Wednesday, October 10, 2007

At-Large City Council Campaign Warchests

Unlike the District City Council candidates who file their campaign finance reports on paper at City Hall, the Councilor-At-Large candidates file electronically using the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance website. They file bank reports every month in the off-season, and then twice a month during the campaign itself.

A year-end report is also required, which also includes information on savings accounts -- but information about those savings accounts have to be pain-stakingly culled from the monthly bank reports if you want to track them throughout the year. We'll see in a moment how important, and stealthy, those savings accounts can be.

The following are the sum of the campaign finance reports for the year-to-date, i.e., January 1, 2007 to September 30, 2007.

Campaign Finance To Date
Boston City Councilor At-Large

NameEnd DateBalance BeginningRaisedOwn MoneySpentBalance Ending
Felix Arroyo9/30/07 3720.04 21638.83 0.00 23830.10 1529.73
John Connolly9/30/07 35926.65 174688.75 10000.00 115557.35 105057.65
William Estrada9/30/07 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Michael Flaherty9/30/07 447262.56 190341.15 0.00 191179.44 446424.27
Matthew Geary9/30/07 0.00 3127.01 0.00 0.00 3127.01
Martin Hogan9/30/07 0.00 1300.13 0.00 1270.66 29.47
Stephen Murphy9/30/07 43710.09 64285.00 250.00 35508.60 76736.49
David Wyatt9/30/07 0.00 263.00 0.00 263.32 -0.32
Sam Yoon9/30/07 47636.17 125613.00 0.00 120621.37 52627.80
581,256.87 10,250.00 488,230.84 685,531.10

Note: William Estrada has not reported campaign finance online to date.

Saving Yourself for Schedule S.
Flaherty's 2006 year-end report shows a large balance which appears to be primarily due to savings accounts (much of it continuing from the 2005 year-end report). His 2006 year-end report, however, failed to include the required "Schedule S" (pull-down menu for name, then click on Year End 2006) to report those monies. By my estimate, he should have shown somewhere between $327,000 and $330,000 in that Schedule S form -- no trifle! (The money does, however, appear within the ending balance of $456,956.87 on the summary totals on the 2006 year-end report.) The Flaherty campaign did not respond to an emailed request for clarification about the apparent oversight.

Stealth Savings Account -- For an Upcoming Media Blitz? Unless you dig around in the expenditure forms, you wouldn't realize that Connolly had transferred $70,000 to savings (or money market) accounts so far during 2007. As such, you might think he had only around $35,000 on-hand right now -- instead of his $105,000-plus warchest he really has. He's got the money waiting to pull out of savings at the last minute and make lots of media advertising buys, just like he did in 2005. Stealth money market accounts!

Bang for the Buck. Arroyo has never been known to raise much money in previous campaigns, and is continuing that trend in 2007, but, you know, he nonetheless took 2nd place in the 2005 election. Hands down, he spends the least money per vote, as is clear from the 2005 election campaign. In 2005, he spent $131,884.92 to get 43,533 votes, or $3.03 per vote. Murphy spent $149,371.89 in 2005 for 35,553 votes, or $4.20 per vote. Yoon spent $220,076.26 in 2005 for 41,891 votes, or $5.25 per vote. As best I can tell (since the 2004 year-end report is missing, and it would clarify the amount entering 2005 in savings accounts), Flaherty spent $309,922.87 in 2005 for 49,220 votes, or $6.30 per vote. (Note that the Boston Globe appears to have fallen into the trap of not noticing that Flaherty transferred more than $202,000 to a savings account in 2005, which is not an expenditure, even though it is itemized by OCPF under "expenditures." Flaherty therefore spent around $309,000, not $511,000 as reported by the Globe, in 2005. Ooooops!!!) Connolly spent the most per vote (of the five candidates who also ran in 2005), spending $309,625.36 in 2005 for 31,629 votes, or a whopping $9.79 in dubloons per vote -- more than three times Arroyo's rate.

Summary: The candidates have already raised more than $581,000 to date for this election campaign, and have spent more than $488,000. They have more than $685,000 in cash on-hand to spend -- if they wish -- between now and the election, but most of that money (around $380,000) consists of Flaherty's savings accounts that he is likely squirreling away for a future run for higher office (e.g., Mayor).

Oh, don't say squirrels and running for Mayor... one possible Mayoral candidate, District 6 Councilor John Tobin, is totally scared of those things with the bushy tails. My advice: don't feed the aggressive things during lunch breaks on the Boston Common.

Allston-Brighton District 9. See my previous post for a summary of the Allston-Brighton District 9 City Council candidate campaign finance filings as of September 17, 2007.

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