What is Ron Paul doing with all that money? (UPDATE)

So, it is undeniable that Ron Paul raised a monstrously huge amount of money. He will likely have, Mitt Romney’s personal check book aside, the largest fundraising of Q4.  What is he going to do with it?

So far, we have cheesy ads. But we also have large mailings going into places like South Carolina, where Ron Paul is up in the polls. The press has not reported these mailings though, unlike Romney’s or, sometimes, John McCain’s. In those cases, it seems that the campaigns have actually given some of the mailings to the press. (presumably there are more targetted ones that they are not sharing)

Can someone email me mailings or post links to them? I’d really like to see them.

UPDATE: For starters, Hotlineblog reports that they are staffing up.

What is the Paul bomb?

The Ron Paul money bomb is amazing. On a certain level though, it makes a lot of sense.  I’m about to make a totally obvious point:

Ron Paul’s support is a protest vote.

There are a lot of Republicans right now who are really angry. Republicans are furious with their party.  In 2004, Dems were furious with theirs. A lot of them still are, but they are still in shell-shock after winning the 2006 elections. They don’t realize how much of a bill of goods they were sold. And beating Republicans is still important to them.

Here’s a hypothesis, but a difficult one to test. To some extent, Ron Paul supporters support him because he is a variety of the "Republican wing of the Republican Party". People who hate the war can support Ron Paul. People who hate the spending can support Ron Paul. Those are the primary places where the GOP is losing its base right now. And the part of the base that is leaving right now are the ones who are rich and online. Just like some of the Deaniacs. And the college kids look the same too.

They don’t give the money because they really like Paul. They are just more angry at the party than they know what to do with. In the end, they may be "dated Dean, married Kerry" sorts. They may vote for Paul. They may just force the party to pay attention to them.

And some of them are just racist, bigoted, neanderthals.

But there’s something legit here. And today, the Paul guys got our attention. Good for them.

Richardson’s employees giving to their boss

You don’t often get to write this sentence, so I had to do it:

State of New Mexico $277,230
University of New Mexico $31,950
Total from NM State Employees $309,180

Bill Richardson would be violating congressional ethics if he were still in Congress.

What am I talking about? Bill Richardson received over $300,000 from his employees. Open Secrets has the details. Congressional ethics (at least House ethics) prohibit staff from giving money to (1) their boss (because of the possibility of a raise for a donation) or (2) other members (because it would look like a back channel version of the same)

Shouldn’t it be an issue that his largest block of donors get paid by him?

Make presidential candidates live by the same ethics rules as Members of Congress.

Normally that would sound farcical, but it might be a good idea here.

Two more questions about a December NH primary

I have two questions about the possibility of a December NH primary:

  1. Can candidates collect matching funds for that? What are the mechanics of that? When do they actually get the money? It is clear that John McCain has more than enough money to compete if he takes matching funds. But when would they actually arrive?
  2. Mitt Romney’s fear was succeeding in Iowa and foundering in New Hampshire, stalling or reversing his momentum. But, that fear is gone under this schedule. But it arises for a bunch of other people. Who? How bad? Isn’t Romney the big winner here?

GOP Fundraising numbers

They all come at once:

  1. Rudy Giuliani at $10.5m. $15 CoH
  2. Mitt Romney at $10m, $8.5m from self. And only $9m CoH. Is that a burn rate over 100%?
  3. Fred Thompson at $8m
  4. John McCain at $6m. $3.6m CoH, $1.5m in debt. I wonder where Jonathan Martin got his bogus info.
  5. Ron Paul $5m, $5m CoH.
  6. Mike Huckabee $1m
  7. Sam Brownback? My guess is near but below Huckabee.

Once again, advantage Rudy. Big failure for Huckabee. Lots of egg on face for Romney for spending all of the money he raises. Huge advantage to Paul, but will people care? And McCain is in the game after being left for dead. I still have trouble seeing why he would compete in Iowa though.

Huck only raises $1m??

After Ames, Mike Huckabee was a rockstar. His campaign manager said that the fundraising calls were coming fast and furious.

And now he has only raised $1m? Only $200k more than the previous quarter? Surely Ames and all that free media was worth more than that, no?

And, as Marc Ambinder points out, Ron Paul beat that by 5x?? I assume that tomorrow we get Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. This chess game is so amusing.

Who is paying for Keyes this time?

Well, Alan Keyes is in the race, it appears.

A friend who was a highly trusted Bush donor back in 2000 once told me that he got regular phone calls from the Bush campaign in 1999 and 2000 asking to pay the speaking fees for Alan Keyes events. Keyes never had the firepower to actually raise enough money to campaign. The strategy was that Keyes could keep attacking people like Forbes from the right and keep the conservatives shattered so that Bush could keep on trucking.

So who is going to pay for Alan Keyes this time?

Ironies of the Hsu scandal

I keep giggling whenever I read about the Norman Hsu scandal.

First, Fred Thompson got it right. Didn’t the Clinton’s learn anything from the fundraising scandals of the 90s?

Second, the first great fundraising scandal of the post-Abramoff ethics era is about an illegal donor. He didn’t give money for ideological reasons. He gave money so that he could pretend to other people that he had access.

Third, it was about bundling. The new ethics reform legislation addressed bundling … by lobbyists. Not felons. And not random donors.

Oh well. Somehow, I don’t think that the Democrats are looking for ethics reform.