It’s 163 pages and covers the month of May.
Right away we see that the MT Dems had $196,158 cash on hand at the beginning of May.
They brought in $403,528 for the month and spent $342,509. They also transferred-in $109,860 and brought in another $27,296 in other federal receipts.
We see that $66,914 was spent on total operating expenditures, $20,000 was spent on independent expenditures, and $95,000 was spent on coordinated Party expenditures.
By the end of May the Montana Dems had $342,509 cash on hand.
Schedule A Itemized Receipts take up 81 pages of the report.
This tells us which individuals or which entities are giving the Party money.
We’re not really interested in this so much as we’re interested in the spending side of the equation.
We learn that by looking at Schedule B Itemized Disbursements, which begin on page 88 of the report.
Here are some things that stood out to me:
- The first four pages are just ActBlue service fees for all the donations that Dems brought in.
- $2,941 was spent on the National Democrats’ voter file…which after yet another election loss, kinda makes you wonder why.
- $4,917 was spent with California’s Gordon & Schwenkmeyer for fundraising consultations
- $385 was spent on May 17 to rent a park site in Missoula
- $7,000 was spent with D.C.’s New Blue Interactive for donor development
- $41,826 was spent with California’s Terris, Barnes & Walters for volunteer exempt mail for Rob Quist’s campaign
After that we get to Schedule E Itemized Independent Expenditures.
Here we see things like:
- $20,000 spent by D.C.’s DSPolitical for digital advertising opposing Gianforte
Following that are the Schedule F Itemized Coordinated Party Expenditures Made By Political Party Committees.
We see things like:
- $95,000 spent by Georgia’s Canal Media Partners to support Rob Quist in some unnamed way
After that we get to Scheule H4 Disbursements for Allocated Federal/Nonfederal Activity.
These are things like:
- $3,500 to Chicago’s Blue State Digital for web services
- $448 to Helena’s A1 Rental for an event expense on May 16
- $550 was spent flying someone to Atlanta on May 16, and once there, they spent $39 at a Braves game. It cost $568 to put them up at the Westin Atlanta and $468 to fly them back on May 18.
- $1,200 to the Meloy Law Firm in Helena
- $2,889 on liability insurance from Iowa’s Nationwide
- $1,350 to National Democrats in D.C. for the voter access network
- $1,200 to D.C.’s Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb for legal fees
And that’s all she wrote.
We also get salary information for Montana Democratic staffers…though it’s divided between Schedule B and Schedule H.
I suppose this is a nifty accounting trick that saves someone some money.
Here’s what these salaries look like, though I have to make a quick note:
For some individuals I added in the extra amounts they were paid, which is usually a reimbursement for something.
What this is a reimbursement for is not known, so I’m just listing this with their salaries.
Here are the highest paid Montana Democratic staffers:
- Trent Bolger: $7,500.60
- Nancy Keenan: $5,922.42
- Chris Meagher: $5,443.42
- Allison Dale-Riddle: $5,367.36
- Amanda Frickle: $4,213.06
- Nick Lockridge: $3,539.54
- Amy Hetzler: $3,263.70
- Justin Ailport: $3,078.81
- Kristen Cates: $2,323.95
- James Young: $2,243.26
- John Fauerbach: $1,987.36
- Jenny Eck: $549.60
- James Oberembt: $129.03
It cost $45,562 to pay those 13 people in May…but that’s not quite accurate.
In addition to their pay, we also had 26 instances of the Montana Democratic Party paying Illinois’s Paychex for payroll taxes.
That came to $58,788.
I’m not seeing anything for health insurance this month, so to pay the 13 people on staff it costs the Montana Democratic Party $104,350.
When you subtract that amount from the total money the Dems brought in for May, you see that Dems didn’t really take in $403,000 for May but just $299,000.
It’s just that so much of what the Party brings in is spent to pay just a handful of staffers.
And there are no concrete political victories to point to that can justify such high salaries, or so many people.
Alas, the Montana Democratic Party does not want to hear talk like that.
Start talking that way and you’ll be branded as an enemy of the Party…an enemy of the people…and just about every other epithet that these highly-paid individuals can come up with.
Finally, let’s get to the food.
For May the Montana Democrats ate out 26 times.
Many of these were responsible purchases, with low-level staffers buying food at Taco John’s or McDonald’s as they drove around the state. And some are people eating at Atlanta baseball games and fancy Atlanta restaurants.
I didn’t even add up all the reimbursements that James Young got for driving around.
I don’t know who that man is, but he seems to be one of the smarter staffers…or at least one that’s learning about the state.
Staffers like that are important, and likely do good work. Most of the rest of them, however, aren’t worth an asshole on an elbow.
All told, Montana Democrats spent $1,291 eating out in May.
This is a lot more than the $780 they spent in February, though not as much as the $9,500 they spent in March, but more than the $687 spent in April.
So in conclusion…
The Montana Democratic Party’s priorities are to pay a handful of staffers, keep them well-fed, travel them around a bit, and have them spend most of the Party’s income with out-of-state companies while at the same time guaranteeing them that win…lose…they’ll keep getting those pay raises no matter what.
Or am I wrong on that?
Finally…let’s get to the anger over my digging into these FEC reports.
Late last night I got a lot of blowback from Emily Harris about my reporting on these FEC filings.
As you might know, Harris was paid $2,828 a month by the Juneau campaign last spring. She was also paid $2,541 a month by the Quist campaign this year…but that was pushed up to $3,292 a month starting in April.
Both those candidates lost big time.
Harris won big time.
Yet she’s angry with me…for pointing out what she made…but also for not attacking men as much as I attack women.
I told her that I just read the dollar amounts by the names – man…woman…don’t matter to me.
But to individuals that go around with sexism on their mind all the time, it looks like this.
So I guess I can add that one to the list of things Democrats call me: sexist, anti-semitic, xenophobic…I’m sure there are more, but who really gives a fuck?
Some high-priced Dem staffer and her coterie of friends?
We saw how effective they are – damn good at looking after themselves; terrible at helping the people that are paying them to win.
I honestly hope we see more Emily Harris’s out there working on Dem campaigns.
The state isn’t red enough for some.