Friday, April 14, 2006

FEC Report Open Thread

Mr. $.02 has pointed out that Steve Filson’s Q1 FEC report is now available online. As Mr. $.02 notes, Steve Filson fell well short of his promise to have $200,000 cash on hand by the end of Q1. Instead, it looks like Filson has about $125,750 COH (of which, about $6,000 is money in excess of contributions limits for the primary, meaning he can hold onto it for the general, but he cannot spend it until then). This despite the fact that Filson started the quarter with approximately $102,500 and despite the fact that he raised more this quarter than McNerney raised up to Q4 of last year. In other words, Filson raised a ton of money but ended spending most of it. It looks like the real culprit for Filson’s burn rate seems to be really high overhead costs, especially in terms of the money he pays his consultants

I should also note that Filson did pay a polling firm in New York $15,000 in early January. We never heard the results of said poll, so draw your own conclusions.

So far, none of the other candidates’ FEC filings are available. But we do know that Jerry McNerney raised at least $50,000 this quarter, which ought to mean that he’ll have somewhere between $100,000-$115,000 COH. So despite Filson absolutely killing McNerney in terms of money raised, it is very likely that Filson lost a lot of ground relative to McNerney in terms of COH.

I don’t have time to do a full analysis here, especially since none of the other FEC reports are available. Feel free to use the comment section as an open thread on these FEC numbers.

Update 7:10 PM:

I spoke to Jerry McNerney's Campaign Manager, AJ Carrillo, who told me that McNerney raised just shy of $65,000 and ended the quarter with around $81,000 COH. I'm not sure what they spent so much money on, but it sounds like they spent quite a bit on mailings.

In any event, if you account for the fact that Filson cannot spend around $6,100 of his money, then the ratio of McNerney's COH to Filson's has remained relatively steady from Q4 to Q1. Also, Carrillo pointed out that Filson has accumulated $35,500 in debt. We'll have to see how much debt McNerney has (Carrillo said it was minimal), but unless it's huge, McNerney will have enough money to get his message out. And unless something weird happens, Filson will not have the money to be able to have ads on the radio or television before the primary. So McNerney's ground game will have an elevated importance in this race that it wouldn't have had if Filson had been able to raise enough money to get on the air.


Blogger VPO said...

In a word, "Ouch!". If I was Steve Filson, I would be wondering what to do next. Plow ahead hoping to beat McNerney in the primary, then hope to get some more cash after that? Obviously, there is no great enthusiasm for Filson's candidacy. Raising $133K is embarrassing, especially considering he spent $110K of it already. I don't even think this included much advertising (fliers, radio, etc.), just consulting and office expenses.

I think what we need from Filson is a clear strategy on how he plans to beat Pombo in the general election, given his obviously poor fundraising abilities.

As far as McNerney, he keeps chugging along like the little train that could. His numbers are about 2/5's of Filson's, but strangely enough, he has the advantage of lower expectations. No one expected him to raise all that much, especially since the Dems in power were all endorsing Filson.

At this point, McNerney seems to have the advantage, despite less money, because he has labor and other "on the ground" backing. Filson has more cash, but not a significant amount more. He can't deluge the district with ads and wipe out McNerney that way. He can get more fliers out and some newspaper ads. Maybe that will sway enough Dems to vote for him in the primary. But there is no guarantee, given that he does not have all that much more than McNerney.

Let's see what the fallout is from this. I have not heard anything from Filson's camp as far as an announcement or what their spin on this is. I assume he is staying in the race to the bitter end. He may be thinking that since he has more cash then McNerney, he is still the front-runner. I doubt he could be persuaded to drop out. And truth be told, he could still win the primary. It is an open contest at this point.

We still have to see how much Pombo raise. For McCloskey, the whisper numbers are in the $200 - 250K range.

6:40 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 2% of a buck with an update as of 10:45 pm EDT:

1) Pombo (2nd to report of the "Big Four") reported $323K+ in net givings, and $1,017K+ COH, with no debts owed

2) McCloskey (3rd to report of the "BF") reported $201K+ in net givings, plus a $50K loan from "Pete" that was somehow "obscured" in the summary, but NOT in the details (nice try, guys), for $176K+ in COH, with $68K+ in debts owed

3) By comparison, Filson (1st to report) reported $133K+ in net givings, $124K+ in COH, and $35K+ in debts owed

4) Where is McNerney's Q1 posting?

As it stands, we have the following as of 3/31/06:

Dicko: $1,017K+ minus $0 debt = $1,017K+ true cash
McCloskey: $176K+ minus $68K+ in debt = $108K+ true cash
Filson: $124K+ minus $35K+ in debt = $89K+ true cash
McNerney: (through 12/31/05): $69K+ minus $35K+ in debt = $34K+ in true cash
Thomas: Not worth wasting keystrokes on.

$.02 out.

7:59 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

Mr $.02,

Thanks for the update. I have a comment though. I looked at McNerney's "debts" and it seems like most of the money was owed to McNerney himself. And someone told me he couldn't legally recoup at least some of it because it was from 2004. Regardless, insofar as it's owed to McNerney, it is only a debt on paper. It's not actually money that he needs to pay back.

8:15 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Rick said...

To recap the comments made so far:

- Despite raising more money than McNerney (and spending more money than McNerney), Filson is at a disadvantage

- Moreover, according to VPO, raising more money than McNerney indicates a lack of support for Filson

- Furthermore, there is speculation that Filson's expenditures have been on overhead, which we are lead to believe is bad thing even though no one seems to know what the campaign has been spending money on or even why overhead is a bad thing

This in mind, let's pose this question: if the candidates were switched and McNerney reported raising the money Filson did this quarter, would McNerney supporters be claiming that their candidate is at disadvantage?

Folks, Filson has raised close to $300,000 to date, and the primary is still eight or so weeks away. Yet, there are some who claim that this is a poor showing.

(As an aside, debts often include loans that are ultimately forgiven.)

This is one of those age old instances where people so blinded by partisanship refuse to acknowledge the cold hard facts. For McNerney's sake, I sure hope he has some "reality-based" advisors around him who are more in touch with the facts on the ground than those who purport to be his supporters are on this blog.

8:56 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...


It's no surprise that Filson raised more money than McNerney. What is a surprise is that Filson has not been able to save enough money to get his message out in a different medium than mail (i.e. radio and television).

From Day One we have said that Filson would out raise McNerney. It was always Filson's superior fundraising versus McNerney's superior grassroots base. Well Filson sure raised a hell of a lot more money than McNerney. But he is left with the same tools to reach the voters as McNerney. This makes his fundraising less functional than it might otherwise be.

Furthermore, I looked at what Filson spent the money on. When I said he spent it on overhead, I meant largely the salary of his staffers and consultants. What work product has he received for these expenditures? He still lacks any sort of grassroots presence. So how is he supposed to do enough voter contact or GOTV? He's at a severe disadvantage compared to McNerney in these respects.

Also, let us not forget that Filson pledged to have $200,000 COH by this time. So even by his own standards he underperformed.

9:18 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Rick said...

Here we go with the "grassroots" debate again. I could write a treatise about how the "grassroots" is largely a fabricated notion that bears no relationship to how Congressional elections are won, but I'll save that for another day.

It's ironic that you remark that Filson is left with the same means to reach the voters as McNerney. At just about every level (excluding presidential), mailers are still the primary way to convey a political message. Moreover, the primary is still eight weeks out and I wouldn't expect any radio or TV until May.

As for expenditures on overhead, well, you pay for what you get. Flison has brought in some political pros and is paying them what their worth. In a district with 350,000 registered voters (with probably 80,000 voting in the Democratic primary), seasoned political experience would seem to be advantageous in regards to targeting and turning out likely supporters.

Finally, your own questions about Filson's campaign strategy and tactics indicate your own uncertainty about what he has planned. Common sense suggests that Filson's campaign has paid media in the pipeline and has identified ways to finance it. If not, then what is his staff doing?

9:58 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 2% of a buck again, and (strangely, climbing onto Matt's wagon)...well, "Rick", er, Robert Keller (as becomes more obvious with every one of your desperate posts in an attempt to stop the bleeding of credibility):

1) You, Robert Kellar, and others (most notably, his own son, CF) claimed that Filson's joie d' vie was his unstoppable ability to shake the K Street trees for moola

2) That hasn't happened, Robert Kellar, as even Pete McCloskey has bested your (bald)-haired boy with over $201K+ in net givings vs $133K+, especially with all of Pete's coming from NON-PAC sources, unlike your candidate's "Pombo-like" stance toward that kind of corporate buy-off moola

3) Close to 40% of your, Robert Kellar's candidate, Filson's spendings for Q1 come from feeding the "Friends of Ellen Tauscher" club who seem to swarm around the trough supported by this generous "full employment act" --

Fraioli & Associates
Joe Slade White
Russell Miller
Lisa Tucker

4) Net, net, Robert Kellar, -- as Matt said in the previous post -- your candidate said that he would have have at least $200K in the bank as of 3/31/06 AND HE FAILED -- HE FAILED to deliver on his promises and that says volumes about things like viability, credibility, and reliability

Reagan: "Facts are stubborn things, they refuse to go away."

Put up, Robert Kellar, or SHUT UP.

$.02 out.

10:07 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last month you wrote a piece called Caveat Lector. You talked about Steve Filson’s finance director, Colin Bishopp, and how he wrote a diary on January 8 at Daily Kos under the name “These5janks” calling Jerry McNerney a loser and making claims about how Steve Filson was the only candidate who could win. Bishopp’s diary was long on assertions and short on facts, and he was quickly challenged.

“This prompted Wu Ming to ask, ‘How much are you being paid? Or are you coming from Chicago to volunteer?’

“These5janks responded (emphasis mine):

“’Wu Ming: I came to Chicago for grad school and am coming back to California because it is home. No one is paying me anything. I will walk precincts and make phone calls for Steve Filson for nothing. If I can do more, I will. But I plan to help other Democrats too.’”

Later, in the comments, Matt, you said, “We’ll be able to look at the FEC reports come April 15 to see when Bishopp first received his salary.”

You called it. It looks like Colin Bishopp got an $1150 advance on his salary four days later, on January 12.

10:25 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Rick says - Despite raising more money than McNerney (and spending more money than McNerney), Filson is at a disadvantage

- Moreover, according to VPO, raising more money than McNerney indicates a lack of support for Filson

I agree that this is topsy-turvy logic, but that is how it is in this race. Filson promoted himself as the one who could raise substantial cash for the race. Now, 6 months and 2 quarterly reports later, he has shown that he cannot raise money in the quantity he claimed he could, even with his rich friend Ellen Tauscher in Alamo and all her friends chipping in. Sure, he raised more than McNerney -- but no one expected McNerney to outperform Filson, moneywise. Filson himself set a higher bar and failed to reach it (note to future candidates -- don't brag about the money you can bring in before you bring it in).

Addressing your points directly, yes, Filson is at a disadvantage even though he has more money because of what Matt said above -- he needs the cash to flood the district with fliers and ads to overwhelm McNerney's support from unions and the local Dem clubs and Latinos. I won't call them grassroots, since you do not like that term, and I agree, it does get overused. But I mean people who can talk to people and who have followings that they can influence. That will turn out voters for McNerney even without a large ad budget or fliers.

To flood the district Dems with fliers will take cash, and in my opinion, Filson does not have such a substantial lead that his "flood of fliers" can overwhelm McNerney's support in the clubs, Latino groups, labor and other places (boy, it sure is easier just to say "grassroots".) McNerney also will be putting out fliers, I imagine, as he is not broke by any means, further muting Filson's "frequent flier" advantage.

I am not saying Filson has no support, just that those kinds of numbers indicate a lukewarm reception to his candidacy.

11:09 PM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's exactly right. filson failed to manage the most important dynamic in political campaigns: expectations.

if filson hadn't arrogantly BRAGGED that he was going to have $200K cash-on-hand on april 1, perhaps our expectations for his fundraising prowess wouldn't have been dashed on the rocks of reality.

filson still has a fundraising advantage, of course, but now we all know why he didn't release the numbers earlier. there must have been a mad scramble at the end of the quarter to save face not already covered with egg yolk.

all that said, don't count filson out. he can win the primary and win big if he spends what money he has left wisely. of course, filson's first quarter spending spree (and arrogant boasting) doesn't give one much confidence that wisdom is in great abundance at his campaign.

i wonder if anyone is going to report on this in the local media?

12:18 AM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Some Other Guy said...

First, I'll start off with addressing the "overhead". This is a tough district to win - and, as was pointed out, a very large district. Filson was and is right to secure the services and knowledge of some political pros. However, while the money he is paying his consultants is right on, the money he is paying his staff is rather off (this is all based on my dicussions with a friend who works on campaigns, his past work has included the Dean campaign in Iowa). According to him, the only salary that makes sense is that of the Field Director. The Campaign Manager and Finance Director, especially because of their experience, i.e. lack of it (at least according to what I have heard), are WAY too high. Most Campaign Managers and Finance Directors in a primary, and with their lack of experience, are not paid near that amount. The only staffer who should be paid a high amount on the Filson campaign is the Field Director, since she is the one who comes into this with federal level campaign experience, contested primary experience, DCCC campaign experience, and so forth. Also, interesting to note that it is the woman with a family (despite having the most experience) that is paid the least. Additionally, I suppose that does tell us something about just where Filson puts "grassroots" in the scheme of things.

(I suppose I should note that I have been fed a lot of info about the Filson Field Director from my Dean campaign friend. He knows her and speaks incredibly highly of her abilities. He also mentioned that she was offered Finance Director and Campaign Manager positions, offering a lot more money, in other states but turned them down for family reasons. I suppose I should also note that I have heard nothing but negative comments about the Filson Campaign Manager and have heard that the DCCC is looking to replace him. Some of his own staff, some staff at the DNC, and some staff at the DCCC consider him to be a liability.)

All that being said, I think Filson has the best chance to win this thing. While all of you sit here and bash his lack of "grassroots", it is the Filson campaign, thanks to his underpaid and over-experienced Field Director that is out there RIGHT NOW and every other day and night calling and canvassing voters. I'm on the volunteer list for both campaigns (signed up for McNerney before I ever heard of Filson) and the Filson campaign is doing a hell of a lot more than the McNerney campaign. When it comes to voter contact, the Filson campaign seems to have McNerney beat. (And my Dean campaign friend says that McNerney should be afraid.)

On the issue of support from labor and Dem clubs.... Just what are the unions and Dem clubs doing for McNerney? From what I have heard, they are all focused on local stuff and won't lift a finger for this race until after the primary. Also, Filson has AFSCME - that's a big endsorement. And Filson's political endorsements (Congressman Miller, Congresswoman Lofgren) have been out there doing a lot of stuff for Filson. I don't know, maybe it's just me and what I've been seeing, but it seems like Filson is more the grassroots candidate than McNerney. But, I'm sure no one here would ever dare admit that or even admit to the fact that Filson is running a strong grassroots field program.

On the issue of this poll that was paid for in January. According to my Dean friend, that probably means the poll isn't yet done or was completed only recently. Polling is paid for up front, but then there is a lot of work to be done on the front end and back end before a campaign receives the polling results. So a payment in January should indicate a poll that is completed sometime in April (or so I've been told). In other words, let's not jump to any conclusions about this poll not showing good results for Filson and that's why no one has heard about it.

Sure, Filson didn't deliver what he had indicated he could deliver. But, from my understanding anyways, he still has raised more, at least at this point, than any other Democratic candidate vying for this same seat has.

4:25 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous rick said...

A lot of bases to cover:

- First, is there no instance in which "Mr 2% of a buck" will jump to the wildest possible conclusion based on the most spurrious of evidence? Just asking.

- Second, 99.99% of the primary electorate won't know, much less care, that Filson allegedly claimed that he would have $200,000 in cash on hand as of April 1. The fact that he has raised nearly $300,000 by April 1 only further relegates this issue to irrelevancy.

- Lastly, perhaps the comments made by "some other guy" might give some pause to those who so routinely attempt to portray the Filson campaign as being in dire straits. Filson hasn't gotten this far by being a hapless, bumbling goofball; rather, he might actually be an adept candidate with a lot of appeal.

8:43 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 2% of a buck with a very truncated rejoinder (it's Easter, for God's sake):

1) Those of you who read this blog religiously will see how desperate "Rick", er, Robert Kellar, is getting when he stretches reality to claim that nothing I've said since practically "the birth of Jesus" has any credibility (nice debate tactic, but my attacks are based on fact, and I've shown them)

2) I'm clearly getting under "Rick's", er, Robert Kellar's skin when he opens up with a personal attack with nothing but ungrounded venom -- "jump to the wildest possible conclusion based on the most spurrious of evidence?" -- when I quote the latest fund-raising facts as laid out on; that says I'm hitting WAAAAAAAAAAAY too close for comfort for Robert, Ellen and Rahm to bear

3) I just love the backpedalling and spinning around THIS phrase: "Filson allegedly claimed that he would have $200,000 in cash on hand as of April 1"; note the key word "allegedly" -- that would suppose that said claim did NOT show up in several key, public, media publications, to quote just one (the Tracy Press):

He [Steve Filson] told me [Nick Juliano] that he expects to post much better numbers for the first three months of this year, and predicted he'd have more than $200,000 cash on hand by April 1.

4) I'll go out on another limb and claim that "some other guy" is none other than Colin Bishopp (Filson's Finance Director), but we'll let "SOG" respond to this so that I have a few more clues to pin it down definitively (not like I need more -- but this IS poker)

Deal, or no deal?

$.02 out.

10:21 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous ttdomzov said...

"Some Other Guy" wrote:

... and the Filson campaign is doing a hell of a lot more than the McNerney campaign. When it comes to voter contact, the Filson campaign seems to have McNerney beat.

Funny, that's not what the voters are telling our Team McNerney phone bankers, precinct walkers, and tablers.



10:37 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous edj said...

That's me (EDJ), not ttdomzov ;-).

Sorry, I'm just a little bleery-eyed after another long day/night in the office.

Have a good holiday, everyone.

10:42 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous wu ming said...

that is hilarious, i knew that these5janks guy was astroturf!

should be an interesting race.

12:24 PM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous rick said...

If anyone's curious, I didn't create the "mr. 2% of a buck" screen name so as to flatter myself by spreading rumors that I am really Filson's campaign manager.

And to "mr. 2% of a buck": Put up or shut up. Let's see the evidence that proves I am Robert Kellar. And please, spare us idiocy such as "the names Robert and Rick both start with the letter 'R.'"

9:15 PM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rick,

If it looks like a Robert Kellar, talks like a Robert Kellar, smells like a Robert Kellar, etc - well then it probably is a Robert Kellar!

You have far too much "insider" knowledge to not be Mr Kellar!

Its OK - we all have our opinions. And some people also have other objectives. You must accept the blogosphere as it is, not as you'd like it to be.

10:01 PM, April 16, 2006  
Blogger CF said...

I noticed some other interesting differences between the candidate expenditures.

Filson seems to have voter information covered very well - he has acquired info (phone numbers) and maps of all the respective counties that make up the 11th district. McNerney only seems to have maps from SJ county (they were purchased last quarter).

It also appears that one of Filson's endorsements went a little farther than being "in name only" - he gained access (for a price, of course) to Rep. George Miller's mailing list.

Anyways, just some observations.


P.S. Filson's event calendar has been updated with multiple canvasses (Stockton, Morgan Hill, Manteca, Pleasanton) and a forum alongside Gen. Wesley Clark.

P.P.S If anyone wants to read more about Filson's significant AFSCME labor endorsement, here are a couple of links:

Tracy Press

Stockton Record

5:23 AM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous rick said...

"Blogoshpere" or otherwise, this is still the United States of America and the burden of proof still lies with the accuser.

9:28 PM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It doesn't matter - as we say in Ebonics:
U B What U B.

Rick, Robert, Roy, or Rudy - the point is, you talk like Filson's campaign manager. You play that role here. If you really are not, why that's OK too. Take it as flattery as you say. Does it really matter?

10:41 AM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heads up. Unproductive mudslinging taking place somewhere other than this blog: a Louisiana congressional candidate is publishing a book (The New American Compact: Restoring the People's House to America) highlighting the similarities between Republicans and Nazis.
A few choice excerpts:

“Under Republican ideology, we’re well on our way to understanding the shame felt by so many in modern Germany — a great nation whose leadership acted less like Christ and more like an anti-Christ.” (Introduction page XVI)

“This is not theory. It’s a model that has been tested all over the world with huge success. Hitler used it during his rise to power with the help of the industrial complex, which it must be added, happened to be the Bush family two generations ago.” (Page 7)

“These ‘new ideas’ by the Republican leadership are, in fact, fairly ‘retro’, dating back to 1930’s Germany. What’s sad is the Republican propaganda blueprint has been lifted right out of Mein Kampf-chapter six-War Propaganda by Adolf Hitler.” (Page 45)

Relevance? California’s fighting 11th, home to an eight point Republican registration advantage, might not take kindly to McNerney’s association with this book. He’s listed as a signatory (i.e. supporter of the Nazi-Republican parallels) during its first printing.

Say it with me: e-l-e-c-t-a-b-i-l-i-t-y. Just thought I should point it out. Cheers.

8:41 AM, April 27, 2006  
Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Robert Keller is so pathetic. This is all he has to do with his time? This is another reason why we need real grassroots candidates with integrity and not pathetic careerist shills like Filson. Why did he become a Democrat again? Democrats-- the real ones like Jerry McNerney, not the careerist power-mongers inside the Beltway and their hand-picked patsies-- have real values. Keller ought to figure out sooner or later that California Democrats-- the real ones here in California-- want to know how we're going to get rid of Pombo and his catastrophic agenda and that this kind of inuendo and mud-slinging belongs in Filson's old party, not the one he claims to have adopted.

3:18 PM, April 27, 2006  
Anonymous just wondering said...

Wow. It certainly LOOKS like an act of desperation, doesn't it? I can't help wondering how anonymous even GOT this information. And I can't help wondering if anonymous has read the entire book?

Amazing what people will do when they know they are losing isn't it?

I also can't help wondering why this was posted on April 27th, to a post that originated on April that has long since gone by the wayside. Is it a little chicken shit or something?

I'm just wondering so many things about this hideous bit of politics.

5:07 PM, April 27, 2006  
Anonymous just wondering said...

Oh yeah...and I'm also wondering if there are others on this blog that CHOKE on the word electability, remembering Kerry and that whole thing.

Got him the primary....and got us another 4 years of Bush

5:09 PM, April 27, 2006  

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