The Paris Problem was the tip of the iceberg. What the McCain campaign can ill-afford to do is further antagonize our own supporters. We need to quiet grumbling among our own contributors and volunteers about how much our hardworking fundraising consultants are getting paid. People like New York Finance Chair Tamara Hallisey, who’ve earned at least $148,000 since the start of the year. Likewise, I hear that the latest attack we should expect from the Obama-holier-than-thou crowd is that the McCain campaign is using unlimited “victory committees” to pay fundraising staff for the work they do for the official “restricted” campaign fund while John takes the high road on public financing.
Apparently, a few people noticed in my Paris Hilton post that hedge fund king Peter G. Peterson of the Blackstone Group gave $30,800 to John McCain this spring. Wait a minute, they asked, isn’t there a limit of $2,300 for campaign contributions (for the primary, and again for the general)? Yes, but if you look closely, you’ll see he didn’t give the money to the campaign. It went to the “John McCain Victory Committee.” Entirely different entities.
The only problem is that some on the left are whining that the Victory Committee is a shell used to get around campaign finance laws and the public financing restrictions that John abides by. Specifically, they’re pointing to Victory Committee disbursements to campaign fundraisers like Tamara Hallisey and Rachel McGregor of the Hallisey Group in New York (and yes, Rachel did attend Barry Goldwater High School in Arizona!), or Corinne Lovas in Arizona. All very talented - and on a personal note, I might add, quite fetching - fundraisers. They also complain that their work is being promoted by the official campaign and then they’re funneling money to the Victory Committee.
Liberal grousing that it looks like they were paid by the Victory committee for work they did to raise funds for the official campaign (JohnMcCain 2008), or complaints from our own supporters that they’ve been getting rich by double dipping from both the Campaign and Victory Committee budgets is just not a big deal, people. For example, campaign reports show that Tamara Hallisey was paid only $55,755 from John McCain 2008 since January. It was her Hallisey Group that received an additional $62,500 from JM2008 plus $30,000 from the Victory Committee. Meanwhile, Tamara’s able 26-year-old associate Rachel was paid only $53,603 from the campaign, and $13,000 from the Victory Committee since the start of the year. Did you see “Sex in the City“? It’s expensive to look good in New York and do the tough job they’re doing finding money in the middle of Hillary Clinton territory. Trust me, I took the Acela up from DC this week, and Manhattan in the summer is a sweltering hub of liberal elitism. I can only imagine what it’s like walking around here in Manolo stilettos and trying not to step on Obama supporters littering the streets.
Face it - this is a Presidential campaign. The staff is idealistic, the pace is frantic, and the accounting is inevitably a little sloppy. For example, our beancounters didn’t file campaign disbursements with the FEC for February or perhaps January, and it looks like the July Quarterlies don’t include some payments made in the June Monthly figures. Look, John’s been the first to say he’s no expert on economic issues. No matter. I have no doubt that similar - if not worse - accusations could be leveled at the Obama campaign.