Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Clinton's Campaign Debt

Hillary Clinton is suffocating under her multi-million-dollar campaign debt, and there appears to be no easy remedy.

With her campaign now officially suspended, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is confronting still another challenge: whittling down what is believed to be the largest presidential campaign debt in history.

Besides the $11.4 million of her own money that Mrs. Clinton lent her campaign, she had about $9.5 million in unpaid bills to vendors at the end of April, according to her most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission.


Mrs. Clinton’s options for retiring her debt are limited. On the positive side, she has raised about $1 million online and by mail since polls closed in Montana and South Dakota last Tuesday to end the primary season, her campaign said. The continued flow of donations, even after Senator Barack Obama had crossed the threshold of delegates he needed to claim the nomination, may indicate that some of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters may be devoted enough to pitch in to help with her debt.

Otherwise, the most discussed option is for Mr. Obama, now the presumed nominee, to encourage his fund-raising team to help her with a series of joint events.
Campaign finance law prohibits Obama from simply transfering money from his coffers into hers, and that would be a lousy idea to begin with. Imagine telling the small donors who turned his fundraising operation into such a force to be reckoned with that their money was going into Mark Penn's pocket.

But the joint fundraising idea is problematic as well.

Several Obama fund-raisers interviewed, however, said privately that they believed helping Mrs. Clinton with her debt would be difficult, given that they are also being asked to raise money for Mr. Obama and to build up the coffers of the Democratic National Committee, which badly trails the Republican National Committee in cash on hand.

They also pointed out that some Obama donors would find it difficult to overcome the animosity they had built up during a long, hard-fought primary season.
I hope it isn't sexist, or callous, or just plain mean to point this out, but it is both logical and just that Clinton finds herself in this situation.

She continued to run for the nomination long after she lost any reasonable chance to catch Obama in the delegate race; and she continued to run up millions of dollars in bills long after her campaign was financially in the red. This is the predictable consequence of those decisions. What on earth did she think was going to happen?

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