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August 20, 2010

Where Has All the Campaign Money Gone?

Welcome_to_vt_sign* updated below *

A reader asked in response to one of my recent posts on Tuesday's campaign finance reports: How much are candidates spending in-state versus out-of-state? Are they providing their own campaign-fueled stimulus to the Vermont economy? Good questions.

It is possible to glean from the campaign reports where the record amounts of money being raised is going, however, it takes time to add up each set of figures and then ask questions of each candidate.

The figures in this blog post are rounded up, or down, depending and the in-state spending includes money spent at gas stations, restaurants and other establishments that might not be locally-owned.

A caveat: I didn't include the money paid to out-of-state consultants hired to make in-state media buys. Instead, I've tallied those separately. Why? Because consultants often take a 10 to 15 percent cut from each buy and then spend the rest on local TV and radio stations. Those percentage cuts don't show up as separate line items in the report, and in some cases those out-of-state firms hire in-state crews to produce the ads. I've tried to parse out some of that in separate email requests or phone calls.

Here's the big picture: During the past 30 days, the six major party candidates for governor spent $854,054. Of that, $253,660 went out-of-state for a variety of services: Campaign consulting, polling, campaign literature and signs, as well as other campaign collateral. 

Combined, the five Democrats and lone Republican have spent $185,000 on in-state items such as payroll, some campaign printing and such.

Of the six, the award of "Mr. Stimulus" goes to President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, not surprising since he's loaned, or given in-kind donations, totaling $243,000 to his campaign.

Shumlin spent the most out-of-state at $127,000, but he also spent the most-in-state, if you include the nearly $300,000 he spent on TV and radio advertising. The largest chunk of his out-of-state spending went to Chadderton Group to produce those slick mailers most people in Vermont have received ... more than once.

Campaign manager Alex MacLean said Chadderton doesn't print those flyers in-state as Vermont's only in-state union print shop was already at capacity*. [see corrected information below]

That's thanks to rival Sen. Doug Racine who spent about $14,000 at First Step Print Shop in Underhill in the past month. Secretary of State Deb Markowitz spent about $1000 in the past month.

In all, four Democrats — Shumlin, Markowitz, Racine and Matt Dunne — spent $564,077 on advertising. If you assume a low-ball amount of 10 percent given as a cut to the consultants, that figure shrinks to about $508,000.

Not all out-of-state spending stays out-of-state. Half of the more than $11,000 that Racine paid to his media consultant — $6500 — to make his lone TV ad returned to Vermont.

Racine campaign manager Amy Shollenberger said the bulk of that $6500 was paid to Vermont subcontractors who worked on the ad.

Ditto Markowitz's campaign who claims that of the $175,000 spent on advertising, about $9500 went to its media consultant Adelstein Liston as a fee, another $18,000 was paid out to a Vermont subcontractor to produce the ads, and the rest was spent to air the ad.

"I think it is important, that our crew were all Vermonters. It was about $18,000 for the day. Peter Kent is a Vermonter that owns Cyclops Pictures. He was the director. All gaffers, make up artists, lighting and sound technicians were all from Vermont," said Paul Tencher, Markowitz's campaign manager.

Of the roughly $300,000 spent on advertising, MacLean says Shumlin's campaign spent $13,000 on Vermont-based companies to help produce the ads.

Just as not all out-of-state money stays in-state, not all in-state money may stay here either.

Campaign workers are not all Vermont-based. Some are college students here on break and live out-of-state during the school year while others are out-of-state professionals brought in just for the campaign season.

That's more the case with Dunne and Markowitz than other candidates, but hopefully those out-of-state folks are spending their dough in Vermont.

That said, Dunne's campaign manager is a former Vermonter who moved back to Vermont to run the campaign.

Of campaign workers, MacLean says five out of six of her campaign's staff are Vermonters. It appears all of Racine and Bartlett's staff are Vermonters as well.

Here's a quick rundown for each candidate and what they've spent in the past 30 days. I'll let readers derive the percentages for themselves. Have fun!

Susan Bartlett

Total spent: $6730

In-state: $6730 (I'm including the $900 paid to the IRS to pay taxes on employees).

Out-of-state: $0

Advertising: $0

Matt Dunne

Total spent: $117,100

In-state: $24,900

Out-of-state: $24,750

Advertising: $67,000

Deb Markowitz

Total spent: $239,200

In-state: $37,550

Out-of-state: $26,000

Advertising: $175,000

Doug Racine

Total spent: $77,400

In-state: $41,400

Out-of-state: $11,200

Advertising: $25,000

Peter Shumlin

Total spent: $320,940

In-state: $20,145

Out-of-state: $127,000

Advertising: $297,000

Brian Dubie

Total spent: $119,800

In-state: $54,070

Out-of-state: $64,730

Advertising: $0

* Update *

As you can see in the comments section below, the owner of First Step Print Shop in Underhill said she was never contacted by Chadderton Group to print up some of Shumlin's campaign literature. Nor, did she turn any business away.

Chadderton has called twice during this campaign season, Mary Martelle, the print shop's owner told Seven Days.

The first time was to print materials for Secretary of State candidate, Democrat Jim Condos. The group wanted 10,000 four-color flyers printed and delivered in two days. Martelle said she didn't turn the job down, telling the out-of-state firm she could print some of those items within the required two day timeline and supply the rest within three to four days.

The second call, Martelle said, requested she provide a quote on various print runs ranging from 5,000 to 500,000. She did provide the quote.

"I never heard back from them," she said.

Martelle said her print shop has printed hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature from many of the state's top pols, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Gov. Howard Dean.

"What makes me angry is by Chadderton telling the campaign this is now other candidates might think we're too busy to handle any jobs, and that's just simply not true," said Martelle.

"I've never turned anyone down," she added. "We work seven days a week, 24 hours a day if we have to get these jobs done."

Martelle said her print shop has printed up some work for Shumlin's campaign, about $2700 worth of  donation envelopes.

Please include Dennis Steele, whose campaign is grassroots and thus relies on personal contact with Vermonters, not phone banks, spam eMail, junk mail, TV spots and VPR's illegal promotions which non-profits aren't allowed to do.

It is personally repugnant to Vermonters such as myself, who are struggling to survive, that potential leaders are raising so much money and then sealing themselves off from the public, relying on consultants, and telling us what's good for us instead of ever listening.

By contrast, Dennis Steele has spent $0 outside of Vermont... I support Dennis because he listens! Since the media won't say it, his website is at

Mr. Wagner, I despise money in politics as well, and I despise the way campaigns are conducted, with polls, consultants, false promises, and speeches disguised as answers to questions in debates.

However, I think you are engaging in the same kind of misleading campaign tactics by not disclosing in your little diatribe above that the MAIN issue in Dennis Steele's campaign is Vermont secession.

As much as I despise the way politics are run in the US (and, increasingly, in VT), I'm certainly not going to vote for a secessionist, esp. one who has ties to the questionable so-called "Second Vermont Republic" organization.

@Robert: You're correct, I didn't include as he didn't raise or spend all that much. But, I should have. As I noted over on the Fair Game Facebook page, Dennis did have out-of-state spending - to Cafe Press in California for T-shirts and someone in New York State for "coins". I'm assuming those are the Second Vermont Republic coins, but I haven't checked yet with Dennis.

Here are his totals:

Total spent: $480

In-state: $208

Out-of-state: $272

Advertising: $0

The "secessionist" candidate spends 57% of his campaign spending out of state? Are T-shirts not capable of being made in Vermont?

I smell a dose of hypocrisy here.

I find articles like this one to be informative but yet very hurtful when statements are not checked out first. In regards to the following statement "Campaign manager Alex MacLean said Chadderdon doesn't print those flyers in-state as Vermont's only in-state union print shop was already at capacity." This statement should have been verified before it was printed in your paper because First Step Print Shop was NEVER contacted and at no time did we turn down any work because we were at full capacity. I feel that this statement has slandered our company and I would like it retracted. It is hard enough to keep a business running in Vermont and misinformation like this makes it harder.

@ Mary Martelle:

Don't blame Seven Days, blame Shumlin, who is incapable of telling the truth.

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