Category: Money in Politics

Gaining on Clinton among Ky. donors, Trump raised $360K last month

Trump and Clinton
Trump bests Clinton.

GOP White House nominee Donald Trump’s take last month was more than 2½ times that of the $136,926 received by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, according to new data from the Federal Election Commission cited today by WFPL.

“Despite Trump’s summer surge,” the station says, “he still trails far behind Clinton in netting Kentucky’s dollars. Clinton raised more than $921,409 through the end of July, compared to Trump’s $545,940.”

State Democrats raise only $45K in July, badly lagging Republicans

The total was less than one third what the Republican party pulled in during the month, and even less — by $3,000 — what it raised in June, according to its just-filed Federal Election Commission report.

The figures continue a trend that’s put the Democrats at a big disadvantage as they fight to keep control of the state House of Representatives in November.

The Democrats ended the month with $120,000 in its treasury vs. $73,000 at the start of July, the report showed. That also put it way behind the Republicans, which finished July with $1.6 million, according to their July report, filed last week.

A big part of the Democrats woes is a lack of big, wealthy donors. Led by Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter and his wife, the Republicans attracted 10 donations of $10,000 each in July — the maximum.

But the biggest donation to the Democrats was $5,000 from Andrew Martin Jr. of Louisville, a consultant with McCarthy Strategic Solutions. Most of the rest were in the mid three-digits.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. The Courier-Journal’s Tom Loftus has just explained a big infusion to the Democrats during July from a Hillary Clinton‘s political committee, the Hillary Victory Fund, totaling $793,000.

Pizza king Schnatter leads 10 Kentuckians kicking $100K into state Republican party’s coffers

The Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter and his wife Annette headlined a group of well-heeled donors to the state Republican Party last month, boosting its treasury by $151,000 and possibly pushing it even further ahead of the Democratics, according to its monthly Federal Election Commission report filed yesterday.

The party had $1.6 million on hand at the end of the month, after spending $188,000, the report said.

The Democrats have not filed their July report yet. But in June, they raised just $48,000 to the Republicans’ $155,000. That left the Democrats with only $48,000 in the bank.

The Schnatters and just eight other $10,000 donors accounted for 66% of all the party’s receipts during in July, underscoring the role of a handful of wealthy residents in this year’s elections. Among them, Schnatter especially can afford do be generous: His stake in the pizza chain he founded in 1984 soared above $800 million less than two weeks ago after a run-up in the stock’s price.

The others $10,000 Republican donors were:

  • John W. Landrum of Harrodsburg, retired.
  • Henry R. Saufley III, owner, Builders Supply.
  • Pam Stephens of Russell Springs, bookkeeper and accountant at Stephens Pipe and Steele.
  • James Stuckert of Prospect, partner at investment firm Hilliard Lyons, Diane Stuckert, retired.
  • E. Duncan Taylor of Lexington, horse breeder, Taylor Made Farms.
  • William Wilburn of Eubank, president, Cumberland Security Bank, and Sherry Wilburn, a homemaker.

Opinion: Paul no friend of coal industry, or its beleaguered miners; ‘he hasn’t done a single thing’

That’s according to John Winn Miller, a retired journalist, screenwriter and movie producer who took on Sen. Rand Paul in an op-ed piece in this morning’s Courier-Journal.

“Paul pretends to be a friend by railing against big government and the mythical ‘war on coal,'” Miller writes. “But actions speak louder than words. The reality: he hasn’t done a single thing or passed a single bill to help the coal industry, distressed coal counties or out-of-work miners.”

And he cites several examples where the senator’s actions went against the industry’s interests. Miller says Paul:

  • offered an amendment to waive some environmental regulations and wage requirements in high unemployment areas. In other words, screw the coal miners and the health of people living in Eastern Kentucky. It was overwhelmingly rejected (33-64) in the Republican-dominated Senate.
  • supports the Keystone Pipeline and competing industries like cheap natural gas from fracking that — along with the growth of green energy — have far more to do with the demise of coal production than environmental regulations.

Miller’s contention the Republican senator hasn’t helped the industry comes despite the fact it’s been one of his biggest financial backers, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks Federal Election Commission data. In 2015-16, mining companies donated $129,250 of the total $9.5 million he took in, according to the center. The top 10 sources where industries were identified:

Rand Paul industry contributions 2015-16

Paul, an ophthalmologist, got the most support from health professionals: $471,241, or nearly 5% of all.

Coal on the way out

Miller writes: “The reality that Paul won’t admit is that coal production in Kentucky has been declining for decades –- long before President Barack Obama. It is the marketplace and the global shift to clean energy that is killing coal. Even China is starting to reduce coal mining and use.”

Indeed, statewide last year, Kentucky had only 9,493 coal mining jobs, a 46% decline from 17,670 as recently as 2008, according to the latest data from the Energy and Environment Cabinet. Mine operators produced 61.4 million tons, nearly half as much as the 121.2 million in 2008.

Jim Gray

Paul, who’s in his first Senate term, is up for re-election in November; he’s facing Democratic challenger Jim Gray of Lexington, the candidate Miller says is the only one “with a real, four-point plan to help the coal industry and revitalize coal-dependent counties as well as the ability to work with both parties.”

The Center for Responsive Politics hasn’t Continue reading “Opinion: Paul no friend of coal industry, or its beleaguered miners; ‘he hasn’t done a single thing’”

Rand Paul really likes Uber

In the battle for Sen. Rand Paul‘s senate seat, he and his Democratic challenger Jim Gray both spend a bundle on payroll, technology, research, and consultants, according to a review of 1,400 expenditures they’ve made from January 2015 to the end of this April.

Paul and Gray
Paul and Gray

Paul has outspent Gray, a construction company executive and Lexington mayor, more than two to one — mostly because Paul’s been campaigning so much longer, their campaign expenditure reports to the Federal Election Commission show.

The reports also show Paul’s campaign really likes Uber; it spent $5,866 just on the ride-hailing service in his total $104,073 for travel.

The bottom line

Overall, Paul spent $2 million from Jan. 2, 2015, to April 27, 2016. His three biggest categories:

  1. payroll: $222,740
  2. website development: $215,193
  3. finance consulting: $195,457

Gray spent $945,911 from Jan. 31 to April 27. His three biggest:

  1. advertising: $278,000
  2. payroll: $220,703
  3. research: $110,600

This spreadsheet lists all of Paul’s expenditures. And this one shows all of Gray’s.

Irony alert: Taco Bell franchisee PAC among few to give maximum campaign donation to Trump

TACO PAC, the political action committee of the fast-Mexican chain’s franchisees, is one of only five PACs to max out their contributions to GOP White House nominee Donald Trump,  with $5,000 — the most allowed under Federal Election Commission regulations.

Taco Pac logoDespite its bipartisan-looking logo, the Yum unit franchisees’ PAC has been leaning very right for the past eight years, according to Food & Wine magazine.

“In 2008,” it says, “TACO PAC donated a total of $24,500 to political candidates — $20,000 to Republicans, $4,500 to Democrats. In 2010, in an off-year election no less, it donated a total of $299,250 to candidates — $293,250 to Republicans, $6,000 to Democrats.”

So far this year, TACO PAC has donated $53,625 to Republicans and $3,500 to Democrats, according to the magazine.

Foodie site Grub Street notes the irony in the Pac’s $5,000 donation to the New York billionaire, “because Taco Bell’s mantra involves making a run for a border that Trump would at least attempt to wall off.”