Candidates were required to file their 2008 fund raising and spending reports with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission .
Here’s what we have discovered:
Hal Daub had a relatively commanding lead in fundraising in 2008. He raised over $300,000 — about $70,000 more than Councilman Jim Suttle and double that of Councilman Jim Vokal. He got big contributions from Hawkins Construction ($25K), Union Pacific ($20K) and his former MECA board member David Sokol ($10K) (amongst others).
Now, we say “relatively” commanding lead, because Daub also SPENT a lot of money during 2008. He went through $142,000 of that $320,000 in 2008. Now keep in mind, that number does NOT include cash spent on his TV ads in January of 2009. So his Cash on Hand (COH) number as of today, not counting any additional receipts, will likely be lower than the $178,000 listed.
For what it’s worth, Daub spent $50K on salaries and another $20K on consulting services from former Omaha City Councilman (and now Arizona resident) Jim Cleary.
Another big chunk for Daub was $16K spent on a poll in May. Of course he then took that poll and showed it to donors to strengthen his positions. Sometimes you gotta spend money to raise money.
Now these are all probably necessary expenditures, but it does show that someone could be sneaking up on Daub.
And that’s Jim Suttle.
Suttle’s reports show him having raised $247,000 — but in 2008, he only spent $67,000. That leaves him with COH to the tune of $180,000 — essentially neck and neck with Daub. Keep in mind that while Suttle has not yet spent any money on TV, these are all pre-January numbers and Daub hadn’t spent any yet either.
Though it’s not as if Jim Suttle hasn’t spent money either. The problem with Suttle’s report is just WHAT he spent the money on.
To get a taste of this, we can see that Suttle paid, “Jim Suttle” $13,181 in 2008 for “Expenses”. What Expenses you might ask? Well, you’re apparently going to have to ask, because that is as detailed as his report gets.
And then there’s the $75K that he has paid to Clear Communications Partners. What do these guys do? Well…Suttle paid them “Retainer Expenses”. Then there was two months worth of “Consulting” (ok, we’ll assume that). And finally there was “various expenses” and “associated costs”. That’s pretty much transparent reporting, eh?
(Oh and by the way, what’s with the “Loan” info in Schedule C? Suttle lent the campaign $45K. Then, according to the summary, it was all paid back. But then in the Schedule it says only $25,000 was paid back. But that’s OK, because around $214K was transferred from the “Friends of Jim Suttle” account to the “Suttle for Mayor” account. How do we know this? Well, guessing. Because it’s not detailed anywhere — not in his receipts to the Mayor campaign nor in the expenditures for the “Friends”. But, you know, whatever…)
A few notable contributions to the Suttle campaign include $10K from David Sokol in September 2008 (about six months after Suttle lead the opposition to the new stadium), $1000 from former Senator Dave Karnes, $1,000 from Hawkins and $2,000 from U.P.
Jim Vokal’s report shows that he didn’t get many of the heavy-hitters like Daub and Suttle. A few notables were $3,000 from developer Jay Noddle, $6,000 from HDR PAC (Jim Suttle’s former company), $500 from Dave Karnes and $500 from David Sokol. A chuckle-worthy one is $325 from three different contributions in June and July of 2008 from one Hal Daub. Vokal hadn’t announced yet then, and we’ll assume Hal was hoping he’d stay out.
Vokal’s numbers also do not represent what he spent on TV in January 2009, so, like Daub and Suttle, we would expect his present numbers to be lower. How much lower? We don’t know.
Some of Vokals expenditures include $10K paid to Blackwell Sanders (Hal Daub’s law firm) for legal expenses related to (we’ll assume) fighting the charge he used public space for an old ad (which he won). There is also $26K paid to Dresner Wickers for the production of his ads. We don’t know whether the Daub or Suttle outlays represent those type of expenditures, but that can represent a chunk of change.
Also, other than payments for their consultant, there are no expenditures for staff salaries represented, though there seem to be at least three staffers who would begin getting paid starting in January.
In the end (of this report) Vokal is down about $80K to Daub and Suttle (though what everyone spent in January will make a big difference on those numbers). It looks like Vokal has some serious catching-up to do on the cash front.
Is Vokal too far behind in the money race to make it a difference maker? Does Suttle have enough cash to make a splash on the scene, or do voters already know plenty about him? Can Daub parlay his fund raising into vote-getting?
You’re an opinionated bunch. You tell us.
(And here is the OWH’s take on the whole thing.)
It seems that while he may not be on TV (that we’ve seen), Jim Suttle has done some sort of video-making. And there’s a decent chance that it was Suttle himself who made them using his camera phone, because the vid is about as impressive as his suck-tastic campaign website.
The video shows various business peeps giving testimonials about Suttle. But the lighting is poor, there’s some bad music overlayed, and the productions values pretty much blow. Compare that to the videos on Daub’s website or the Vokal ads, and you can see what we mean.
And then while Daub probably has the top website, and Vokal’s is clean and clear, the aforementioned Suttle site if just awful. It reminds us of a cheap fast-food website, it has the goofy unwieldy photo section and is just plain dull.
What is interesting is that he then spent four grand with a local company, Secret Penguin, to develop some sort of alternate site. That site, at OmahaNext.com, is very hip, cool and has some funky graphics. But…what’s the point? It lists some generic platitudes of Suttle’s and while it looks cool, we don’t see where it fits into a campaign strategy. Why they didn’t just have Secret Penguin re-do their whole site (as long as they were going to blow $4K), we don’t know.
And remember our old Congressman Lee Terry? Haven’t heard from him in a while, except here and there on the bailout stories. Well, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants you to ‘member.
They’re now running ads saying that Terry is mean and awful and un-Obamaic because he joined the bipartisan group that opposed the partisan Democrat bunch who want to spend a ridiculous amount of your money on stuff as fast as possible.
Of course, the horse has already left the barn on that House vote, so it’s strange that they’re bothering attacking Terry now.
Especially when the guy they SHOULD be hitting is one Senator E. Benjamin Nelson!
So please people, write and call your Senator. And tell him that he should…well… What’s his position again?