Tag Archives: Comcast

And in the morning, the boulder’s back at the bottom of the hill

You could understand if Phil Scott and Sue Minter find themselves sympathizing with the plight of Sisyphus. Having won their respective primaries, they now face the task of refilling their nearly-empty warchests, and ASAP if you please.

The major-party nominees raised an ungodly (by Vermont standards) amount of money, and spent almost all of it just to get through their primaries.

The grim totals: Minter raised more than a million dollars — and spent all but $54,000 fending off the weaker-than-expected candidacies of Matt Dunne and Peter Galbraith.

Scott enters the general campaign with $158,000 in the bank. But he entered the primary race with $95K left over from his previous walkovers for lieutenant governor. Without that cushion, he’d be dead even with Minter in cash on hand. In terms of money raised during the current campaign, he actually trails both Minter and Dunne.

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A Confederacy of Consultancies

When last we met, I was exploring Bruce Lisman’s campaign finance filing from March 15, trying to figure out how he managed to spend nearly $600,000 before the race has really even started.

In my previous post, I looked at how much money Lisman is paying his campaign manager Shawn Shouldice*, who’s a very experienced lobbyist (on behalf of big business, mostly) but has never run a campaign before, as far as I can tell.

*spoiler: it’s a LOT.

This time, we’ll explore the bewildering array of consultancies that have hitched themselves to the Lisman gravy train. There are so many different firms, that I wonder how their efforts can possibly be coordinated.

Or, to put it another way, how much money is being squandered by Lisman, currently standing at a brisk four percent in the polls. But first, a brief note about media spending.

As of March 15, Lisman for Governor had spent an astounding $82,242 on TV ad time, which is more than many campaigns spend in an entire cycle. The bulk of that money went to WCAX-TV ($38,080) and Comcast ($32,937). WPTZ was a distant third with $11,225. Lisman also spent $11,475 for online advertising and a measly $3,000 or so on radio.

Add it all up, that’s close to 100 G’s on media. Before March 15, for Pete’s sake! Which doesn’t include production costs — and Lisman, as we shall see below, hired a top-of-the-line conservative production firm to produce his ads.

Okay, back to the consultancies. There are roughly a dozen outfits that have each taken thousands from the Lisman campaign for “consulting” and such-like.

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How to waste $142,000

Two suggestions:

1. Get yourself 7,100 $20 bills. Scatter them in a big pile. Douse in gasoline, add one lit match.

2. Spend it on Republican advertising in Vermont.

Image from the RSLC ad. Or maybe from a Cialis spot.

Image from the RSLC ad. Or maybe from a Cialis spot.

As first reported by VTDigger, a national organization called the Republican State Leadership Committee has chosen the second course, pouring $142,000 into a TV/radio ad campaign for Republican legislative candidates.

They might have asked Lenore Broughton how this kind of big-money, old-media, carpet-bombing technique works. She spent at least a million bucks in 2012 on a TV/radio/bulk mail blitz attacking the Dems, and failed to move the electoral needle at all.

But the RSLC didn’t ask her. In fact, they didn’t talk to anyone in Vermont. Just ask one of the first guys they should have talked to.

Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton, the House minority leader, said he welcomed the media campaign, but was unaware of it until VTDigger showed him the ad.

So a D.C.-based Republican organization is running generic ads for nameless candidates, and they didn’t even consult the House’s top Republican. Somehow I don’t think the Democrats are too worried about this. Oh wait, here’s a Democrat now:

It’s just like in 2012, when there was a single Republican donor spending approximately $1 million here in Vermont. The VTGOP is just trying to bankroll their way towards relevance. It’s not going to work. Vermonters have already made it clear that the right-wing agenda has no place in our state, and they will make it clear again on November 4th. The RSLC is spending six figures on behalf of VTGOP candidates and that money comes directly from the Koch brothers and other insidious sources.

That’s from Ben Sarle, the VT Dems’ communications director. Now, naturally you’d expect him to say that. But the facts on the ground support his assertions. No matter what RSLC does, the Dems are extremely unlikely to lose more than a handful of legislative seats; it’s even possible that they’ll add a few to their outsized majorities.

But shed no tears for the RSLC. They’ve got money to burn, with a donor list that’s a Who’s Who of corporate America. In 2012 alone, RSLC spent some $39 million in state campaigns. So a lousy $142,000? That’s pocket change.

Oh, for your further entertainment, here’s the RSLC’s Top 20 donors for the year so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 12.45.55 AM

Mmmm, delightful. Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Banking, Big Pharma. Big Telecom. Wal-Mart. Gambling. The US Chamber of Commerce. They’re all there.

Inclluding at least a couple of Bigs that have been generous to Governor Shumlin: Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Comcast.

Huh.

Say, Ben, perhaps you’d best tone down that talk about “insidious sources.”