From a dishearteningly informative article from Mark Arsenault of the Projo…
The Rhode Island Republican State Central Committee spent nearly five times as much in the 2006 election on consulting fees to people connected to the party than it gave to its own General Assembly candidates, who then failed to pick up any seats.
After providing more than $80,000 in cash and in-kind donations to its State House candidates in 2004, the state Republican Party provided cash donations totaling just $5,095 to a dozen legislative candidates last year, according to campaign finance reports. Those donations, coming three weeks before the general election, ranged from $270 to $500 per candidate.
Here’s Arsenault’s breakdown of the “five times” figure…
- ”$8,300 in consulting fees to the Torrey Group, the firm of Jeffrey Britt, a consultant who advises Carcieri”.
- ”$2,000 for consulting by Carcieri campaign worker Mark McKiernan”.
- ”$2,000 for consulting by Adam Gabrault, whom a state party spokesman also identified as a former Carcieri campaign worker”.
- ”$11,630 for legal work by Giovanni Cicione, a former U.S. House candidate who is currently campaigning to be chairman of the Rhode Island GOP”.
- ”About $30,000 in fees paid last year to Darcie Johnston, a Vermont-based fundraising consultant who also worked for Carcieri and former U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee”.
- ”$6,192 last August to the consulting firm Northeast Strategies”.
The article also has a reaction from “party spokesman” Chuck Newton…
“We spent too little on candidates and we spent too little on consultants that could do us some good….Do I think we overspent on consultants? No. Do I think we underspent on candidate support? Yes. Would loved to have done both, but we didn’t have the wherewithal.”
Newton said the party tried a new strategy in the last election cycle: hiring full-time staff to help oversee the campaign. “Those dollars to fund the full-time staff were not available for candidates,” he said. “What we chose to do is provide resources for candidates without putting money directly into their hands.” The staff, including Newton and field director Andrew Berg, recruited candidates, updated the party’s voter database, researched the voting records of incumbent Democrats, and developed campaign strategy, among other duties — all of which benefited Republicans running for local offices, Newton said.
It would be interesting to hear…
- From the current candidates for statewide Republican party officer postions, if they also believe that the consultant-heavy strategy was on the right track, just underfunded.
- From candidates and volunteer campaign staff from the previous election cycle, what benefit they saw from all of this consultant spending trickle down to them.