- I can understand why no one at Helena Dem HQ wanted to talk to me yesterday.
- I can understand why they won’t call me.
- I can understand why they lash out at me for talking about the Party’s finances.
The reason is simple – the financial situation is worse than we thought.
'Dire' is word that comes to mind.
For instance, take a look at what the Montana Democratic Party spent their money on in February:
Pretty bad, huh?
I think it’s important to go through all of this, explaining it thoroughly.
All of the information is available on the FEC website. That’s where you can download the detailed PDF monthly, yearly, and pre- and post-general election reports.
Let’s get started.
The 2016 Year-End Report
It’s a 166-page PDF document that you can download here.
I’d say the first 125 pages or so are just Act Blue individual donor names, regular people giving $20 or more.
These are what we call FEC Schedule A Itemized Receipts.
The next 20 pages or so list Schedule B Itemized Disbursements.
These are mostly bills for goods and services received, though there are some salaries paid out, usually in monthly increments.
After that we get Schedule H4, Disbursements for Allocated Federal/Nonfederal Activity.
This is the real meat and potatoes.
Altogether, $1,418,677 was paid out for these H4 activities or events…or in many cases salaries.
At the end of the report we get some amounts for the last month of the year.
- Amy Croover: $2,295.47
- Nancy Keenan: $2,176.59
- Colleen Martin: $1,885.34
- Trent Bolger: $1,854.46
- Kristen Cates: $1,665.34
- Laurel Olkinetzky: $1,312.83
- Justin Ailport: $1,141.80
- John Brothers: $1,018.16
- Connor Joseph: $865.09
- Amy Croover: $815.09
- Abbigale Belcher: $639.61
Quite a few of those people are listed more than once, often with the same amount though sometimes less.
I’m listing these amounts now because I want you to realize – after you read the February 2017 salary amounts listed below – that despite having fewer workers in 2017, the staffers that are still there are making a lot more money this year.
They got rid of the old workers and took that now-available pay and gave it to themselves in the form of raises.
This at a time when most Montana workers are lucky to get a small 50 cent raise, including most of the MEA-MFT teachers and state workers the Party always clamors to support.
The March 2017 Report
Reports are due on the 20th of each month, so I’ll do another one of these posts in April.
The March report covers all the income and expenditures from February of this year.
We know that as March began, the Montana Democratic Party had $143,504 cash on hand.
That’s about $23,000 more than they had at the beginning of the period.
Over the course of February the Party disbursed $93,680.
When we get to expenditures we see the $25,000 transfer to the DNC that I mentioned earlier this week.
Many expenditure amounts in the year-end report are divided into both a federal share and a non-federal share.
When we look at the March report we see that same activity, with $10,446 spent on federal shares and $39,296 spent on non-federal shares.
That means the Montana Democratic Party paid out $49,742 for the month in those areas.
There was an additional $13,362 for other federal operating expenditures, bringing totally monthly costs up to $63,105.
So let’s get to employee pay listed by person.
The employees are paid twice a month, in this case February 3 and February 17, Fridays. The amounts listed are the totals for the month.
- Trent Bolger: $4,453.82
- Nancy Keenan: $4,356.94
- Kristen Cates: $3,334.34
- Justin Ailport: $3,078.80
- Nick Lockridge: $2,986.06
- Colleen Martin: $1,172.26
- Allison Dale-Riddle: $536.79
- James Oberembt: $237.69
That’s $20,156.80 paid out in salaries for February.
Now, Martin and Dale-Riddle were only paid once in February. Oberembt seems to be a very, very part-time employee.
Other than that, those are the monthly amounts. When we multiply them by 12 months we get the following yearly salaries:
- Trent Bolger: $53,445
- Nancy Keenan: $52,283
- Kristen Cates: $40,013
- Justin Ailport: $36,945
- Nick Lockridge: $35,832
So those are the main paid staffers of the Montana Democratic Party.
$218,000 a year for those five people.
And let’s not forget the thousands of dollars the Party pays in payroll taxes for these people. They use Illinois’ Paychex software for that, and pay a lot in service fees to use it.
Also, as you saw in the earlier graph, it doesn’t just take a lot of money to pay them.
It takes a lot to feed them as well!
- Lewis and Clark Brewing meals: $100
- Safeway meals: $200.23
- Mackenzie River Pizza meals: $174
- Blackfoot River Brewing Company meals: $140.40
- Murry’s meals: $46
- B&B Market meals: $41
- Brewhouse Pub meals: $40.25
- Bridge Pizza: $38.50
That comes to $780 spent eating out in February, or $27 a day.
Here are some more spending highlights from February:
- Mastercard: $2,236.68
- Meloy Law Firm in Helena: $2,000
- Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb PC (a firm based in D.C.) legal fees: $2,000
- NGP Voter Access Network from D.C.: $1,350
- Northwestern Energy: $901
- Holter Museum of Art site rental: $405
- Best Western lodging: $289.40
All that stuff totals $9,182.
I feel the Montana Democratic Party is spending money on the wrong things.
I wish I knew what those high-priced staffers do. An 'About Us' page on their website would be a great place to start.
It might make it easier to swallow those high salaries if we had that information.
And what’s with eating out all the time? I hope we see that curtailed, and significantly.
If you’re going to bombard Democratic voters with several emails a week, please don’t spend their money on food.
You make enough in salary – spend your own damn money, please.
Anyways, you can see why people get angry when I talk about this stuff.
It doesn’t mean I hate women.
It means I’m concerned about how things are going!
I don’t think the Dem Party brass realizes that. I hope you understand, however.
And let me make one final observation.
I did notice that the Tester for Victory Fund filed a statement of organization on March 13.
You can download the PDF here if you’d like.
The PAC is using Amalgamated Bank out of D.C.’s K Street and is affiliated with the DNC State Party Victory Fund, which is also based out of D.C.
Thanks for reading.