On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More Questions About Reichert Campaign Fundraising Claims

Well it appears that the news about Dave Reichert's FEC numbers that showed him refunding $47,100 of the contributions reported as receipts from the same filing, effectively bloating his receipt numbers enough to make it appear he had raised more money in the quarter than Darcy Burner, is taking on a life of its own.

The story was written about at Daily Kos by Markos this afternoon, pointing to commentary by Goldy.

Having already previously received front page recognition at Daily Kos, I'm happy enough for Goldy to get the hits. At the end of the day what matters is the facts get out there, and the questions start getting asked.

In that light here's my next question: just how much money did Reichert and the Republican party really raise when Bush came to town for them?

Once again today, David Postman quotes information that claims the total was over $500,000.

However, there is zero evidence of that. zilch!

According to FEC rules, fundraising proceeds must be reported in the period in which they are received, so we should be seeing all the reports that relate to the Bush visit that took place in August in these October documents.

Line 12 of Reichert's report, Transfers From Other Authorized Committees, has an amount of $35,754.80. Where does this come from. Well it comes from a disbursement from the Reichert Washington Victory Committee that was established mere days after the news of Bush's visit was announced. The report from this committee indicates total receipts of $135,025. Expenses included $63,146.88 for costs to host the event at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, and $2,350 in photography fees. Of the remaining receipts, $35,754.80 went to Reichert's campaign, and $26,166.73 went to the Washington State Republican Party, both on September 29th, shortly before the close of the quarter.

That's it!

I don't see $500,000 in that lot. So where is the other $365,000?

A search of the FEC reports yields no other committees that relate to this event or Reichert, and indeed, FEC rules indicate the event would have a single joint fundraising account.

Yet, Reichert Chief of Staff Mike Shields tells the AP:
Those refunds had to be issued because of mistakes in dividing the Bush money between Reichert's re-election campaign and the state Republican Party, which shared the more than $500,000 raised by the president.

The refunded contributions will be repaid, so Reichert is counting those contributions toward his third quarter total, Shields said.

Overall, Reichert has already cashed about $200,000 from the Bush visit to Bellevue, with more expected to roll in as officials continue splitting up the money, Shields said.
The mistakes it would appear would be the fact that some receipts were erroneously counted as individual contributions instead of put in the Reichert Washington Victory Committee pot. The refunds supposedly cover those erroneous contributions. Thing is this particular kind of mistake is actually an FEC rule violation. The funds raised at the Bush event should have all gone into the Reichert Washington Victory Committee joint account. Mike Shields is saying that didn't happen. Will they self report the violation?

Again, I can find no evidence of the $500,000 in event receipts or Reichert receiving $200,000 of it.

Mike Shields tells us these numbers will eventually end up in the books once the snafu has been corrected. My question would be then, when, and via which reporting entity?

The Reichert camp has already had to respond to a number of FEC requests for clarification this election cycle, and it can be assumed that they'll be making more after reviewing these reports. Something is not quite right about these numbers, and there is yet no evidence of the claims of a huge fundraising windfall from the Bush event.

My final question is is anyone other than David Postman going to bother to dig further into this issue? Isn't the MSM interested to find out if the $500,000 is real or just pure fiction meant to bolster Reichert's image? Certainly, the shenanigans with the massive refunds cannot be explained as a simple mistake. These people had plenty of time to account for the money correctly and by FEC rules. Are they really that incompetent?

It would appear that either way, they've got a major problem on their hands.

2 Comment(s):

Comment by: Blogger Rick Hegdahl

Well done Dan!

You deserve the kuddos. Too bad Goldy has to be so stingy.

10/18/2007 10:38 AM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer

In all fairness to Goldy, he was writing about this at the same time I was and we were both questioning the refunds and what they meant.

Perhaps I dug into the documents a little deeper? Either way, he has a larger readership than I by far, so it is natural people would pick it up from him.

Otherwise, David Postman has pointed my way considerably on this, which I appreciate. I think there is a recognition that looking at these reports is a tad too wonkish for most reporters who don't always have time to, or frankly find it boring or hardly worth the trouble.

My concern now is that the mea-culpa from Shields will be considered case closed. I'm sure that's the campaign's hope. It doesn't resolve matters and the facts are still being obscured on the numbers. I intend to keep pushing for answers.

10/18/2007 11:15 AM PT  

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