James L at the Swing State Project noticed something interesting:
MO-06 and WA-08: So get this. Despite being the beneficiary of a high-profile fundraiser hosted by Republican Lord & Savior George W. Bush, Dave Reichert was out-hustled by Democrat Darcy Burner. Compare Reichert’s haul with the total posted by Sam Graves, a Missouri Republican who received a fundraising visit from Dick Cheney. Graves raised a very impressive $500K+ for the quarter. I guess the President’s star power isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be anymore.
Reichert’s fundraising last quarter was damn anemic for an incumbent, not to mention an incumbent who had the President come to town to help.
Looking more closely at the FEC paperwork reveals how truly anemic the Bush fundraiser was. The FEC rules require that joint fundraisers, like the event held for the Washington State Republicans and Reichert, be handled independently of either group. The Bellevue Bush fundraiser was handled by an entity known as The Reichert Washington Victory Committee.
This FEC form 3x documents the donations and disbursements from the Bush fundraiser. What the form clearly shows is that the event only raised $135,025! That was $127,025 from individual contributions and another $8,000 from a political action committee.
A grand total of $127,025 in individual contributions at a Bush fundraiser in Bellevue, Washington??? That’s fucking pathetic! But…there you have it (maybe—see below).
Somehow or another, the media got the wrong estimate from this event. This KOMO report cites a slightly higher figure:
President Bush, deeply unpopular in Washington state, still raised more than $500,000 Monday for Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert and the state GOP, just hours after the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Where would the media get a figure like one-half a million? Perhaps it came from Reichert’s spokesperson, Mike Shields, who is quoted as claiming:
“It’s a huge cash injection before the actual election cycle begins,” Shields said. “An event doesn’t get much bigger than this. This is a huge help.”
Yeah…nice spin, Mike. The truth is a little less “big.” The FEC form shows the loot was mostly split three ways. The Washington State Republican Party got $26,166.73, Friends of Reichert took $35,754.80, and the big winner was the Hyatt Regency, Bellevue that earned $63,146.88 for hosting the fundraiser.
While Reichert was busy raising $35,755, Darcy Burner raised $125,000 from over 3,200 donors. In other words, Darcy Burner kicked both Reichert’s and Bush’s asses.
But these figures are only as good as the accountant filling out the FEC paperwork. We learned yesterday that there was a strange $47,100 refund in the FEC filing for Friends of Dave Reichert this quarter. Mike Shields offered a perfectly opaque explanation to the AP:
Shields said the difference – some $47,000 in refunds to donors – was an accounting technicality that sprang from the Bush fundraiser.
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.
Putting two and two together, it appears that Friends of Dave Reichert illegally processed some of the contributions that were all supposed to be handled by The Reichert Washington Victory Committee. If so, and if the money goes back to The Reichert Washington Victory Committee, it means that the Bush fundraiser only brought in $182,125. That’s still a far cry from the half million being hawked to the press.
Oh…and if The Reichert Washington Victory Committee takes the refunded money and returns it in full, it means Dave Reichert only took in about $84,000 from the event.
Darcy Burner still kicked his ass!