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A Look at the Parties' Sept. Spending

UPDATE: After combing through the Democrats' September expenditures, a number of Fix readers e-mailed asking for a similar analysis of the Republican National Committee's spending. We aim to please:

Like the DNC, the RNC spent more than it took in during the month of September.  The committee raised $6 million and spent $6.9 million.

A large chunk of the spending went to telemarketing and direct mail -- two key components in the never-ending search for new donors.  The largest expenditure within the category was $670,000 to Washington, D.C.-based Feather Larson & Synhorst - DCI; $400,000 went to telemarketing, $270,000 for "website conversion."

The RNC also maintains a staff numbering well over 200.  Like DNC Chairman Howard Dean, RNC head Ken Mehlman pays himself a salary -- $11,154 a month.  That computes to a yearly salary of approximately $134,000 -- $29,000 more than Dean is paying himself.

Consultants of various forms (political, financial, communications) drew their fair share from the RNC during the month as well. The biggest recipient was Alexandria, Va.-based Target Point Consulting at $200,000. Voter/Consumer Research, a D.C.-based Republican polling firm, took in $72,000 during the period. Dowd Strategic Consulting, the Austin, Texas-based firm of former White House pollster Matt Dowd, received $15,000.

Unlike the DNC, the RNC made a slew of cash transfers to state parties in September. All told, 23 state party organizations received nearly $582,000 from the national committee in the month. Virginia, which hosted a gubernatorial elections last week, took in the biggest contribution from the RNC -- $170,400.  The RNC also gave $10,000 to Sens. Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), Rick Santorum (Pa.) and Jim Talent (Mo.), as well as to Rep. Mark Kennedy -- the party's likely Senate nominee in Minnesota.

My post on the DNC from earlier today:

The response to my Saturday story on the Democratic National Committee lagging behind its Republican counterpart in fundraising prompted some readers to wonder where the DNC had spent its money and on what.

So here's a detailed look at where the DNC spent its money in September -- the last month that publicly filed information is available.

All told, the committee raised $4 million in September and spent $4.9 million. At the end of the month, the DNC had nearly $7 million, compared to $34 million for the Republican National Committee.

More than 200 people are listed on the DNC's report as salaried staff, including Chairman Howard Dean, who received two payments of $4,392 during the month.  If that's his salary, it would amount to roughly $105,000 a year.  The large number of staffers on payroll is part of Dean's "50 state strategy" to place four organizers in every state in the country.  The committee had done so in 38 states as of last week.

Aside from staff salaries, the committee's spending was largely devoted to direct mail -- the most lucrative but also most costly way national parties raise small-dollar donations.

The committee spent $1.5 million on direct mail in the month, with roughly one-third of that total going to TeleFund, a Boston-based donor-prospecting outfit. Also included within those mail expenditures were more than $260,000 going to Fairfax, Va.-based Carol Enters List Co. for "design/printing."

Dean's DNC spent less than $100,000 in the month on political consulting fees -- a relatively meager total compared to the consultant-laden DNCs of years past.  The $100,000 was spread around among roughly a half-dozen firms and individuals, with pollster Cornell Belchers's DC-based Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies receiving the largest single payment of $25,400.

The committee made two major donations in the month -- $19,500 to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and $5,400 to the South Carolina Democratic Party.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 14, 2005; 5:39 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
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