The Debt Piles Up
By Matthew Mosk
The staggering cost of the 2008 presidential campaign -- $788,655,856 and counting -- has left behind a trail of candidates who are shouldering massive debts.
The most prominent of these is Sen. Hillary Clinton, whose campaign has piled up more than $19 million in unpaid campaign bills, $11 million of which she loaned the campaign from her personal accounts. But there are others carrying a negative balance, including former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has more than $3 million in debt, including $500,000 he loaned the campaign and another $216,000 he still owes his consulting companies, Giuliani Partners and Giuliani Safety & Security. Sen. Chris Dodd owes $380,412. Fred Thompson has a more modest tab of $107,904.
Among Clinton's listed debts was $28,500 to the Democratic National Committee for rental of a political list. DNC officials said the bill has since been paid.
The largest debt belongs to Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, whose $44.3 million bill is all owed to a single creditor, himself.
Gary Jacobson, a political science professor at the University of California at San Diego, said it's not uncommon for candidates to accumulate debt, and many a failed candidate has struggled for years to repay money owed to vendors. The difference this year is how much is owed.
"It's a really an amazing change in scale," he said. "The sums, like all the numbers on the campaign funding reports this cycle, are much larger."
Jacobson said Clinton might have little trouble retiring her debt if she does not become the nominee, given that she retains the fundraising power of an incumbent senator, and the abilities of her husband, the former president. "Other candidates -- people without a prominent political position, might have a harder time," he said.
Meanwhile, the money continued to pour into the campaign in April, according to the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Clinton raised $22 million for the month and finished with about $8 million in cash on hand for the primary. Democratic front-runner Sen. Barack Obama raised $31 million in April and finished with $37 million in cash. Republican Sen. John McCain raised $18 million and finished the month with $22 million in his bank account.
While McCain has taken the bookkeeping steps to accept public financing for the general election, Obama has done nothing to indicate he will follow suit. Candidates planning to opt for public financing after the political conventions typically create a General Election Legal and Accounting (GELAC) committee, which sets aside a small amount of money they are allowed to spend on administrative costs for the general election. McCain set one up a long time ago and has transferred $2.3 million from his main campaign fund into the GELAC so far this cycle.
Obama has previously pledged to join the public system, but aides said the Illinois senator will make no decision on public funding until it is clear whether he is the Democratic nominee.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: JakeD | May 22, 2008 5:40 PM
Posted by: RAT-The | May 22, 2008 4:19 PM
Posted by: Rafael VA | May 22, 2008 3:06 PM
Posted by: JR | May 22, 2008 2:42 PM
Posted by: Mas | May 22, 2008 2:35 PM
Posted by: JakeD | May 22, 2008 2:10 PM
Posted by: I | May 22, 2008 1:56 PM
Posted by: shrink2 | May 22, 2008 1:18 PM
Posted by: Alice | May 22, 2008 12:53 PM
Posted by: Billw | May 22, 2008 12:49 PM
Posted by: Notanimrod | May 22, 2008 11:48 AM
Posted by: JakeDeee | May 22, 2008 11:23 AM
Posted by: JakeD | May 22, 2008 10:33 AM
Posted by: JakeD | May 22, 2008 10:21 AM
Posted by: Tony C | May 22, 2008 10:12 AM
Posted by: Debra | May 22, 2008 9:58 AM
Posted by: Monique | May 22, 2008 9:48 AM
Posted by: Obama '08 | May 22, 2008 9:45 AM
Posted by: jake | May 22, 2008 9:13 AM
Posted by: nclwtk | May 22, 2008 9:10 AM
Posted by: jeffp | May 22, 2008 8:45 AM
Posted by: LetthemdrinkCrownRoyal | May 22, 2008 1:35 AM
Posted by: thebob.bob | May 22, 2008 1:02 AM
Posted by: Alice | May 21, 2008 11:52 PM
Posted by: Billw | May 21, 2008 11:41 PM
Posted by: whinywhitewomen | May 21, 2008 11:24 PM
Posted by: eljefejesus | May 21, 2008 11:21 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 11:10 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 11:06 PM
Posted by: willie in Kansas | May 21, 2008 11:05 PM
Posted by: AJ | May 21, 2008 10:39 PM
Posted by: wolf | May 21, 2008 9:48 PM
Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 9:24 PM
Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 9:22 PM
Posted by: manjomang | May 21, 2008 9:21 PM
Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 8:29 PM
Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 8:28 PM
Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 8:27 PM
Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 8:24 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.