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View Full Version : The very rich are ... "different"


tworiverswoman
06-05-2010, 12:02 AM
I really don't know what else to say. Extravagant (http://apnews.myway.com/article/20100604/D9G4M3P00.html) doesn't begin to cover it. (The bold-face in the following is my addition)


Former eBay CEO rewrites campaign spending book


Jun 4, 4:28 PM (ET)

By JULIET WILLIAMS
ACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Chartered jets that offer "white glove service," fancy fundraisers in Beverly Hills and beyond, and enough high-priced political consultants to fill an auditorium.
Those are a few of billionaire Meg Whitman's favorite things as she carries out her remarkably lavish campaign for California governor.
Whitman's top political consultant, Mike Murphy, makes $90,000 a month. A crew of videographers and the former White House photographer chronicle her stops around the Golden State. She bought an entire TV channel at the host hotel during the state convention while hiring consultants from Florida to Los Angeles to help her blanket the airwaves with a never-ending stream of advertising.
The former eBay CEO has spent more than $81 million so far - $71 million from her personal fortune. And if she wins the GOP nomination on Tuesday, it marks only the halfway point in her quest for office.
Whitman or her Republican rival, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, will face Democratic candidate Jerry Brown and a host of deep-pocketed, Democratic-aligned special interests in what surely will be a record-setting spending spree.
Whitman's outsize spending, detailed in her recently filed campaign fundraising report, stands in stark contrast to her austerity plans for California should she win the primary and get elected in November to replace Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
She is promising to dramatically cut state spending, eliminate 40,000 state workers and bring a "common sense" budgeting approach to California.
The California Nurses Association, which supports Brown in the governor's race, has already seized on the irony, launching a campaign to stop Whitman from "crowning herself Queen of California." The union has hired an actress to portray "Queen Meg" outside some of Whitman's appearances.
Whitman says she is trying to run a "smart strategic campaign," and wants to make sure all Californians have a chance to hear her plan before they choose the next governor.
Political consultants are by far the biggest beneficiaries of Whitman's largesse.
The Washington-based advertising agency Smart Media Group has received more than $47 million from her campaign. Smart Media's website says its goal is to "saturate your message without wasting money." More than a dozen consultants on the campaign make more than $15,000 a month.
Whitman's advertising assault includes all kinds of political gimmicks. Among the unique and undoubtedly expensive tactics is a 30-minute, prerecorded town hall commercial and a cable TV spot that lets viewers order a Whitman bumper sticker by pressing a button on their remote control.
Whitman's campaign also spent $43,000 at the celebrity-favored Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, $44,000 at the U.S. Grant Luxury Collection Hotel in San Diego's historic Gaslamp district, $30,000 at an exclusive corporate resort in San Francisco, and $20,000 at Bernardus Lodge & Winery, "nestled among the oaks and vineyards of scenic Carmel Valley," according to its website.
She also has spent $530,000 on chartered plane service since 2009, on top of more than $700,000 in other travel costs.
Whitman has outspent Poizner 2-to-1 over the last two months, just as he stepped up his campaign spending in the final stretch before the primary.
Poizner is wealthy in his own right, after selling a GPS cell-phone chip company for $1 billion. Yet the $25 million he has spent from his own fortune seems almost minuscule by comparison.
Poizner also has hired a roster of highly paid Washington, D.C.-based consultants, and the firm of his chief media strategist has collected $17.5 million to date. Poizner's campaign manager, Jim Bognet, saw his salary jump from $18,000 to $25,000 a month in February.
Poizner's campaign finance reports do not break out most individual salaries, however, making it difficult to compare with Whitman's.
Meanwhile, Brown is running lean. The attorney general and former governor has relied on unpaid volunteers and finally hired campaign manager Steven Glazer, who is now making $15,000 a month after working for free much of last year.
Brown has spent just $400,000 so far this year - about $4,400 on budget-friendly Southwest Airlines - and has banked $20.6 million from fundraising efforts.
He has said he is saving his resources for what undoubtedly will be a costly general election run.

Granted, it's her own money. She can spend it as she likes. But the irony is ... disgusting.

GonzoTheGreat
06-05-2010, 03:10 AM
Yes, they are (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySc12uzoxqU).

I hadn't even remembered that the policy example she gave is very relevant right now. "Limited off shore drilling with strict environmental oversight" indeed! If she'd won, then BP wouldn't be in the trouble it is now facing.

bowlwoman
06-05-2010, 12:28 PM
If she'd won, then BP wouldn't be in the trouble it is now facing.

Yes, but then she'd be living in the Pink House. :D

Frenzy
06-05-2010, 10:49 PM
everything's more expensive in California. If candidates want to waste their money propping up the media, hotel, travel, and idiot segments of the economy, whatever. i wish they'd leave the robo-calling segment of the economy alone, though. it's annoying.

The Governor may propose the budget and ultimately sign it, but it's the Legislature that actually makes the final version. That's where the power is, and the district boundaries are so gerrymandered that the power rarely shifts. Here's a map (http://www.assembly.ca.gov/committee/c7/2001pdfs/2001ADOverview.pdf). Crazy.

Terez
06-06-2010, 07:47 AM
I didn't realize that the Governator wasn't eligible to run again. Oh well...it was fun while it lasted...

Crispin's Crispian
06-06-2010, 12:44 PM
I worked closely with a wealthy guy that ran for Congress. He wasn't "very rich," but he has some extravagancies.

What is irksome is the whole political consultant phenomenon. These people make an assload of money to tell candidates what to say, how to act, and how to vote, and most of them are just consultants. They've never had any experience on the job!

The other part that bothers me more is just the overall waste. People spend millions, tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars on campaigns. And if they lose? The money is gone. Can you imagine what a decent charity could do with $10 million? When I worked in fundraising at the university, we would jump up and down about a $1,000 gift.

JSUCamel
06-06-2010, 12:50 PM
The other part that bothers me more is just the overall waste. People spend millions, tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars on campaigns. And if they lose? The money is gone. Can you imagine what a decent charity could do with $10 million? When I worked in fundraising at the university, we would jump up and down about a $1,000 gift.

I agree completely. I think there should be a law or something that mandates that candidates for office should give X percentage of their spending to charitable causes of some kind. I dunno.

But I would point out that if a candidate who spent $90 million on a campaign loses, that money isn't completely wasted. It employed hundreds, if not thousands, of people, from campaign organizers to actors and commercial directors to accountants...

Terez
06-06-2010, 02:51 PM
I worked closely with a wealthy guy that ran for Congress. He wasn't "very rich," but he has some extravagancies.

What is irksome is the whole political consultant phenomenon. These people make an assload of money to tell candidates what to say, how to act, and how to vote, and most of them are just consultants. They've never had any experience on the job!

The other part that bothers me more is just the overall waste. People spend millions, tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars on campaigns. And if they lose? The money is gone. Can you imagine what a decent charity could do with $10 million? When I worked in fundraising at the university, we would jump up and down about a $1,000 gift.
I've ranted on this before, but you're right that the main problem is waste. If political advertising was limited to YouTube videos - or any kind of freebie internet website where you could 'go here and see what the candidates have to say' - imagine how much money they would save. Yeah, they should probably be allowed to do touring and such, but I think that spending should be severely limited.

Frenzy
06-06-2010, 04:54 PM
i think there's a proposition that'll give candidates public money to run a campaign, but i don't know if it limits what can be spent. i have to read my ballot book this weekend, since the election's on Tuesday.

JSUCamel
06-06-2010, 05:58 PM
i think there's a proposition that'll give candidates public money to run a campaign, but i don't know if it limits what can be spent. i have to read my ballot book this weekend, since the election's on Tuesday.

I seem to recall during the Obama/McCain race, there was a lot of hubbub about the public campaign option, where they relied on public funds only. One of them (i think it was Obama) decided to go with private funds, and wound up raising a ton of money. I wonder what would happen if the public funding option was made mandatory.

Frenzy
06-07-2010, 12:45 AM
I wonder what would happen if the public funding option was made mandatory.
Nobody would give a shit about elections, because nobody would know about them.

Crispin's Crispian
06-07-2010, 10:32 AM
I agree completely. I think there should be a law or something that mandates that candidates for office should give X percentage of their spending to charitable causes of some kind. I dunno.

But I would point out that if a candidate who spent $90 million on a campaign loses, that money isn't completely wasted. It employed hundreds, if not thousands, of people, from campaign organizers to actors and commercial directors to accountants...
I'd love to rejoice about that Camel, but see my previous paragraph.:mad: There are individuals and corporations that make their living off campaign consulting, and a lot of that money goes directly to them. I'm not saying they're not often valuable or necessary, but I just know they are pretty free with their spending and just move on to the next mark...ahem...candidate when the election is over.



I've ranted on this before, but you're right that the main problem is waste. If political advertising was limited to YouTube videos - or any kind of freebie internet website where you could 'go here and see what the candidates have to say' - imagine how much money they would save. Yeah, they should probably be allowed to do touring and such, but I think that spending should be severely limited.

I think limiting spending would be more effective than limiting who can contribute, but you still have some free speech complications. Plus you would have to be very strict with PACs (and now corporations) that would "donate" free air time.

Nobody would give a shit about elections, because nobody would know about them.If this means I could watch my favorite shows, listen to my favorite radio programs, and have dinner without a phone call, I'm happy.

Davian93
06-07-2010, 10:55 AM
I think limiting spending would be more effective than limiting who can contribute, but you still have some free speech complications. Plus you would have to be very strict with PACs (and now corporations) that would "donate" free air time.

Thankfully, the current iteration of SCOTUS has ruled that Corporations are People too so now we get to see corporate political spending out in the open. I mean, that's not ridiculous or anything.

As for political advertising, I was amazed at how bad the 08 race was. I mean, in VT, both sides probably spent a total of $0.00 as VT is a guaranteed win for the Dems on the Presidential level but we traveled to PA in October 08 to visit family and PA (being a swing state) was inundated with political advertising...it was insane.

Ivhon
06-07-2010, 11:09 AM
Thankfully, the current iteration of SCOTUS has ruled that Corporations are People too so now we get to see corporate political spending out in the open. I mean, that's not ridiculous or anything.

I wonder how it is going with the Murray Hill, Inc. campaign.