Ellen Silberman writing in the Boston Herald, reports,

As their party’s presidential candidates haggle over tax cuts and ways to create jobs, top Democratic National Convention officials are raking in six-figure salaries paid entirely with tax dollars, documents obtained by the Herald show.

The two top earners are convention CEO Rod O’Connor, a former Democratic National Committee staffer, and Alice Huffman, who wanted his job but settled for a part-time post chairing the convention committee.

O’Connor will make $190,000 for 15 months of work – including four months on the convention payroll after the four-day Boston event ends next July. Huffman, president of the California NAACP, will make $130,000 for 13 months of work, ending a month after the convention, according to a draft budget obtained by the Herald.

The sky-high salaries are raising new questions about political convention funding and whether taxpayers should foot the bill for events that largely serve as advertisements to the parties’ presidential nominees.

The Democratic National Convention committee – and its GOP counterpart – will take in some $15 million from the voluntary $3 Presidential Campaign check-off this election cycle.

“This is taxpayer dollars,” said Larry Noble, executive director for the Center for Responsive Politics. “You have to question how they’re using the money.”

It appears she doesn’t understand fundamental economic principles, most notably the fungibility of money. The parties are getting a fixed pot of money from the check-off. They also get donations from contributors. They’re paying salaries, buying ads, and paying for other campaign stuff. So, it’s not the taxpayers directly subsidizing the salaries but contibuting a portion of the overall pot.

And, of course, the Republicans are getting exactly the same amount of money–unless they decide to forgo matching funds because they’re doing so well garnering private donations. (Which I suspect they won’t do in the general election but almost certainly will for the primaries.)

Also, it’s worth noting that “$190,000 for 15 months of work” and “$130,000 for 13 months of work” translate into annual salaries of $152,000 and $120,000, respectively. That’s good money, but hardly scandalous for senior executive positions in a major U.S. city.

(Hat tip: Cam Edwards)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.