Hillary’s Debt

Hillary Clinton still owes a lot of money from her ill-fated run for president.  She owes $2.3 million just to consultant Mark Penn.  So, naturally, Clinton’s pals are holding various fundraisers to pay down said debt.

Ezra Klein asks an uncomfortable question:

Between 2004 and 2006, tax documents show that Bill Clinton earned $51 million. Put differently, erasing his wife’s campaign debt would consume 1/25th of his income over a two-year period. I blow a 25th of my income on the occasional dinner. But the former First Family’s unwillingness to shoulder the loss themselves means, inevitably, that it will be borne by committed campaign supporters who still love Hillary but are much poorer than the Clintons. It’s also requiring a frankly embarrassing level of shilling: They’re selling off days with Bill Clinton and tickets to American Idol and lunches with political consultants. Why bother?

Because, dear boy, that’s how it’s done! The Clintons have magninimously offered themselves for public service, getting nothing but a few hundred million dollars in return.  Surely, their legions of fans can do a little something.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies 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. Boyd says:

    No Clinton supporter here, but Ezra’s kinda missing the numbers here:

    1) The Clinton campaign owes Mark Penn roughtly 1/25 of the former President’s income over a two-year period. I’m pretty sure the campaign debt is much bigger than $2.3 million.

    2) 1/25 of two years worth of income is about equal to one month’s income, as far as I can tell. So this means that Ezra occasionally spends a month’s pay on a dinner? He’s either incredibly wasteful on dinners, or exceptionally inattentive to the accuracy of what he writes.

  2. Bithead says:

    And we wonder why the federal bdget is in such trouble? Apparently they use the same logic for our accounts as they do for their election accounts.

  3. Steve says:

    It’s even worse when you consider that she rang up most of the debt after her campaign was effectively over.

  4. MAS1916 says:

    She should just ask for a federal bail out.

    After standing up for months ‘defending her right to free speech,’ doesn’t Hillary deserve to be repaid at taxpayer expense?

  5. Michael says:

    2) 1/25 of two years worth of income is about equal to one month’s income, as far as I can tell. So this means that Ezra occasionally spends a month’s pay on a dinner? He’s either incredibly wasteful on dinners, or exceptionally inattentive to the accuracy of what he writes.

    That jumped out at me too. Presumably he is thinking of 1/25 of his weekly or monthly income, thinking that 1/25 of X is the same as 1/25 of Y.

  6. Brett says:

    They probably will end up paying off the rest of their debt, but why not get a free-ride off your supporters if you can?

    Not that those prizes sound that great to me – meals with Carville or Clinton, or a ticket to the American Idol finale? No thanks.

  7. Michael says:

    Not that those prizes sound that great to me – meals with Carville or Clinton, or a ticket to the American Idol finale? No thanks.

    Agreed. Now if the auctioned off the chance to kick Bill in the groin during the American Idol finale, they could probably pay everything off and then some. I’m sure Hillary wouldn’t mind.

  8. PD Shaw says:

    I admit I don’t know much about the campaign finance laws, but isn’t there a set limit that a person (including Bill) can donate to a campaign? I seem to recall that Hillary, McCain and Kerry all treated spousal assets as separate (probably for multiple reasons).

  9. Bill H says:

    I don’t know the details, but there are limits on the amount of personal money one can put into a campaign. Soemthing about rich people “buying electoral office.” I think you will find she/Bill have put as much in as is legally permissable.

  10. James Joyner says:

    I don’t know the details, but there are limits on the amount of personal money one can put into a campaign. Soemthing about rich people “buying electoral office.” I think you will find she/Bill have put as much in as is legally permissable.

    That’s true for OTHER PEOPLE’s campaigns, not your own. A Mike Bloomberg or Jon Corzine can spend unlimited amounts to get themselves elected.

  11. PD Shaw says:

    But James, it’s the spouse’s money here, not the candidate’s money, right?

    There’s probably a sexist, and increasingly dated, joke about when is it “our money” and when is it “her money.”