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Austin Cassidy over at Third Party Watch did a little investigative reporting on the Badnarik campaign. First, he took notice of something rather encouraging for a libertarian campaign: he raised buckets of money. $125,000. Going on that alone, there is absolutely no reason that Badnarik’s campaign isn’t a winnable one.
However, it looks like the majority of that has been spent on dinners out, cruise tickets, and other crap. Almost none of it’s going towards actual advertising or outreach. I’ll just blockquote Cassidy here:
The campaign spends about $2,400 a month on renting an office and quite a bit on consulting and staff. Those seem to be the main expenses; lots and lots of consulting.
There were several hundred dollars worth of car rental charges, several hundred dollars worth of meals at local restaurants, and some other office-related expenses like phone phone and internet access.
They also appear to have ordered 100 T-shirts and purchased an ad in at least one local newspaper. Also an ad in LP News.
Quite a bit of travel for Badnarik and his staff, most of it to and from locations outside his district: Las Vegas, Phoenix, and California. About $1,100 or so went to Royal Caribbean International, presumably for Badnarik to attend the California State LP Convention which was held on a cruise ship.
Amusingly, the candidate himself seems to have paid $4.95 on February 25th for the cost of 2 ginger ales from Royal Caribbean. The item is recorded as “Campaign Event: 2 Ginger Ale: “Michael”.
The folks working on this campaign seem to be expensing quite a few meals out at restaurants. Outback Steakhouse, Luby’s, Marie Callendar’s, and on and on. There must be a couple dozen meals on here. Since last July they’ve spent more eating out at restaurants than most any other Libertarian Congressional campaign will raise or spend at all this year.
Other items include a little less than $1,000 for an Acer notebook computer and $415 for a fridge for the office.
All in all, it looks like pretty normal spending for a major party candidate in a race he’s expected to win. However, I’m not really sure if this campaign qualifies as being in that situation.
Our Presidential candidate is a celebrity of sorts in Libertarian circles, and if there’s ever a real reason to run a candidate for that, this seems to be that reason: we have a good shot at plunking him in the Senate or the House afterwards, since his fundraising capabilities are on par with the majors. But we need people that will use our money responsibly, not squander it.
Update by Stephen VanDyke: Ok everyone, take a deep breath and lay off the hyperbole for a minute lest we end up with an open letter to campaign manager Allen Hacker to get his side of the story on why $130K+ has been spent so quickly. I know some of you might have a personal axe to grind here but it’s only fair that we hear Hacker out.and shooting Badnarik’s campaign down in a hail of friendly fire. I know our mantra here at Hammer of Truth is to take our own party to task from time to time so I’ve followed up via