Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Spending Like Crazy At the Last Minute on City Council Campaign

I have been carefully trying to keep track of all the money that the candidates for Boston City Councilor-At-Large have -- not just their standard checking accounts, but also the money that they transfer to savings and/or money market accounts.

By my accounting, John Connolly did not have money in savings accounts at the end of 2006, but had transferred $90,000 to savings between June and October 2007. Combined with his checking account ending balance of $25,916.52 as of 10/15/07, he had a good amount of cash on-hand for last minute spending.

Between October 16st and 31st he pulled in another $23,428.10 in contributions, such that I think he should have had nearly $140,000 on-hand at the end of October. His campaign did not itemize the transfers from savings to checking in the expenditures on their 10/31/07 filing, but they do give the total in receipts during 10/16/07-10/31/07 as a whopping $220,279.73! The $220,000 should include the $23,428.10 in contributions above, plus any additional savings account money transferred into checking; since I thought they had another $90,000 in the savings account, that leaves around $106,000 mysteriously showing up in their receipts in the 10/31/07 report.

Where did that extra $106,000-plus come from??? I'm bamboozled. I knew he had a lot of money lying around, but not that much. I hope to see some clear accounting of this money beyond the mere itemization of around $23,000, because I really cannot figure out where the extra $106,000 came from. Then again, maybe I'm just dumb. That must be it: stupid me.

On the expenditure side, Connolly spent like crazy during the second half of October, making two wire transfers totalling more than $200,000. Past campaign finance reports indicate that such expenditures are usually updated later to indicate that they are media buys -- which can include mailings, radio advertisements, and television advertisements. (Councilor-At-Large finance reports get audited at some level, which appear to result in the OCPF requesting the campaign to clarify such expenditures with an amended report.) We also know that Connolly has been sending out some mailings city-wide in the last week, which probably account for some of the total. (Councilor Michael Flaherty lists two different expenditures on mailings of $27,000 and $28,000 during the second half of October, so this gives an indication of the cost of a city-wide mailing.)

Connolly has now spent more than $330,000 on the campaign to-date this calendar year, according to my calculations. Councilor Flaherty has topped him with $350,000 this year, spending nearly $60,000 in the second half of October. During late October, Councilor Stephen Murphy spent another $52,000, Councilor Sam Yoon only spent $10,000, and Councilor Felix Arroyo spent $4,600.

My estimates have the total in expenditures currently around $957,000 by all candidates in the Councilor-At-Large race.

Is this a quiet City Council election? Not with that kind of money being spent.

When it's all over, I will assemble the reports and figure out the total expenditures. I'm predicting the 2007 City Councilor-At-Large will be by far the most expensive race on record. With predicted low voter turnout, the expenditure cost per vote cast will also undoubtedly be a record for Boston.

Campaign Finance Year-To-Date to 10/31/07
Boston City Councilor-At-Large

Felix Arroyo10/31/07 3720.04 29878.49 0.00 32498.19 1101.30
John Connolly10/31/07 35926.65 309174.77 10000.00 334722.83 20378.19
William Estrada10/31/07 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Michael Flaherty10/31/07 447262.56 337821.15 0.00 350947.80 434135.91
Matthew Geary10/31/07 0.00 3672.01 0.00 3147.35 524.66
Martin Hogan10/31/07 0.00 1621.13 0.00 1601.80 19.33
Stephen Murphy10/31/07 43710.09 100000.00 250.00 96192.66 47767.43
David Wyatt10/31/07 0.00 363.00 0.00 341.78 21.22
Sam Yoon10/31/07 47636.17 209257.33 0.00 138422.17 118471.33
TOTAL10/31/07 578255.51 991787.88 10250.00 957874.58 622419.37

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