badnarik Campaign: Check Please!

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.

As of the date of the FEC filing, the campaign had less than $4,000 in the bank and owed more than $5,000 for a variety of items.

One of the things I mentioned was that the paid staff seems to eat out a lot and then expense those meals to the campaign. People have been a little critical of me mentioning this, claiming that these expenses are probably taking out donors or something of the sort. So, I went through the 89 page FEC report by hand and added up only the expenses at restaurants. The meals were almost entirely for the same half-dozen people… the candidate and his chief staffers.

My opinion is that it is kind of excessive, but only a very tiny part of the problem. If the campaign was saving up a warchest of some sort then you could excuse a little extra frivolous spending, but there are no signs that this has started. The Republican Congressman that Badnarik is challenging has access to virtually unlimited campaign resources. If there was to be any hope of a victory in this race, the campaign would need to make use of every single dollar it can get to raise Mr. Badnarik’s profile in his district. Having an office and fancy telephone system is all great… but it doesn’t translate into votes like radio and television advertisements.

This free media that will supposedly flood to Badnarik because of his fundraising totals is being diminished by the fact that the campaign has essentially no cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

What about polling? Why not commission a poll that shows Badnarik ahead of the Democrat? That would certainly earn the campaign some free media.

Anyway, for those who care… here’s an itemized list of the meals, dates, costs, and people who attended each one. In the 64 days that this latest report covers, a total of 41 meals are expensed to the campaign. The total cost, if my addition is correct, came to $1,736.33.

Outback Steakhouse (1/1/06) — $39.16 — Allen and Rob

Cafe 290 (1/2/06) — $32.79 —Allen and Rob

Chili’s (1/2/06) — $24.31 — Allen, Michael, and Rob

Owen’s (1/2/06) — $57.70 — Allen, Rob, Jon, Michael

Burger Tex (1/3/06) — $35.17 —Full Staff

Owen’s (1/3/06) — $48.65 — Full staff

cafe 290 (1/6/06) — $28.00 — Rob, Michael, and Susan

Owen’s (1/7/06) — $27.09 — Rob, Michael, and Susan

Marie Calendar’s (1/12/06) — $27.24 — Allen and Michael

Owen’s (1/12/06) — $18.32 — Rob, Michael, and Susan

Cafe 290 (1/13/06) — $51.87 —Administrative/Salary/Overhead

Owen’s (1/14/06) — $45.66 — Michael, Lynn, Allen, Rob, and Susan

Luby’s (1/16/06) — $19.25 — Michael and Allen

Owen’s (1/16/06) — $22.56 — Allen, Rob, and Susan

Owen’s (1/17/06) — $20.44 — Allen, Rob, and Jon

Chili’s (1/19/06) — $56.69 — Allen, Michael, Jon, Susan, and Rob

Owen’s (1/19/06) — $16.51 — Allen and Rob

Burger Tex (1/20/06) — $23.60 — Jon, Allen, and Michael

Owen’s (1/20/06) — $47.62 —Michael, Allen, Jon, Susan, and Rob

Owen’s (1/20/06) — $23.86 — Allen, Susan, and Rob

Luby’s (1/23/06) — $34.80 — Allen, Jon, Susan, and Rob

China Star (1/24/06) — $54.37 — Michael, Allen, Jon, Rob, and Susan

Owen’s (1/24/06) — $40.97 — Allen, Michael, Jon, Emily

Bennigan’s (1/26/06) — $44.50—Allen, Terry, Rob, Susan, and Emily

Cafe 290 (1/26/06) — $30.41 — Michael, Rob, and Susan

Bennigan’s (2/4/06) — $32.63 — Michael, Rob, and Susan

Cafe 290 (2/5/06) — $39.86 —Michael, Rob, and Susan

Chili’s (2/7/06)—$65.00 — Full Staff

Cafe 290 (2/8/06) — $31.65 — Michael, Allen, and Martin

Bennigan’s (2/10/06) — $52.83 — Michael, Emily, Allen, Rob, and Susan

Outback Steakhouse (2/10/06) — $112.60 — Michael, Jon, Susan, Allen, etc.

Marie Callendar’s (2/15/06) — $68.96 — Michael, Allen, Jon, and Emily

Marie Callendar’s (2/16/06) — $113.41 — Michael, Allen, Larry, Don, Vi

Luby’s (2/17/06) — $43.87 — Michael, Allen, Jon, and Emily

Outback Steakhouse (2/18/06) — $80.63 — Allen, Rich, Rob, and Susan

China Star (2/19/06) — $35.00 — Rob, Allen, and Susan

Luby’s (2/20/06) — $38.57 — Joe, Allen, Rob, and Susan

Bennigan’s (2/28/06) — $50.00 — Jon, Susan, Rob, and Michael

Chili’s (2/28/06) — $42.63 — Michael, Jon, Rob, and Emily

Marie Calendar’s (3/02/06) — $32.64 — Michael, Rob, and Susan

Cafe 290 (3/5/06) — $24.51 — Susan, Michael, and Rob

(NOTE: I copied all of this by hand from a very long PDF document on the FEC’s website… it’s possible there are small errors and if you notice any, please let me know.)

26 Responses to “The Badnarik Campaign: Check Please!”

  1. George Phillies Says:

    First,, note that if you use download rather than view you can get the spending in a format that ms-excell (and, I suspect, other formats) can use.

    Second, note that Badnarik’s campaigns have a history of spending very impressive amounts on salaries for some staffers. However, the Presidential campaign did spend on advertising. Search through his Presidential campaign reports for what he paid his Texas book-keeper and his Michigan campaign managers.

    Let Freedom Ring! next issue http://www.cmlc.org will have more complete coverage of this for the next issue, to be mailed in April.

  2. George Phillies Says:

    $2400 a month for office rental is also pretty impressive.

  3. Chris Moore Says:

    Austin, it seems you’ve gotten Allen Hacker all worked up:

    http://badnarik.org/supporters/blog/2006/03/16/snipers-shooting-in-the-dark/

    How dare you post public FEC reports that show the Badnarik campaign blowing through money. Don’t you know that it might hurt their ability to raise more if everyone knew how they spent it?! :)

    I’m not that concerned with the food. If they’re working hard then let them eat. But that much for “consultants” is ridiculous. We’ll see if Allen was worth it.

  4. George Phillies Says:

    See also posts at hammeroftruth.com
    The restaurants are almost all local to the campaign headquarters.
    Mapquest+FEC reports show this.

  5. Allen Hacker Says:

    Hi Austin,

    Just for the record, I have no problem with you analyzing our reports, or raisning questions. It’s what other people do with your work that bugs me.

    I suppose I could just pay everybody what they’re worth and let them buy their own food. Of course, that would require sending them home at a decent hour so they can shop and cook. Call me crazy (no, leave that Mike Nelson), but I’d rather have them working.

    As for the “consultants”, nobody here is getting paid close to a living wage. As you see, I’ve been paid some $25K over the past 5 months. I know that many libertarians think we should be slaves to our politics, but I am trying to juggle two households to do this job. My California expenses didn’t just stop when I shifted to Austin 3-4 weeks a month in August.

    Just imagine the howling had I put myself and my staff up permanently in residence hotels? (Three of them moved here from elsewhere to help get Michael elected, two of those from out of state!) I didn’t: we share a house that’s paid for out of my payments—Michael pays room rent because it would be illegal for him to live off the campaign. We share bathrooms and laundry facilities and a living room, but that that doesn’t really matter because we’re never home. We share two cars between four positions.

    In 2004 I stalled my business to be CA Coordinator for Michael, and it cost me over $130,000.00. This year, I delayed opening a new business that will earn over a million a year if I ever get to it, to come to Texas and do what no one else will or seems able to do.

    If it were legal, it would make far more sense for me to just work and earn what I am normally able to do, and pay somebody else top dollar to do it. But I am subject to the same contribution limits as everyone else, EXCEPT when I’m working for a fee and there’s no past-track basis for determining how much that should be. Or even as a volunteer, since I’m not really making any money here I’m just juggling expenses.

    I’m not complaining. It’s all part of the job. Getting potshotted by children is part of playing on the swingset when they think it’s their park and they expect to make silly rules.

    I don’t expect anyone to simply agree with me that we could win, but I certainly would appreciate it if they’d just stay out of the way and find out.

    As for Michael as a candidate, well…. If you haven’t seen him in action lately, you haven’t seen him. I invite you to join us at Marie Callendar’s on 183 at Mopac Wednesday evening at 7PM (check our calendar if you need the address). You’ll see us doing the part that doesn’t show up on the FEC reports: touching the voters, lighting the fires of Liberty, dozens of hearts at a time.

    Then you can balance the accounting facts with the human side of the campaign. The part that people have been happy to pay for so far.

    Of course, none of this is going to make the people who expect us to publish our polls, and we don’t. Come to Marie Callendars and discover why we won’t. I’ll tell you personally.

    What say you? (RSVP to allen AT badnarik.org)

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  6. Allen Hacker Says:

    :-)

    Of course, none of this is going to make happy the people who expect us to publish our polls, when we don’t.

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  7. Chris Moore Says:

    Allen, I really do appreciate the sacrafices you and the rest of the B4C staff have made. And I truly want you to succeed.

    I would LOVE to send a big fat check, but until the campaign produces real results (antecdotes are NOT results) I cannot.

    And this recent flurry of blogsphere activity on the subject shows that my concerns are shared by others. We’ve all been fed pie in the sky for 35 years, so I hope you can understand our reluctance.

  8. Allen Hacker Says:

    Chris,

    Of course I understand.

    You too need to understand. I can wait for your contribution. I can’t give away the store. This race is winnable, but not by Pollyana.

    If you can’t commit an act of faith, I can live with that.

    If you need poll results, you’ll have to pay for them yourself, because until I see a strategic need I’m not giving anything up. Not even whether or not we’ve already done polls.

    This very conversation has been part of every presidential campaign since the beginning—every time a libertarian candidate has taken a serious run at anything. All the wait and see is what’s killing us.

    What would it be like if everyone just went for it all at once? We could be lemmings running off the cliff, but would discovering that really kill us? We’ll never know unless we try. Maybe it would just wake usup. Maybe it would work. Can’t know, never really tried.

    Are we dogs, created to lap at the hands of Master? Are we cats, destined to define out existences by fear? Or are we men and women, created by whatever the hell had this idea in the first place, able to choose our destinies and take dominion over our own lives?

    Instead of taking the chance, instead of risking discovery and the terrible responsibility of actually winning and having to perform, we dissipate ourselves while the world gets progressively worse.

    I was a Nevada Founder. I haven’t heard anything new since I won the televised US Senate dabates in Nevada in 1980. That and $970.00 got me 3300 votes (small state!). Why didn’t I do better? Why didn’t I spend more money? Why didn’t I have any help?

    I had a full-time job running a casino; I couldn’t take the time off to do much of anything, I had to trade days off to get to the debates. My so-called fellow libertarians were all doing their own races or telling everyone else what to do and how but not doing anything themselves. Not even contributing money, the easiest way to help.

    Since then the libertarian world has been one of private mandates and bickering and refusing to make money to avoid paying taxes, all to the end that we have limited resources, are rife with hurt feelings, and expect applause just for showing up.

    And while the Nevada activists have just as much fire in their bellies as any have ever, there aren’t any more of them now than there were in 1980. Fewer, in fact, per capita. Same as everywhere else, and there’s nothing other than our whacky sub-culture to blame.

    There’s nothing new under the libertarian sun, and never will be until someone breaks tradition and just does it.

    That’s Michael Badnarik, that’s Jon Airhart, that’s me and Rob and Susan and Emily. If it’s not you, that’s okay, it’s your choice.

    Just don’t try to fit me into anybody else’s mold. I don’t fit. I don’t care to fit. I am just not willing to be a broke martyr. I’m too old, and too used to going out and tearing out a chunk of money whenever I needed it from the limitless supply that runs through the economy every day in this country.

    I seriously have to work at it to remember what it was like to be like you guys. Trillions of dollars out there whizzing around looking for places to work, and you just don’t see them. While you’re looking for how to buy whatever you can get with the money you’ve got, I’m looking for ways to get the money it will take to do what I want.

    And all I want is for my grandchildren to be free. I’m too old to worry about myself.

    This takes money, and work. We’re working. If you really want to be free, you need to give up the money or come here and do some of the work. Otherwise, you’re just not playing. If we all do it your way, we’ll have waited ultil we’ve seen that all the money we can scrimp and keep won’t save us. It’s already more or less too late, but you don’t dare believe that, because you’d realize that you have no choice but to chuck it all and stick your entire arm in the dike.

    You have no idea how mich freedom has been lost since ten years before you were born. Whenever that was.

    Get votes this year, make a difference now, build fast and furously on it next year, or learn geurilla warfare later. It’s your choice.

    Bake the pie or go without, it’s that simple.

    This isn’t about you or me or even Michael. This is about the future of liberty for the next ten thousand years.

    Understand?

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  9. Chris Moore Says:

    Allen, get some sleep buddy. :)

    In the next week I’ll be sending the campaign $100 on faith. In the next few months give me a reason to send more.

  10. Allen Hacker Says:

    Cris,

    You got it, my friend.

    Nappytime now.

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  11. undercover_ararchist Says:

    Hey Hacker, are you getting paid to post whiny little messages on blogs? How is this contributing to your campaign’s success? If Badnarik were worth giving a dime to, he would have fired your dumb ass a long time ago. The fact that you were ever allowed in on the campaign shows Badnarik’s lack of professionalism, refinement and political savvy. The campaign is going to fall flat on its face and you will undoubtedly be a major part of that. That’s not what makes me so upset. The real issue is that all of the donors who COULD be making this campaign a relative success are going to be so discouraged by the sub-5% total Badnarik gets that it will make it harder for the next guy to do well. Luckily, after the collosal failure that will be this race, Badnarik will have no chance of stealing the LP presidential nomination, and with any luck, you will be relegated to political pergatory.

    Get a life.

  12. Allen Hacker Says:

    Hi there, undercover_ararchist!

    What’s an anarchist doing in a ploitical party?

    Do you have credentials behind all that psychic prognosticating?

    But seriously, on what basis do you say all these things? Do you not understand the differences between suspicion, opinion, and reality?

    This is where I get to decide not to respond in kind, because too many of our friends went to public schools and got brainwashed into thinking that it’s okay for you to talk trash to me in any rude manner you choose, but not for me to respond in kind. You’re banking on that, aren’t you, that you can bait me out with some one-way pretense of freedom of speech, and then make me out to be the bad guy for not aspiring to some hidden standard you’ll trot out later?

    Okay, you’ve said your piece. Time will tell: who will prove to be the bad guy? Me right out here in front, or you, hiding back there in the dark behind an egotistical pseudonym?

    Everyone, I’ve got work to do that includes more than debunking eroneous accusations (which Yes, I get paid to do because it must be done, lest yapping hounds take silence to be assent and invent a basis out of that for emboldemnet).

    After I get my other stuff done, I’ll post a summary on my own blog at allenhacker.blogspot.com.

    Later.

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  13. KLJensen Says:

    I see that the meal total posted above was $1,736.33. To date I have contributed $1700 to this campaign. I will contribute another $36.33 this weekend, and accept that my entire donation was sufficient to pay for those meals. That should end any discussion about ‘those’ meals !

    I donated freely as an individual … voluntarily donating money to the campaign, not being compelled to provide the money. I trust Michael Badnarik to employ the staff he decides fit to run his campaign. I met him once in Florida and he earned my trust.

    Now please excuse me … I’m going to Outback to have one of those great steaks !!

  14. undercover_ararchist Says:

    What’s an anarchist doing in a “ploitical” party?

    a) Being undercover
    b) Correcting your spelling
    c) Wasting your time by bringing out the douchebag in you and dragging you into the mud with me
    d) All of the above

    I went to a public school, and that’s what we called a “mlutiple” choice quiz. I’m glad you have other work to do. Or by work, do you mean that Badnarik is taking everyone to a Tiajuana whorehouse on the campaign dime?

  15. Bruce Cohen Says:

    In reading the restaurant reports, I see the folks at the office are paying for a hell of a lot of their own meals out, too. I know.. When I was there, they bought me breakfast and dinner out of their own pockets.

    Give, Volunteer or get the heck out of the way!

  16. dpagan Says:

    The naysayers are just trying to destroy a credible campaign. Badnarik is the best chance for liberty and ALL libertarians need to get behind him. I’m sending more money to the campaign and I know this money like previous contributions will be a fantastic investment towards the cause of liberty.

  17. D Walter Says:

    I spoke to Mr. Badnarik by phone shortly after he announced his run for the Pres nomination. I remember the conversation well. He had few or no good words to say about the Browne campaign—and it was all about staff salaries and expenses for which Browne staffers were reimbursed.

    His statements cost him my vote at the national convention.

    Maybe now that the same sort of accusations by do-nothings are reaching his mailbox, perhaps Mr. Badnarik and his friends have a greater appreciation for the sacrifices and work done by the Browne staff.

    The truth is that at our current funding level, most of our campaign revenues are going to go towards things that seem “less than productive”. The way to get beyond that is to recruit a larger donor pool, which is what Willis and company tried to do for several years.

    I note with interest that now that the tight focus on building the donor base has been abandoned, contribution levels for our candidates as a whole are declining—and that’s true even as the number of candidates has declined drastically. Badnarik has been an exception—mostly due to the “cachet” he won by being our presidential candidate.

    In any case, the LP has “reformed” its way into organizational hell.

    These gutter-feeders who take issue with an expense report without ever doing a couple of weeks’ worth of work at the campaign HQ are now the rule, rather than the exception, in the LP.

    Fortunately, the D’s and R’s have the same problem, except they started with a lot more money with which to gloss over the phenomenon.

    Welcome to the future, Mr. Badnarik.

  18. Trevor Southerland Says:

    Everyone needs to go read what Steve Gordon wrote on Hammer of Truth.

  19. Michael J. Kresse Says:

    hey- atleast Hacker has come on and explained to us about the situation. Now that he knows our concerns, he can make some changes.

  20. Kris Overstreet Says:

    I’m surprised that anyone working for Badnarik would complain about anarchists in the Libertarian Party.

    I’m irritated that anyone would complain that the rough equivalent of $60,000 per year is not a working wage, when the median national average income is well below $50,000 per year.

    And I’m quite frankly offended that someone can, in the one breath, proclaim how much money they are donating to the cause through lost revenue, demonstrating their commitment, and in the other breath claim that the cause owes them at least one dinner in a mid-to-high level restaurant as a perquisite.

    As a defense of the Badnarik campaign’s actions, this really doesn’t impress me- especially when I consider that for the amount you’ve been paid I could buy radio advertising three times a day on two stations for every day from now to election day for my own campaign.

  21. Mike Grimes Says:

    If you havea full staff $2400 for an office doesn’t seem that redicules

  22. Jay Edgar Says:

    Mr. Hacker,

    I’ll send in a donation at the end of the month (thats when I get paid).

    Listen to the criticism about using the money wisely. It sounds like good advice to me.

    I wouldn’t listen to anyone who isn’t brave enough to use their own name. ua’s whining has no substance to it.

  23. Allen Hacker Says:

    Hi Guys,

    It’s obvious that once the hounds are out, the fox has no chance with them. Cool: makes it all the more interesting. I don’t have to just beat McCaul, I have to also beat some of our own. Good thing I love a challenge!

    As for anarchists in the party, you have to admit, that’s an oxymoron at the least. But look more closely and you’ll see that a lot of them are so intent on preventing any authority that they misidentify party structure and leadership for the bad guys.

    That’s not just anarchy as the kind of guy who simply wants to live free, that’s the kind of anarchy the public fears. That is, in fact, how much of the public perceives us, because that’s the biggest noise they hear from “libertarians”. Much talk about tearing down structure, little to no talk about building something better in its place, beyond vague promises that the free market will take care of it. Perhaps, that’s because there’s an objection to building anything.

    There’s a self-destructive element in very religion, and ours (Libertarianism) is the worship of Lord Acton Revised: Power Corrupts!

    That’s not what he said, but that’s what too many of us say, and believe. Over the 30-some years of the party’s existence I’ve heard hundreds of activists say it, sometimes in the most blatantly self-sabotoging of ways, such as “I really don’t trust myself to get elected and have to deal with power!” This guy rides a beat-up old motorcycle and lives in a broken-down RV in someone’s back yard, but puts in hundreds of volunteer hours every year. Too bad they’re all devoted to fear-mongering and obstructionism disguised as making sure we don’t get ourselves into trouble, or shot, or located by the taxman.

    Sure, it’s his choice to live that way, but not mine. And you can’t talk to him about the insidious effect his type of activism has on the work. He just won’t listen.

    Steve G. points out that I’m the eternal optimist. That’s true, and there’s nothing wrong with having friends who remind me where the ground is. But without dreamers there’s only nightmare… er, I mean… reality.

    As for a final couple of rebuttals (I hope). The median income number is irrelevant outside of Medianville, DoesntExistLand. Some places, average income is much less, others, much more. But working with that might be a strain for some people who find simplistic government-think easier, in believing that there’s an average person, an average life, and an average income that spends the same for everyone everywhere. I’d suggest the novel idea that some people need to consider that this is the thinking that makes it impossible for congress to be effective, even if we wanted them to be.

    Or at least to recognize that my $1475 extravagance for 4 people in Manor Texas would be a $4500-month bankruptcy palace back home.

    UA, it’s not you correcting my typing. It’s you not knowing I’m dyslexic and disinclined to spend too much time reviewing my typing on your behalf. You’re more than welcome to dissipate yourself further by taking that up as a hobby.

    Sarcasm. Yup, I have some. And I’m going to insist on the same privilege as is accorded to the accusers: take me as I am and judge my results, but do NOT try to tell me how to live my life or speak my mind. You wouldn’t want everyone to see that poorly-concealed streak of social fascism running down your back, would you?

    Remeber, freedom is never telling anybody what to do.

    After all, I’d be an anarchist too, if I thought peopl were ready for it. By the looks of things on some of our blgs, I’m right that they’re not.

    Too bad. But let’s work together and see if we can change that, okay?

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  24. undercover_ararchist Says:

    Maybe you should have went to a public school… They have programs to help those with learning disabilities.

  25. Allen Hacker Says:

    That’s pretty funny, “should have went”!

    But oops, they didn’t have nonna thet when I wuz there. Hadn’t even invented ‘duck and cover’ yet.

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  26. Who Invented The Telephone Says:

    Dave

    Interesting topic… I’m working in this industry myself and I don’t agree about this in 100%, but I added your page to my bookmarks and hope to see more interesting articles in the future

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