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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Postman’s Asking the Wrong Question About Reichert

posted by on October 18 at 13:00 PM

There’s a lot of controversy about Rep. Dave Reichert’s latest fundraising report.

Local blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer caused the flap—getting picked up by the national lefty blogs—by looking at the latest FEC reports and showing that Reichert’s campaign had overstated how much it raised in the 3rd Quarter.

Corrections and clarifications ensued and the headlines changed from “Reichert out raised Burner in the 3rd Quarter” to “Burner out raised Reichert in the Third Quarter.”

Indeed, Reichert raised $294,888 and his Democratic challenger Darcy Burner raised $304,901.

At issue was how much money Reichert’s campaign actually raised from a Bush fundraiser earlier last summer. Originally, Reichert’s campaign had the total well over $200,000, but $47,100 had to be refunded from donors who had exceeded contribution limits. So now, Reichert’s camp is saying they raised $185,000 from the fund raiser.

Fair enough. But the question shouldn’t be “How Much Did Bush Raise for Reichert?” (That’s what Postman is asking on his blog this morning.) Who cares about that? We all know 24% Bush isn’t going to be much help.

The relevant question is: “How Much Did Reichert Raise on His Own?”

Here’s what Reichert’s FEC report says on that score:
He raised $294,888 this quarter, including 218,234.11 from individuals and $88,000 from PACS.

So, if Reichert raised $185,000 from the Bush fund raiser and $88,000 from PAC’s and his total is $294,888, that means he only raised $21,000 from individuals in his own right. That’s some limp fundraising for an incumbent in a hot race.

Burner raised $273,000 from individuals, 13 times as much as Riechert’s $21,000.

Reichert’s Chief of Staff, Mike Shields, told me I was “going out of my way to look for a bad number.” He said: “You’ve somehow turned $218,000 from individual donors into [a smaller number.]” Shields reasoned that the Bush money shouldn’t be subtracted from the totals from individuals. “If you have a Bush event you’re going to put your eggs in that basket for that quarter. These are individuals who gave to Dave regardless of where they did it.”

Complicated footnote, but still bad news for Reichert:
Shields told me—and Reichert’s FEC form confirms—that $35,000 of the “Bush” $185,000 came from the state party’s Bush fundraising money. (Reichert and the Party agreed to share that money.) So, to be 100% accurate: Reichert himself only took in about $150,000 from the event, not $185,000. That means, in the scenario I described, Reichert got about $57,000 from non-Bush event individuals. Still, that would mean Burner got almost five times as much from individual donors.

RSS icon Comments


While a strong showing for Burner, I'm still skeptical she can take out the Sheriff because, well, you've met Darcy, right? That said, of her donations, how many are bona fide 8th district voters? And, after subtracting the money she raised during Bush's visit, what is that total?

Posted by tea leaves | October 18, 2007 1:03 PM

tea leaves, I think you need to stop using MJ or coca to make your tea with.

Just sayin.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 18, 2007 1:23 PM

@2 - Right, wouldn't want to question a candidate/campaign that lost in the best Democratic year in over a decade to an underwhelming incumbent.

Posted by tea leaves | October 18, 2007 1:32 PM

Josh, Postman might be willing to consider you as an assistant, but aren't you already working for Darcy?

Posted by Just asking | October 18, 2007 1:58 PM

Josh, I don't think you've got it right either.

If the money contributed for the Bush fundraiser had been handled according to FEC regulations, all of the Sheriff's proceeds from the event would have come via a transfer from the Reichert Washington Victory Committee (RWVC). That's the way "joint fundraisers" are supposed to be operated. The RWVC reported taking in about $135K (see p.3 of the FEC report shown in the above link) and transferring around $62K to other political entities (p.4). The division of that $62K is detailed on the last page of the RWVC's report -- $36K to Friends of Dave Reichert (FoDR, Reichert's regular political organization), $26K to the WSRP. The $36K precisely matches what was reported in Q3 by FoDR as a transfer from another committee.

If the accounting was done correctly, that should should be everything that came out of the Bush fundraiser. None of the non-transferred money reported by FoDR should have been as a result of the fundraiser.

Therefore, if we are to believe the two Q3 reports, Reichert actually did raise a decent -- but significantly smaller than Burner -- amount of money from contributions unrelated to Dubya. But he got next to nothing (and much, much less than Darcy did through her netroots fundraiser) out of sucking up to the Prez.

Maybe Mike Shields is confusing this year's dismal failure of a Bush event with last year's profitable soiree. The 2006 Dubya visit brought in a total of $723K, of which $240K went to FoDR and $361K to the WSRP.

Posted by N in Seattle | October 18, 2007 2:23 PM

N in Seattle is correct. The numbers you're reporting Josh are confusing as hell, and I'm very familiar with them. The Reichert campaign is still not being forthright with us. Here are the questions they need to answer:

1) How much of their reported itemized contributions should have been reported with the Reichert Washington Victory Committee?

2) How much of the refunds were for receipts that should have been reported with the Reichert Washington Victory Committee?

3) How much money should they have received as a disbursement from the Reichert Washington Victory Committee? If not $35,000 then how much?

If we know the answers to these questions we can establish how much money the campaign actually raised outside the Bush fundraiser. One calculation has that at only $4,000 in itemized contributions based on what they've been saying.

But enough of what Mike Shields is saying, let's see the new reports and numbers for both Friends of Reichert and the Reichert Washington Victory Committee. Only then will we know the answers, without the filter of a campaign spokesperson.

Posted by Daniel K | October 18, 2007 3:21 PM

I think we should create a charitable organization to study this and then report on it in every newspaper in a statewide campaign ....

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 18, 2007 4:18 PM

This whole fundraising contest is just a complicated and confusing way to see which candidate has more support. Wouldn't it be easier to put it up for a vote?

Posted by elenchos | October 18, 2007 5:11 PM

You realize everytime you criticize the big-kid papers like this it only sounds like you're saying, "I can do your job better than you."

Posted by Stacy Peterson | October 18, 2007 6:50 PM

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