David Irons wants to run King County, a government that serves two million citizens… a population greater than that of 13 states. But before we hand him the checkbook to KC’s $3.3 billion budget, perhaps it might be interesting to see how he budgets the finances of a considerably smaller concern, like… I dunno… say, his own campaign for county executive?
So I checked out his latest Public Disclosure Commission filing, and discovered that things aren’t looking so rosy for the Irons campaign. Of the $263,247.01 he’s raised thus far, he’s already spent $217,755.80, leaving him only $45,491.21 in cash on hand two months before the general election. Ron Sims, on the other hand, has raised $535,151.82, but spent only $156,926.23, leaving $378,225.59 in cash on hand… a better than eight to one advantage over his rival.
Of course Sims’ fundraising advantage is to be expected: he’s the incumbent. (Plus, he actually has a chance of winning.) It’s the expenditure disparity that caught my attention. While Sims has been marshaling his resources for the November campaign, Irons has been… well… perhaps one of his consultants can explain what Irons has been spending his money on. In case you’re curious, here’s a sampling of some of his major expense categories.
Consulting $41,598.00 Payroll $39,107.96 Printing $31,845.45 Postage $15,280.49 Food $7955.64 Accounting $6774.00 Balloons $355.30
Hey Dave… here’s some consulting advice: next time, unless you have unlimited resources… don’t spend twenty percent of your budget on consultants. (My $4,200 invoice is in the mail.)
Break down the expenditures by percentage, and you get an idea of how an Irons administration might divvy up King County’s $3.3 billion budget: $640 million on consultants, $122 million on takeout, $9.6 million on his 20-year-old daughter Annette, and $5.5 million on balloons. Essential services might suffer, but the local consulting industry would boom, and the county offices would certainly take on a more festive atmosphere.
Of course we all know that at this point in the campaign, both candidates are still spending most of their time and money on fundraising… and Irons has seen a pretty crappy return on investment. With only 45K in the bank and two months to go, it’s really hard to consider Irons a serious challenger.
I suppose that explains why Irons has reportedly tried to shore up his support by quietly reassuring potential contributors and other party notables that he expects a $250,000 “independent” expenditure on his behalf prior to the general election. Which raises two important questions: 1) is Iron’s just blowing smoke out of his ass about this “independent” campaign, and 2) if he’s not blowing smoke, how “independent” could this campaign possibly be? If Irons is so privy to the details, it sounds to me like exactly the sort of coordinated activity our campaign finance laws expressly prohibit. This is not just a public disclosure technicality… it would be out and out fraud.
And that’s the type of headache that could lead Irons to spend another $1164.16 on wine from Hedges Cellars. (The equivalent of $17.9 million out of the county budget.)
As a point of reference,
Raymond Shaw Reagan Dunn has raised about $239K in his race for the county council, with about $45K cash on hand. Combined with opponent Steve “The Hammer” Hammond, the KCGOP is spending more on a primary in a safe, Republican council district, than they are in the county executive race against a “vulnerable” Ron Sims. So tell me how the Irons’ campaign isn’t a joke.