Pac Man: Nussle Knows Where the Beef Is, and I'm not Talking About Issues.
By Sam Garchik
It's been a while since I've written anything original for Blog For Iowa, but something got me thinking about Nussle and all these PACs that are out there that have ridiculous names. Nussle's is the IowaPac, and you can read all about it on Open Secrets (Disclaimer: All my numbers are approximate, but you can check the exact ones on Open Secrets.).
The IowaPac has raised about $70,000 in this cycle, which is odd because Nussle is running in a race that won't use any of this money. One explanation might be that it's left over from his Congressional campaigns, but why add another $70k? I'm very confused. And I was even more confused when I saw that he spent $140,000 on a federal campaign, even though he is not running for Congress:
Your Friend Jim
Nussle was pretty stingy in terms of giving money to fellow GOPers. He only gave three fellow Iowans any money – Jeff Lamberti got $2,000, Whalen got $5,000, and Hensley for City Council got a whopping $250 (which apparently, isn't enough to even go out to dinner with Jim – see below). He also gave $2,000 to the Christian Coalition of Iowa, $2,500 to the State GOP, and $330 to the Pottawattamie County Republicans. That's a total of around $12,000 to candidates and causes. I can condone giving money to causes and real candidates, even if I don't agree with what they support.
But his so-called 'presents' account for less than 9% of his total spending.
In typical Republican fashion, he's spending 91% of the money on himself. And most of that money, about $90,000, went to consultants.
About half went to Nick Ryan, his campaign manger, over the past year and a half. Ryan doesn't have a website, and is kind of elusive. So working for Nussle is good work if you can get it, at least in Nick's case.
And then there's the mysterious Capitol Resources of Brooklyn, Iowa, which appears to be run by Nicole Schlinger. She got almost $22,000. She also doesn't have a website, and is also kind of elusive. But, working for Nussle is good work if you can get it, at least in Nicole's case.
Who spends $241 on a faxing?
Three more consultants have good work, and no, we can't get it: Vicky Vermaat, formerly of Tom Latham's staff and currently of Orange City, got $11,000, and Bellwether Consulting, a bunch of GOP party planners, got just over $8,000, including $241 in faxing costs. He also gave just under $2,000 to Maria Comella, his Press Secretary, so it appears that generally speking, working for Jim is good work, if you can get it, but it's not true all the time, as in Maria's case.
Poor Maria. Jim had to underpay her because he spent media money on big ticket items: $12,500 for TV ads from this company, $4,500 for a website that probably doesn't exist anymore from this company, and $10,000 for direct mail (and the reason I'm not linking to their site is because I wanted to see if anyone had sold of this precious Nussle mail on e-bay, and the answer is surprisingly no, so this is another black hole of a campaign expense.).
So, where did he spend the remaining $12,000?
Travel through <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Chicago: $250
Phone Bills: $1,000
Miscellaneous Office Supplies and Food Expenses Paid for By Credit Card, It Appears, So Who Really Knows Just Exactly Where the Money Went: $8,500
My surprise when I checked out the website of the Caucus Room, where Nussle ate steak dinner #2, costing $500, and soft piano music started to play automatically: Priceless.
Why Blue is True
I'll end this one sided discussion of Nussle's self-involved expenditures with a comparison. The leading Democrat to give money to fellow Democrats is Maryland's Steny Hoyer, who gave over $500,000 to candidates around the nation, including $10,000 to Bruce Braley in Waterloo (that's twice as much money as you gave his opponent, Jimbo, and this guy isn't even from Iowa.), and more money than I can count to Leonard Boswell (actually, it's $55,000, but remember, Jimbo gave money to Boswell's opponent Lamberti, but it was only $2,000, and Hoyer is still not from Iowa).
Now, I've never met Jim Nussle, and I'd never heard of Steny Hoyer before this morning. But I already like Hoyer a heck of a lot more. For a guy who's not from Iowa, he sure cares about this state a whole heck of a lot more than Jim, “Stingy Except When it Comes to Steak Dinners in DC” Nussle.