Petty cash disbursements over $100 are illegal. So why did the Lieberman campaign need around $387,000 in petty cash during the last few weeks of the primary? No answer to the question, and no admission of error.
Tammy Sun, a spokeswoman for the Lieberman campaign, said the money was used for payments to young field workers hired in the closing weeks of the primary. She said they were paid $50, $75 or $100 a day.
Sun was unable to say Saturday why the workers, some of whom appeared to have stayed for days or weeks in dormitories at the expense of the Lieberman campaign, were not listed by name and salary.
The report listed tens of thousands of dollars for rooms rented at a YMCA in Stamford, Fairfield University and a culinary school in Hartford, as well as more than $50,000 for rented buses and vans that transported the workers around the state.
The FEC reports are made public so that citizens can know what candidates are spending their money on. It is amazing to have nearly $400,000 of just plain cash on your FEC report. Was Lieberman buying votes with the money, using the cash as 'street money'? Was he paying 'volunteers' to disrupt Lamont events? Or was it just a large canvass operation where he paid huge numbers of volunteers in, um, cash? And why is he paying people listed as volunteers?
That last question is kind of petty, but then again, it's not. Lieberman can't even bring himself to acknowledge that people paid to support him aren't actually, you know, supporting him. Connecticut for Lieberman, always. Lieberman has a huge amount of cash, put up by lobbyists, corporate interests, right-wing Republicans to help fund the Senator they love. He's using this money, at least 8% of it, in cash donations to, well, we have no idea. That is illegal for a reason, because it opens up the door to all sorts of devious and unethical activities if everyone acted like Joe.
And the Lieberman campaign isn't even acknowledging error, when the action they took is clearly illegal. I mean I can understand they might have screwed up, though this is a pretty large mistake. But it's also illegal, blatantly so, and it's something you should cop to immediately, and fix. That's just good politics.
So anyway, why do you think Joe needed $387,000 in cash?
Lieberman's campaign today claimed that the $387,000 slush fund was used to pay salaries, food, lodging, and transportation of "young kids" doing paid canvassing.
But "Lodging for Volunteers," "Car Rental for Canvassers," "Food for Staff," a $1,700+ tab for "Food and Beverage" for Tom Lindenfeld (their field guy), multiple payments to temp and staffing agencies, multiple gas receipts for $20 and $30 each, multiple van and bus and car rentals (ground transportation alone accounts for at least $90,000 of their itemized expenses), multiple airfares, and even a $12.99 car wash are all itemized on their FEC report.
The $387,000 slush fund was not used to pay these expenses (just a sampling from their mammoth 1,800+ page FEC report, available for download here):
7/7 - YMCA of Stamford - Accommodation - $439.00 7/10 - Kinkos - Copying - $319.06 7/12 - Postmaster - Stamps - $139.00 7/12 - Staples - Office Supplies - $58.80 7/14 - Poland Springs - Water - $136.56 7/16 - Stop & Shop - Food for Staff - $280.62 7/18 - Connecticut Costume - Uncle Sam - $65.00 7/18 - Varc Rentals - Car Rental for Canvassers - $50.00 (x24 for a total of $1,200) 7/20 - Homewood Suites - Lodging - $3,065.00 7/20 - JEF Associates - Field Consulting - $20,000.00 7/21 - Jay Harlan Corporation - Van Rental - $14,194.84 7/23 - Super8 Motels of Danbury - Lodging for Volunteers - $860.16 7/24 - Splash Car Wash - Car Wash - $12.99 7/27 - Legislative Consultants - Van Rental - $1031.60 7/27 - Office Depot - Chairs - $117.63 7/27 - People's Bank CC Services - Bus and Vans - $20,000.00 7/27 - United Personnel Services, Inc. - Temporary Personnel - $5,760.00 7/27 - US Airways - Airfare - $439.60 7/28 - JEF Associates - Field Consulting - $18,000.00 7/28 - SVM Prepaid Cards - Pre-Paid Gasoline Cards - $3,105.00 7/29 - Konover Residential - Conf. Room Rent - $1,800.00 7/30 - Tony Arancio - Sound System - $10,000.00 7/31 - CT Culinary Institute - Housing - $8,075.00 7/31 - Express Car and Truck Rental - Van Rental - $30,700.00 7/31 - SVM Prepaid Cards - Gasoline Cards - $40,095.00 7/31 - Tracy Hardy - Reimb. for Folding Tables/Boxes - $2,580.27 7/31 - YMCA of Stamford - Lodging - $1,069.51 8/1 - Arrow Line/Peter Pan - Bus for Pre-election day - $5,990.00 8/1 - Laura Cahill - Reimb. for Van Rental - $2,076.81 8/2 - Connecticut Costume - Uncle Sam - $380.00 8/2 - U-SAVE Auto Rental - Van Rental - $3,920.00 8/3 - Arrow Line Peter Pan - Bus - $6.987.00 8/3 - Dollar Rental Car - Car Rental for Canvassers - $500.00 8/3 - U-SAVE Auto Rental - Van Rental - $1,770.10 8/3 - U-Save Car and Truck - Car Rental for Canvassers - $3,841.02 (x2 for a total of $7,682.04) 8/4 - Chris Lavery (San Francisco) - Field Consulting - $4,520.00 8/4 - James Gee (Trenton) - Field Consulting - $7,000.00 8/4 - JEF Associates - Field Consulting - $19,000.00 8/4 - Monroe Press - Sound For Vans - $5,350.00 8/4 - Monroe Press (Philadelphia) - Posters/Lawn Signs - $91,669.00 8/4 - Tomas Reyes - Field Consulting Services - $8,250.00 8/6 - Thomas Lindenfeld - Food and Beverage - $1,772.82 8/7 - AT&T - Teleconferencing - $4,075.67 8/7 - Exec. Jet Management - Chartered Flight - $24,431.78 8/7 - Urban Prevention Programs - VansDrivers&Food&Phonebank - $6,860.00 8/8 - Goodwin Hotel - Food & Bev. & Lodging - $17,313.68 8/8 - Joseph Eyer (DC) - Reimb. for Transportation - $2,800.00 8/8 - Michael Wence - Reimb. for Expenses - $604.00 8/8 - Staffing Now, Inc. - Staffing - $724.00 8/10 - Avis Rent-A-Car - Van Rental - $1,184.32 8/10 - Avis Rent-A-Car - Van Rental - $1,205.02 8/10 - USS Chowder Pot - Campaign Event - $697.76 8/11 - Daryl Brooks - Field Consulting Services - $12,200.00 8/11 - Labor Ready - Temporary Staff - $752.69 8/11 - Stan Welch - Field Consulting - $10,200.00 8/15 - Chris Lavery - Field Consulting - $4,520.00 8/15 - Dan Robinett - Field Consulting Services - $3,000.00 8/15 - James Gee - Field COnsulting Services - $7,000.00 8/15 - Mary Wagley - Field Consulting - $1,200.00 8/15 - Stan Welch - Field Consulting Services - $10,200.00 8/15 - Tomas Reyes - Field Consulting Services - $8,250.00 8/21 - Untied Personnel Services, Inc. - Temp. Staff - $5,320.71 8/24 - Sandra McKinnie - Reimb for Office Supplies - $307.90 9/11 - Jordan Caterers - Food and Beverage - $2,149.68 9/11 - Vonda McKeithan - Mileage & Food & Bev. Reimb. - $1,302.93 9/19 - Urban Voters & Associates - Field/Voter Contact GOTV Local - $8,470.00
Briefly, petty cash for campaign purposes is for expenses under $100. It is literally "petty" cash. Lamont spent $500 in petty cash for the campaign. Lieberman sticking $400k in a petty cash account looks like a slush fund.
Where would it go? To street teams, to hire GOTV people, to pay off ministers to use their churches, all the kinds of quasi-legal campaign expenditures you don't want itemized for people to see.
This is mind numbingly stupid, amazingly stupid. I would not be shocked to see some kind of investigation. How does he plan to explain such an insane amount of money where it doesn't belong? Or does he plan to?