Sunday, October 22, 2006

Petty Cash

Joe Lieberman's latest FEC Disclosures list an amount of petty cash so large it's obscene. In a 12 day period his campaign listed $387,561 in unaccounted expenses disclosed as petty cash.

From today's Courant:

The Lamont campaign questioned $387,000 in cash disbursements by Lieberman's campaign shortly before the Democratic primary won by Lamont on Aug. 8.


Also from the Courant, Joe Lieberman's campaign has an interesting explanation:

Tammy Sun, a spokeswoman for the Lieberman campaign, said the money was used for payments to young field workers hired in the closing weeks of the primary. She said they were paid $50, $75 or $100 a day.

Sun was unable to say Saturday why the workers, some of whom appeared to have stayed for days or weeks in dormitories at the expense of the Lieberman campaign, were not listed by name and salary.


It's not unusual to use petty cash to reimburse someone for expenses, but the Lieberman campaign wasn't doing that. Essentially they were paying independent contractors. The Lieberman camp used the petty cash to pay field workers daily. The Courant article goes on to say that that many of these workers stayed in dorms at the expense of the Lieberman campaign. Field workers may have been paid on a day to day basis, but the existence of dorms proves that many of them weren't being hired just for the day.

The Lamont campaign questions Sun's explanation.

From their statement:

Buried in Senator Joe Lieberman's latest campaign finance report is evidence of a massive, unaccounted for $387,000 slush fund of what his campaign calls "petty cash." This "petty" cash spending made up a giant chunk of Lieberman's overall expenditures, and is considered by political experts to be an unprecedented sum in Connecticut history. Yet because the expenditures are not itemized, the public cannot see who received all of this cash, meaning Lieberman is effectively circumventing federal campaign finance law (by contrast, Ned Lamont has listed just $500 in "petty cash" and strictly adhered to FEC rules). Will Lieberman disclose how he spent this slush fund? Or is he hiding something?


They also point out that the $387,000 was spent in a particularly active 12 day period before the primary.

"These unaccounted-for payments raise serious questions about our opponents' campaign," said Lamont Communications Director Liz Dupont-Diehl. "Given that these expenditures were made at the same time massive quantities of Lieberman "volunteers" were showing up to disrupt our events and engage in dirty tactics, an explanation is definitely necessary."


I see two problems here. First: paying for contractors out of petty cash. Petty cash is meant to pay for small expenses where it's not practical to cut a check. There's no reason not to pay field workers with a check. Surely passing out cash daily is far less practical than having people submit an invoice for a weekly or bi-weekly payment.

Second: While the Lieberman campaign did attempt to hire up to 4,000 workers, we know they never materialized. The weekend before the primary Lieberman switched his focus from GOTV operations to media buys. And Anyone who was at the polls on primary day, or caught any stop on Joe's Tomorrow Tour knows Joe's actual number of supporters was never that large. I just don't see how the ground support that they did have adds up to $387,561.


Sources
Pazniokas, Mark. "Lamont Donates $2 Million To Effort". Hartford Courant. 10/22/06

Dupont-Diehl, Liz. "Bush Donors Fund Lieberman Campaign Slush Fund". Official Campaign Press Release. 10/22/06

20 comments:

MikeCT said...

Tammy Sun, a spokeswoman for the Lieberman campaign, said the money was used for payments to young field workers hired in the closing weeks of the primary.

One word: Liebergoons, Liebergoons, and Liebergoons.

Anonymous said...

The desperation of the Lamont supporters continues to grow. Unless Lieberman is buying votes with the money than it is a non-issue. Lamont one the primary with less than 15% of registered voters. He has done nothing to broaden his appeal in fact much of his campaign has further solidified his position so far to the left of even the left-leaning state of Connecticut. How do you explain a supposedly "breath of fresh air" candidate like Lamont bring the stale as can be Ted Kennedy to CT.

Anonymous said...

Lieberman was trying to buy votes in Hartford,Bridgeport and New Haven.Every Black kid over 18 in the hood in these cities knows that 60 dollars in cash was given if they promised to vote for "The Man" in the form of Joe Lieberman.

A Joe Lieberman win will put Ed Marcus back on the map of Democratic Politics in this State.If thats what the scummy patronage Dems and the Republicans in this state do by voting in Joe Lieberman again they deserve the results they'll get.

Jajara in Waterbury,Picard in W. Haven and Morris in Branford are all owned By Ed Marcus. He raised the majority of their campaign money and is robbibg their treasuries as you read this.Lieberman had to crawl to Marcus for support and if Lieberman wins Marcus Wins even bigger.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the Lieberyouth don't come cheap. What else do you expect when all the grassroots support has gone to the other candidate. I remember being at one fair in New Britain a week or two before the primary. There were 200 people there, about 40 of them were Lieberyouth. When asked, they told me they knew nothing about the election, but were happy to take some money from Lieberman to stand around talking to their friends. Lieberman can take his special interest money and hire as many people as he wants. But when it comes down to it, it's obvious that he's abandoned his party and the people of CT. Compare his "volunteers" to the populist movement Lamont has formed and the contrast is enough to push you farther into the Lamont camp.

Anonymous said...

The populist movement doesn't seem to be making Lamont popular enought to lead in the polls. The buying of votes charge also doesn't add up. If Lieberman used the entire petty cash to buy votes it only totals slightly more than 6,100 votes. I also think the use of Lieberyouth and Lierbergoons hinges on being anti-semitic. I think people should think before they make crazy charges or used terms that can be linked to Nazi Germany.

cgg said...

We could speculate on where the money went for ages.

I'm much more interested in the fact that they've admitted to paying for services out of those funds.

Anonymous said...

"Liebergoons" is perfectly acceptable but I think "Lieberyouth" has to stop.

Anonymous said...

We can argue proper rhetoric, be it Lieberlosers, Liebergoons, Lieberites, Lieberpawns. Fact are, are a bunch of high schoolers are doing this for the money, not the principles. Its a shame that Lieberman can't get volunteers from the populace of CT.

Also, I find Lieberman's attempts to portray Ned as "negative" laughable considering his campaign's history. I can say this much, the Q poll is BS, Schlesinger is bound to get 10-15 percent, Lamont will pull the remaining undecided voters and will win.

cgg said...

I don't even care whether or not he's paying people. The issue isn't if, but how.

Jim said...

Why do you assume the youth of Connecticut and surrounding states do not support Joe's Noble War?

Someone made an interesting suggestion:

Let's start the Iraq War Draft in CT!

CommonSenseDem said...

You guys are talking about $300,000+ when the Lamont campaign won't even disclose where Ned's $13 million is coming from? Sure, it's coming out of Ned's pocket but WHERE is it coming from? Who did he make his money off of? Who did his wife make his money off of? IF you guys want to make an issue out of this money, get ready for an even bigger dig into Mr. Lamont's "sources." It's all fair game now, so don't start crying over the tax returns because WE DESERVE TO SEE WHERE THE MONEY IS COMING FROM. At least we can see where Senator Lieberman's contributions are coming from!

ItsNotCommenSenseItsNotDem said...

CommonSenseDem said...

You guys are talking about $300,000+ when the Lamont campaign won't even disclose where Ned's $13 million is coming from? Sure, it's coming out of Ned's pocket but WHERE is it coming from? Who did he make his money off of? Who did his wife make his money off of? IF you guys want to make an issue out of this money, get ready for an even bigger dig into Mr. Lamont's "sources." It's all fair game now, so don't start crying over the tax returns because WE DESERVE TO SEE WHERE THE MONEY IS COMING FROM. At least we can see where Senator Lieberman's contributions are coming from!


This comment was absurd and we are all stupider for having read it. How a campaign spends its money is not the same as where a campaign got its money. Are you suggesting that Lamont broke campaign finance laws in donating money to his own campaign? Because you know that isn't true.

Should we look at how Joe's donors got the money they donated? How about Mel Sembler? Does it help or hurt your case that he tortures little kids?

JoanBasil said...

It just cannot be legal or no one would pay income taxes or FICA. I could sit around thinking up names to write in a journal and say I paid them $100. This is almost 4,000 people who were each paid no more than $100 total by the Lieberman campaign so the campaign doesn't have to get a Social Security from them and doesn't have to report it to the IRS and doesn't have to send them a W-2???

It defies credulity that this is legal. Campaign laws are dead if this is legal.

Anonymous said...

Joe blasts Ned for taking a $546,000 salary, yet $387,000 is NBD.

I may end up voting for Alan Gold as a protest vote.

Anonymous said...

At least some of it went for his petition drive.

Anonymous said...

I suspect Lieberman is buying polls -- like that last Quinnipiac poll. Isn't Douglas Schwartz, who conducted the poll, a Lieberman supporter? These polls giving Lieberman the lead of 12 to 17 points make NO SENSE.

Ask Lieberman where all of the $15 million came from!

Karl Rove is in CT.

Anonymous said...

Gee, I always thought the primary reason to pay people $100 off the books was because the workers were illegal immigrants. How many I-9s do you think Lieberman has for people that he handed out the money to?

Anonymous said...

It is really funny to hear Democrats bemoaning the use of "petty cash" or, commonly referred to as "walking around money."

Democrats have been using it for years, and it didn't bother you when it was used against Republicans. Now it is being used by one of your own against you!

Anonymous said...

Democrats have been using it for years,

Any attempt to back this up with evidence would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

well, apart from not being able to talk his way out of a paper bag, we now see the fired surfer who ran Lieberman's primary into the turf couldn't count, either