Spending Money (On Consultants) Like a Drunken Sailor

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Apr 24, 2007 3:10 PM

A truism in politics is that you can only spend NET dollars.  Money raised is fine, but cash-on-hand is what counts. Overhead kills campaigns.

With that in mind, I found the news that Carla Eudy, McCain's fundraising consultant, was being replaced, interesting.

As The FIX notes, during the first quarter:

... McCain raised $12.5 million and ended the period with just over $5 million on hand. Both figures placed him third in the chase for campaign cash, behind former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

While, as the chief fundraising consultant, Eudy shares much of the blame for the "weak" fundraising numbers (in the past, $12.5K would have actually been very good), more interesting, at least to me, is the amount of money she was paid by the campaign (click on the link and then search for The Eudy Company, half-way down the page).

As you'll note, Eudy averaged about $20K a month in consulting fees (or $240 per year). Granted, those numbers most likely include some reimbursements. Still, that's a lot of money for a third-place finish.  

Certainly, Eudy wasn't the only high-paid McCain consultant.  But her fee was indicative of a campaign that spent almost half of what they raised.  While much has been made over McCain's anemic fundraising numbers, the amount of money being paid to high-priced consultants is perhaps, more concerning.

While Senator McCain prided himself on being a Spending Hawk, his campaign was, in fact, spending money on consultants like “a drunken sailor."

We don't know how much Eudy's replacement will be paid, but the campaign would be wise to focus both on the amount raised, as well as the amount spent.  They are wise to be making these changes now (rather than waiting ...)