The Montana Democratic Party, however, is in financial disarray.
Yep – it’s time to follow the money.
The Montana Republican Party’s Finances
The report is 34 pages long.
In that report we learn that the Montana Republican Party took in nearly $50,000 for the month, spent around $22,000 and had $135,000 in the bank as July began.
This means the Montana Republicans took in $28,000 for the month, minus expenses. They’re ahead, unlike the Democrats…which we’ll get to later on.
The Republicans didn’t take any PAC money or money from political committees.
It’s a lot easier to get into individual donations on the Republican side, as their report is a lot smaller. Here are some names that stood out to me:
- Gianforte Victory Fund: $8,400
- RNC: $15,000
- Jeff Essman: $1,500
- Nancy Ballance: $1,300
- Glen Oppel: $100
On the spending side, this is what stood out to me:
- $10,000 to Minnesota’s Strategic Fundraising for fundraising/voter ID test
- $1,761 to Helena’s James Brown Law Office for legal fees
When it comes to staffing, the Montana Republican Party spent about $7,600 to keep 5 people on the payroll:
- John Durnal: $2,503
- John Branham: $2,220
- Wyatt Bertsch: $1,334
- Nate Wordal: $866
- Grace Berner: $669
In addition to that, another $2,703 was spent on payroll taxes and $422 on insurance.
That means it took the Montana Republican Party $10,700 to keep those five people on staff.
Considering they took in $50,000 for the month and had a surplus of $28,000 at the end of the month, this is good business.
The Montana Democratic Party’s Finances
The report is 212 pages long.
In that report we learn that the Montana Democratic Party took in $212,000 for June, spent $269,000, and had $477,000 in the bank as July got started.
This means the Democrats actually spent $57,000 more than they raised, which is a consistent trend (we’ll explain more as we continue).
The Democrats accepted $68,000 in PAC money and took another $31,000 from political committees.
You rub my back, I’ll rub yours.
We know the Montana Democratic Party has no ethics, as they took a $64,000 bribe from the Hillary Victory Fund during the 2016 election to throw the Montana Primary her way.
Voters thwarted their efforts (the state went for Bernie), but the Montana Democrats still put their superdelegates forth to push Hillary over the top at the convention.
Many of the Democrats that signed-off on that bribe are still on the Party’s payroll.
There are 75 pages listing the donations the MT Dems received in June.
It’s interesting to note the $13,000 received from the DNC State Party Victory fund, and the $35,000 the DNC gave, and the $58,000 the DSCC gave.
Here are some other fun ones:
- Friends of Max Baucus: $50,000
- The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers PAC: $5,000
- America Works PAC: $5,000
- BNSF Rail PAC: $1,500
- Montanans for Tester: $1,000
- Montana Credit Unions League PAC: $1,000
- Friends of Moffie Funk: $70
Now let’s get into the spending.
The Montana Democrats actually use City National Bank for their credit cards. The bank is based out of Beverly Hills.
Montana Democrats could use a Montana company for this, but they choose to give their money to Californians instead of their neighbors.
Another company the Party uses for their cards is based out of Virginia.
The highly-paid staffers at MT Dem HQ consciously make the decision to send their money out-of-state.
Remember, their money comes from political donations given by regular people. Still…many of the Party’s donations are coming from out-of-state.
Here are some other spending highlights:
- $4,500 to D.C.’s New Blue Interactive for donor development
- $9,900 to San Francisco’s Ambrosino Muir Hansen Crounse for printing
- $650 to Chicago’s Blue State Digital for web services
- $668 to Dallas’ Lexis Nexis for web services
- $1,053 to Delta to fly to Atlanta
- $752 to United to fly to Elk Grove Village in Illinois
- $400 to Helena’s Meloy Law Firm
- $400 to D.C.’s Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb for legal fees
Now let’s get to the real problem the Montana Democratic Party has: too many people on staff.
The Montana Democratic Party spent over $109,000 to keep 44 people on staff in June:
- Nancy Keenan: $6,175
- Megan Simpson: $6,126
- Austin Lyle: $4,530
- Trent Bolger: $4,492
- Ted Dick: $4,387
- Julie Laliberte: $3,811
- Brooke Bainum: $3,658
- Roy Lowenstein: $3,328
- Olivia Stilils: $3,328
- Justin Ailport: $3,198
- Mariah Gladstone: $3,176
- Lindsey Birk: $3,149
- Nick Lockridge: $3,100
- Nick Phalen: $2,959
- Kate Sheridan: $2,959
- Blair Monson: $2,917
- Gwen Coon: $2,817
- Luke Siebert: $2,773
- Joe Shelly: $2,451
- Elizabeth Darnell: $2,443
- George Wolcott: $2,426
- Dylan Wells: $2,401
- Alanna Wulf: $2,401
- Jane Jacoby: $2,401
- Josiah Porcel: $2,401
- Pat Northup: $2,401
- Vince Camillo: $2,360
- Taylor Cain: $1,994
- Yetta Stein: $1,946
- Walker Conyngham: $1,688
- TaNeel Filesteel: $1,312
- Brendan Koch: $1,203
- Jaymie Krem: $1,200
- Lauren Meininger: $1,200
- Alex Mull-Dreyer: $1,200
- Arthur Pettit: $1,180
- Mara Maus: $1,180
- Lydia Dal Nogare: $1,159
- Bridget Dolan: $1,159
- Kenny Griffen: $1,159
- Allison Dale-Riddle: $930
- Alec Eskind: $791
- Cassidy Chassagne: $715
- Cassie Powell: $507
In addition to that, the Dems spent over $22,000 on health insurance for those staffers.
Another $155,000 was spent on payroll taxes for those staffers, and $4,461 was spent on eating out.
When we add all that up, we find that the Montana Democratic Party spent a whopping $291,000 just to keep its 44 staffers on the job.
Remember, the Party only took in $212,000 for the month…meaning they have a deficit of $79,000 when it comes to staffing.
This is no way to run a business.
Their efforts didn’t yield a win, however.
- 25,000 more Republicans voted in their House primary than did Democrats.
- 39,000 more Republicans voted in their Senate primary than did Democrats.
Democrats spent nearly $300,000 on staffers to get those numbers, compared with the $11,000 the GOP spent.
And the GOP is winning.
If you’re a Democrat, these numbers have got to be frustrating. Despite spending lots of money, the Party isn’t winning.
Republicans should be overjoyed, as well as hopeful that the Democrats continue just as they are.
Are Republicans winning in Montana because of how the Montana Democratic Party chooses to spend its money?
Is the Montana Democratic Party’s allocation of resources helping them to win?
The only winners when it comes to Montana Dem spending are the 44 staffers we listed, as well as the businesses that make money from them…most of which are out-of-state.
The Montana GOP is doing everything right…mostly because they have a strong sense of fiscal conservatism when it comes to the money people give them, and they have few staffers to eat up those donations.
For over a year now I’ve been digging into these reports, usually once a month.
Nothing has changed on the Dem side, and I don’t expect it to. The Party has a dearth of leadership. Self-aggrandizement seems to be their only goal.
I hope for the sake of common workers in this state that the Dems can get their act together.
Until then, I think it’s clear that the Montana Republican Party is the clear winner in the state, both financially and electorally.
Kidder, Margot. “How Hillary Clinton Bought the Loyalty of 33 State Democratic Parties.” Counterpunch. 1 April 2016. https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/01/how-hillary-clinton-bought-the-loyalty-of-33-state-democratic-parties/
“Montana Democratic Party Report of Receipts and Disbursements.” FEC. 20 July 2018. http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/778/201807209116047778/201807209116047778.pdf
“Montana Republican State Central Committee Report of Receipts and Disbursements.” 18 July 2018. http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/526/201807189115751526/201807189115751526.pdf