Thursday, April 21, 2011

Michele raises a lot of money, and spends a lot too

There has been much talk about the massive amounts of money Michele Bachmann raised in Q1, more than Mitt Romney, no lightweight fundraiser for sure. And while she did raise a lot of money, the part of the story that hasn't been reported very much is how much she spent to raise that money.

This is from the FEC report for the Bachmann for Congress committee:

Total Receipts: $1,747,618
Total Disbursements: $786,614
Net raised: $961,004

While netting almost a million dollars is still a very good fundraising quarter, it's not as good as the headlines make it sound. You see, Michele Bachmann uses a fundraising technique popular with conservatives that involves paying direct mail and telemarketing companies vast sums of money to raise money for her.

Of that almost $800k of expenses, $440,000 went to these activities. To be more precise:

Direct Mail: $152,278.53
Telemarketing: $286,768.21
Total: $439,046,74

That $440k represents 25% of the money she raised, no small amount to be sure. For comparisons sake, let's look at another Minnesota politician who is raising money for re-election right now, Amy Klobuchar.

Total Receipts: $1,076,725
Total Disbursements: $192,535
Net raised: $884,190

So while Rep. Bachmann netted $960k on $1.75m raised, Sen. Klobuchar netted almost as much, while raising $700k less. And while just the direct mail and telemarketing expenses made up 25% of Bachmann's receipts, the total disbursements made by the Klobuchar campaign come in at just under 18%.

The point of this post is not that there is something wrong about the way in which Michele Bachmann raises money, there is not. The point of this post is that when you hear she raised a bazillion dollars last quarter, it's helpful to look a little more closely at the numbers to see just how much money she spent because it will usually be quite a bit and when looked at in that context her fundraising numbers, while still impressive, are not world beating.

No comments:

Post a Comment