When I first reported about the “GOP on Borrowed Time” controversy—the story that Rep. Dave Reichert’s media consultant, Media Plus, was securing the candidate’s TV time on credit (a potentially illegal campaign loan)—Media Plus told me the ad time didn’t constitute a loan. Media Plus president Kathy Neukirchen told me Reichert pays for the booked time on a running basis, paying for the ad placement the day after the ad runs. In essence, the explanation for the advance is: He’s good for it.
It’s not the standard way TV stations deal with campaigns because political campaigns, which survive on fundraising, aren’t the most trusty debtors. Traditionally, ad time for political campaigns must be paid for in advance.
I’ll let the FEC sort through Reichert’s deal with Media Plus— Darcy Burner’s campaign has filed a complaint about the cash advances.
But the latest campaign finance data shows Reichert is not good for it. The numbers indicate he does not have the cash to pay for the media time that Media Plus has secured for him for the final week of the campaign.
Totaling up his fundraising for October, Reichert had about $1.4 million to spend. However, his ad buys for the month total about $1.7 million. That puts him about $300,000 in the red, which is how much ad time he has booked during the last week of the campaign. That means his closing ad blitz is a gimme from the TV stations and Media Plus. (As I’ve reported, local TV stations have a long standing deal with Media Plus allowing the firm to secure ad time on credit.)
Burner spokesman Sandeep Kaushik quips, “These ads shouldn’t say, ‘This message approved by Dave Reichert.’ They should say, ‘Paid for by Media Plus.’”
I’m waiting to hear back from the Reichert campaign for their explanation of the deficit spending.