Hillary Clinton Losing Millions

Hillary Clinton may take a hit to her personal finances in excess of $11 million, Bret Schulte reports for U.S. News.

With rounds to fight running out, the self-described Rocky Balboa of politics will soon be forced to assess the damage sustained by the most expensive primary bout in history. Sen. Hillary Clinton doled out $6.4 million of her own money to her campaign since April, her campaign told reporters this week. That brings her total cash outlay to more than $11 million since January. And she’s not ruling out spending more as she plans to compete in the six remaining contests. If she plans to knock out heavyweight fundraising champ, Sen. Barack Obama, she may have no other choice.

[…]

Thanks to a little-known provision in 2002’s McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform bill, a campaign must repay the loan to a candidate before Election Day. In this case, that’s the nominating convention. After the election has passed, a bankrupt campaign is limited to gathering just $250,000 from contributors, which means that modest sum is all it can give back to a candidate. In short, Clinton stands to lose $11,150,000. “If she wants to be repaid, she’d have to move on that between now and the national convention,” says former Federal Election Commission chairman Michael Toner. “Otherwise, it just becomes another contribution.” The campaign, meanwhile, has other debts to consider as well. According to her latest FEC filing, the Hillary Clinton for President campaign committee owes millions to vendors, including more than $4.5 million to Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, the consulting firm of her former chief strategist Mark Penn.

That adds another wrinkle to her decision to stay in the race. Time is running out to pay off friends, allies, and vendors. Plus, by all accounts, Clinton’s most ardent supporters are tapped out, either unwilling or unable by law to donate any more. If she’s going to continue competing, she has to ask herself how many more millions she’s willing to spend in a quest many describe as increasingly quixotic. In short, how much does she care about the money? Politics guru Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia figures not much; after all, the Clintons earned $109 million since leaving the White House. “It’s like Michael Bloomberg spending a billion. Would he miss it? Is she going to miss $10 million? There’s only so much you can spend yourself anyway.”

Quite right. And, really, it’s hard to feel too awfully sorry for the Clintons here. After all, the reason they’re rich to begin with is that they’ve cashed in quite nicely on Bill’s presidency. A few million was a small risk, indeed, for a chance to double down.

Further, the $11 million or so Hillary stands to lose if she can’t recoup her campaign debt in time could pale in comparison to the lost future earnings that they will incur if they have permanently hurt themselves with their fan base through a scorched earth, race-baiting campaign.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, General, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Ya know, this brings to mind one possible reason Hillary Clinton is still in the race. when she leaves the race her ability to take in donations is limited, and thereby a means to minimize her financial losses. remember the wording, kids, in the most recent influcx of cash from Hillary Clinton to her Capmpaign… they call it a ‘loan’. She’s obviously figuring on being paid back from the incoming campaign funds.

    And no, I wouldn’t put it past her.




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  2. Michael says:

    Ya know, this brings to mind one possible reason Hillary Clinton is still in the race. when she leaves the race her ability to take in donations is limited, and thereby a means to minimize her financial losses.

    She could recoup that much in a single book deal, which she probably will.

    remember the wording, kids, in the most recent influcx of cash from Hillary Clinton to her Capmpaign… they call it a ‘loan’.

    The called it a loan when Romney did it too, they always call it a loan.




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  3. yetanotherjohn says:

    I’m not sure about the exact numbers, but given the “rise in fortunes” for the Clintons since Bubba left office, this is less than a years worth of income, assuming a total write off. Of course, their future earning potential may not be as high.

    Just as an aside, why aren’t the democrats talking about a special “windfall profits tax” on the Clintons like they are for the oil companies. Surely profits for politicians should belong to the people more than profits for private companies.




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  4. James says:

    I chuckle at the notion of Hillary loaning money to her campaign. We all know it’s Bill that financing this.




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  5. Bachbone says:

    Feeling sorry for anything the Clintons do in politics is like feeling sorry for a pig that complains about having its feet in muck while rooting in the slop trough.




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  6. Bandit says:

    It’s not like it’s really her money – she’s just a pass thru conduit from Chinese industrialists.




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