Thursday, January 21, 2010

Laugh of the Day

I'll leave the campaign finance donor analysis in the capable hands of Gary Welsh at Advance Indiana (see here and keep checking back) and Paul Ogden at Ogden on Politics (see here and keep checking back). But, one thing made me laugh out loud reading the morning paper. Francesca Jarosz ran an item in the Indianapolis Star on Mayor Ballard's campaign finance report. In it there is a quote from one Jennifer Hallowell, "a general consultant to the Ballard campaign".
But Hallowell said the fact that Ballard has raised so much cash proves he's capable as mayor.

"It really demonstrates the support that he has and the leadership that he's provided," she said. "He's producing results, and people recognize that."

Of course, that can be read more than one way. Leadership and producing results in getting donations -- is pretty much what I read. How anyone can conclude a person is a capable mayor by looking at the size of his campaign coffers is a thread of logic I cannot follow. But, I do have an idea how Ms. Hallowell made the connection.

Although I don't feel the well of expertise to analyse donors and which firms they represent, doesn't mean I don't peruse the campaign finance reports. Even with my surface review of Mayor Ballard's report, payments to Hallowell Consulting jumped out at me. In fact, that's why I even recognized Ms. Hallowell's name this morning. Hallowell Consulting was paid a total of $92,857.14 between March 2, 2009, and November 6, 2009. On December 1, 2009, the firm donated $10,000 of in-kind consulting services. What that really means is that Hallowell Consulting took a pay cut for its services and the cut was used to pad Ballard's finance report.

You don't have to review many campaign finance reports to see there is often a shell game going on to make the 'donations' look larger than they really are. Candidate A donates $200 from his campaign war chest to the 'Committee to Elect Candidate B'. Candidate B, in turn, donates $200 from his war chest to the 'Friends of Candidate A' coffers. Helps both candidates look better.

But, aside from Hallowell Consulting's generous in-kind donation of advise to the Ballard Campaign, they still got $92,857.14 of cold hard cash. That's the kind of leadership a campaign consultant can believe in - and preach about.

8 comments:

Indy Student said...

What's really telling is the loan Ballard's campaign gave to the Marion County Republican Party. Which gives the rumors of the MCGOP having money problems a bit of truth to them.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Spurred by your comment IS, I looked up the Marion County Republican Central Committee on the State's campaign finance website. Got this:

http://campaignfinance.in.gov/inpublic/Reporting/CommitteeDetail.aspx?FileNumber=439

The latest reported ended 12/31/08 and shows they had all of $2,462.66 cash on hand. And that was in a non-election year.

Maybe the motto of McGOP should be - do you want fries with that?

Had Enough Indy? said...

The Marion County Democratic Central Committee is no different. Ending balance on 12/31/08 was $2,197.91.

http://campaignfinance.in.gov/inpublic/Reporting/CommitteeDetail.aspx?FileNumber=363

McDEM should use the same motto as McGOP.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Now look what you made me do IS. Here's some more County Party PAC finances info from the State's website....

Greater Indianapolis Democratic Committee -- ending balance 12/31/08 was $1,560.45. Nothing posted online yet about last year.

Greater Indianapolis Republican Finance Committee -- ending balance 12/31/08 was a NEGATIVE $178,636. Talk about fiscal restraint !!!! Somehow they dug themselves out of the hole and by the end of 2009 they had $36,535.71.

Indy Student said...

Pat,
I've only read about MCGOPs financial woes via the Indianapolis Times. I always take what Terry Burns post with a grain of salt, but it looks like he might've hit on something.

Burns specifically wrote that they were behind on their rent. Last I checked, the Ballard campaign HQ and the MCGOP HQ are the exact same office space. It's a big office building on South Meridian, though the name of it escapes me at the moment.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Looks like the McDEMs are not doing much better.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I need to rescind my comment about 2008 being a non-election year -- DUH !!!!

Not much for the County parties to pay for, though. Treasurer was on the ballot - as well as Surveyor and Coroner.

Advance Indiana said...

I had the same reaction to Jennifer's comment, Pat. If the people had responded favorably to Ballard, you would see contributions from ordinary people who helped elect him. Those people won't give him a dime now. Many of these contractors and attorneys who gave to Ballard are the same people you find on Bart Peterson's old campaign finance reports. It has nothing to do with good public policy. It has everything to do with pinstripe patronage.