If Republicans breathed a sigh of relief last Friday when Dave Reichert announced he would lead Darcy Burner by about $36,000 in the 3Q money race, they better take a deep breath before reading his actual FEC report. For hidden in his $342,639 of total receipts, is a whopping $47,100 in refunded excess contributions… money he couldn’t legally receive.
Subtract those ill-gotten gains from his contribution totals, and Reichert actually trails Burner for the quarter, $295,539 to $306,784 — and that’s after Reichert’s high-roller funder with President Bush. And again, subtracting the refunds, Reichert only reported $171,134 in individual contributions. So, either our $123,000/3,200 donor netroots fundraiser actually raised more money than the President… or Reichert raised less than $49,000 in individual contributions on his lonesome.
Either way, the President of the United States got his ass kicked by a bunch of bloggers, but rather than acknowledge this simple reality, Reichert chose to cook the books. The bulk of the excess contributions were recorded on 9/30, the last day of the quarter (and then somehow refunded two days earlier.) This is the type of accounting that made Enron famous, allowing Reichert to inflate his quarterly results by simultaneously booking the $47,100 in excess contributions as both a receipt and an expenditure. And since Burner announced her totals early, Reichert’s accountants knew exactly how much they’d have to pad his numbers to convincingly beat her mark.
And for Reichert fans, the news only gets worse. Daniel Kirkdorffer has a thorough breakdown of the two campaigns relative performance, and it presents a stunning contrast:
More impressively, 89% of Burner’s contributions this election cycle came from individuals, while Reichert’s contributions from individuals made up only 57% of his totals, the rest, over $340,000, coming from PACs and campaign committees. Just about half of Burner’s contributions are unitemized, i.e. less than $200 a donation. Only 7% of Reichert’s contributions from individuals are categorized as unitemized. As much as anything that tells so much of the story regarding the breadth of Burner’s support and how much Reichert is having to rely on wealthier donors.
Yeah, you want a really amazing number? Over her two campaign cycles, Burner has raised money from over 22,000 unique contributors — more than some presidential candidates — a donor base she can go back to again and again over the next year. Meanwhile, a sizable chunk of Reichert’s contributions have come from individuals and PACs that have already maxed out. Indeed, unless he turns things around, Reichert faces the very real possibility of recording a quarter-to-quarter decline in cash on hand at the end of the next reporting period.
If the Reichert camp isn’t nervous yet, they better stop believing their own math.