At this point in the campaign federal candidates must file 48 Hour Reports on contributions of $1000.00 or more received within twenty days of an election with the Federal Election Commission. It always makes for interesting reading. This is the case in the 4th Congressional District race with Teresa Hensley (D) and incumbent Vicky Hartzler (r). The reports (to date) for Vicky Hartzler (r):
Vicky Hartzler’s (r) campaign for the 4th Congressional District filed a FEC Pre-General Report [pdf] on October 25th. There are also 48 hour reports (more on those later). The Pre-General Report covers the period from October 1st through the 17th:
10/25/2012 14 : 56
FEC FORM 3
REPORT OF RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS
For An Authorized Committee
Vicky Hartzler for Congress
6. (c) Net Contributions [$]25990.50
7. Net Operating Expenditures [$]615528.58
8. Cash on Hand at Close of Reporting Period [$]158500.61
Where did all the money go?
First, let’s take a look at some of the contributions:
Eagle Forum PAC Alton IL 10 15 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.C10768 [$]5000.00
The Freedom Project Washington DC 10 04 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.C10720 [$]5000.00
Concerned Women for America PAC Washington DC 10 05 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.C10737 [$]20.00
Friends of John Boehner West Chester OH 10 04 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.C10719 [$]2000.00
That $20.00 is very concerning. John Boehner! That must be in honor of Halloween.
Now, some of the disbursements:
Thompson Communications Media Buy 10 11 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5095 [$]97506.60
Friends of Roy Blunt List Rental 10 05 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5084 [$]2487.87
EV Strategies Alexandria VA Fundraising Consulting Fee 10 10 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5092 [$]6000.00
Dublin Group Overland Park KS Fundraising Consulting Fee 10 01 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5077 [$]2173.90
Thompson Communications Media Buy 10 01 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5074 [$]45635.00
Thompson Communications Media Buy 10 05 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5072 [$]87009.80
Capital Enhancement, Inc. Fundraising Consulting Fee 10 17 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5124 [$]17020.00
Capital Enhancement, Inc. Fundraising Consulting Fee 10 15 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5119 [$]2079.11
Thompson Communications Media Buy 10 03 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5075 [$]13420.00
Thompson Communications Media Production 10 04 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5083 [$]9183.17
Thompson Communications Media Buy 10 04 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5073 [$]302465.00
The Freedom Project Washington DC Refund of Contribution 10 17 2012 Transaction ID : 21019.E5125 [$]5000.00
That would explain all the ads running on our tee-vee sets which aren’t available on Youtube.
Evidently, freedom isn’t free, but it does get a refund.
We just saw a campaign television ad wherein Vicky Hartzler touts her “saving the taxpayers” money bonafides when it comes to her congressional office expenses, “leading by example to cut my office budget” (Sorry, she doesn’t appear to be posting her campaign ad videos online. Wouldn’t want us peasants fact checking her assertions, now, would we?). Really? Let’s talk about sending out mail at taxpayer expense. We remember a little something about Vicky Hartzler’s use of the congressional franking privilege (the perk which allows members of Congress to send mailings out for free):
The House Tea Party Caucus, chaired by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), says it seeks to represent the views of the people who have “had enough of the reckless spending and vast government overreach coming from Washington.” Fifteen House freshmen are part of the 60-member, all-Republican caucus. The group talks passionately about cutting spending and the need to “work towards getting our fiscal house in order, before the burden of debt is passed onto our children and grandchildren.”
Surprisingly, three of the freshmen Tea Party members were among the ten biggest spenders on taxpayer-funded mailings of the 444 people who served in the House over the last nine months of 2011, according to a new report by USA Today. They were:
#4 Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), $263,083
#8 Rep.Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), $253,156
#10 Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), $237,355
But Hertzler defended her mailings, telling USA Today, “After 34 years of leadership by [the district’s previous Congressman, Rep. Ike Skelton (D)], we feel like it’s important for me people to get to know me and for me to hear from them. It’s part of serving the people that you represent is to communicate with them, and that’s always been a priority of mine.”
Yep, that’s number eight out of 444 members in spending on those campaign style franked (paid for by taxpayer) mailings.
“…It’s part of serving the people that you represent is to communicate with them, and that’s always been a priority of mine….”
Except when it’s not. A just eleven days ago, in the Warrensburg Daily Star Journal:
….Hartzler’s campaign declined to participate in answering the survey….
A priority. Yeah, right.
After seeing the Vicky Hartzler’s pious promoter of rectitude in government spending television ad we thought we’d check the latest available (June) quarterly Statement of Disbursements [pdf] (page 1024) showing Representative Hartzler’s expenditures in the House of Representatives. Sure enough, the stuff applicable to franking:
2012 HON. VICKY HARTZLER
OFFICIAL EXPENSES OF MEMBERS
YTD AMOUNT [$]67,959.99
QUARTERLY AMOUNT [$]66,766.54
04-26 AP 00433019 UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE 03/01/12 03/31/12 FRANKED MAIL [$]25,613.11
04-26 AP 00433153 UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE 03/01/12 03/31/12 FRANKED MAIL [$] 673.05
04-30 GL FLG0018871 04/20/12 04/30/12 FRANKED MAIL [$] -23.40
05-17 AP 00447400 UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE 04/01/12 04/30/12 FRANKED MAIL [$] 826.85
05-30 AP 00456860 UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE 04/01/12 04/30/12 FRANKED MAIL [$] 26,923.56
05-31 GL FLG0019712 05/20/12 05/31/12 FRANKED MAIL [$] -40.19
06-22 AP 00475713 UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE 05/01/12 05/31/12 FRANKED MAIL [$] 628.21
06-29 AP 00479334 UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE 05/01/12 05/31/12 FRANKED MAIL [$] 12,200.88
06-29 GL FLG0020488 06/20/12 06/30/12 FRANKED MAIL [$] -35.53
Today, at the Missouri Ethics Commission the republican candidate for Secretary of State gets another monster check from a Washington republican committee:
C061132 10/30/2012 SCHOELLER FOR MISSOURI RSCL Missouri PAC 1800 Diagonal Rd Alexandria VA 22314 10/30/2012 $250,000.00
That’s a total of $450,000.00 from the same folks in two days. Gee, why would republican Washington big money people bother to prop up a republican down ballot statewide candidate? Why would republican Washington big money people need to prop up a republican down ballot statewide candidate? Just asking.
Announcer: People are turning to Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley for Congress. The Star said, Prosecutor Hensley far outclasses Congresswoman Hartzler. The Tribune says, Hensley’s a moderate law and order type with eminent good sense.
Hensley will do what’s right, protect Medicare, create jobs, put Missouri’s middle class first.
Teresa Hensley (D): I’ll fight for Missouri priorities in Washington, like I have in the Prosecutor’s Office. Our seniors can count on me to protect Medicare and Social Security.
Kevin Horrigan in his Sunday column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatchbrought up a study (pdf) by a couple of academics that question the practice of “peer benchmarking” CEO salaries in order to keep them from moving on to more lucrative jobs. The idea is that companies have to pay more in order to keep talented CEOs in place. The two researchers, Charles M. Elson and Craig K. Ferrere, question the wisdom of that practice:
… Scholars have long recognized a distinction between firm-specific and general skills. It is quite apparent that successful CEOs leverage not only their intrinsic talents but also, and more importantly, a vast accumulation of firm-specific knowledge developed over a multi-year career. Whether it is deep knowledge of an organization’s personnel or the processes specific to a particular operation, this skill set is learned carefully over a long tenure with a company and not easily capable of quick replication at other firms. In fact, when “superstar” executives change companies, the result is usually disappointing.
Horrigan was interested in the issue of CEO compensation, particularly as it involves Robert R. Archibald, the embattled director of the Missouri Historical Museum. It strikes me, though, that the point is just as apt when applied to businessmen who claim that their business success will allow them to shine as government leaders.
My thoughts went immediately to two GOP candidates for high elective office who want us to believe that they are qualified for those positions because of their past business careers: Missouri gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence, and ex-financial mogul and current presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. However, the Elson and Ferrere study suggests that there is nothing in the background of a successful financier and a plastics manufacturer that would necessarily translate to success in government.
Certainly history suggests that businessmen in government are rarely effective leaders. According to journalist Daniel Akst who consulted with Historian Barbara Perry about the relationship between the success of twentieth century presidents and their earlier careers:
It’s important to know whether a president has worked in business. It’s important because having worked in business is associated with being a lousy president, at least in the modern era.
Recollect that while Mitt Romney was successful in the highly specialized financial realm, he was also by many measures a failure as governor of Massachusetts. The performance of the Massachusetts economy under Romney wasn’t that great to say the least – there’s a reason few in the state support his presidential bid. Although Romney has tried to claim that the fault lay with the Democratic legislature, the current Democratic governor, Patrick Duval together with a largely Democratic legislature has been able to rescue the state from the Bush recession twice as fact as other states. Massachusetts currently ranks in the top 10 states in job growth. So much for Romney’s vaunted claims to understand what makes an economy successful.
Nor, by the measures that Elson and Ferrere suggest, should we assume that Mr. Spence’s success in a very specialized plastics business would translate into the skill set that would allow him to take the reins of a complex state government. As for his more generalized management skills, we have only to examine his to-date feckless, largely self-financed campaign, to get an idea of his ability to run entities that are not organized around a specific body of manufacturing knowledge.
None of this is surprising, of course. Think of successful businessman and colossally failed president Herbert Hoover. Or, to take a more recent example, think back to the hilarious spectacle of real estate tycoon Donald Trump contemplating a run for President and it’s easy to conclude that instead of a savy manager, successful businessmen transplanted to government are apt to prove either inept as in Hoover’s case, or total clowns, as would surely be the case were Trump to ever win office.