Nicholas Confessore and Maggie Haberman at the New York Times studiously avoided talking about Hillary Clinton's campaign spending in their front-page print edition story Thursday ("Hillary Clinton Lags in Engaging Grass-Roots Donors").
Mrs. Clinton hauled in $48.7 million, but she spent a stunning $18.7 million. As seen in a table accompanying the Times story, that's more than triple that of any other candidate in the race from either party — for someone with no worries about name recognition.
As Bloomberg News's Jennifer Epstein noted: "While the campaign has sought out media attention for its thrift – especially on travel expenses – the numbers are less generous." I'll say. They also raise concerns the Times and the rest of the press would be screaming about as betraying potential campaign weaknesses if they saw similar expenditures in the FEC reports of Republican or conservative candidates.
Here are some of the eyebrow-raisers among the 4,912 separate disbursements listed in Hillary for America's 14,725-page Federal Election Commission filing. I tried to concentrate on listed expenditures of $50,000 or more and instances of multiple large disbursements to specific vendors, so the amounts which follow may be a bit understated.
Mrs. Clinton has a very large and arguably bloated payroll. In June alone, her campaign remitted $864,000 in payroll taxes, implying a lowball-estimated gross payroll of at least $2 million. That's a rate going forward of at least $6 million per quarter, which by itself is more than any other campaign spent on everything during the second quarter.
Why is a candidate with such high name recognition spending at least $2 million on "Direct Marketing" and about $1.4 million on "Online Advertising" over a half-year before the first primaries?
Why does a candidate who supposedly has a clear vision for the America she wants need to spend about $1.5 million on "Polling"? It seems like Mrs. Clinton is more interested in finding out what voters want her to say instead of telling them what she actually believes.
There are also extraordinary amounts being spent for "tech services" to multiple vendors, and six-figure payments to event producers and travel providers, which may indicate a candidate and campaign staff which is disorganized but determined to live the high life while claiming to be reaching out to everyday people.
Finally, there's almost $400,000 in "legal services" to two law firms. One specializes in "navigating the complexities of campaign law"; the other brags about its work in "voting rights." How are the other campaigns getting by without shelling out this kind of money?
Bloomberg's Epstein notes that "there's plenty of financial pressure on Clinton and the outside groups backing her ..."
One big reason for that pressure is clearly that Mrs. Clinton's campaign is blowing through her war chest at a stunning $230,000 per day. It would appear that the New York Times would prefer that its readers not know about that, or about the lack of confidence many of the campaign's expenditures appear to betray.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.