Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: More than $5 Million Raised; Does Joe Arpaio Have Largest Exploratory Campaign War Chest, EVER?

Yesterday, Arizona's Politics reported that Joe Arpaio was "formally kicking off" his 2012 campaign for a 6th four-year term as Sheriff of Maricopa County.  Fittingly, such an announcement came in the body of a fundraising e-mail, and prompted the question of just how much money has Arpaio raised BEFORE announcing his re-election.

Given yesterday's news that Jerry Lewis will be retiring from hosting the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon, it seems fitting that I should ask for a drumroll................ nearly $4.7 MILLION ($4,688,840.44)!!!  That figure is for the periods of Nov. 25, 2008 - Nov. 22, 2010; it is likely that by now, he is well over $5 million.

The truth is that the Arpaio re-election committee never stops actively raising money.  In the 13-month "dead period" after winning his fifth term (Nov. 25, 2008 - Dec. 31, 2009), his committee received more than $1.2 million dollars.  Nearly $100,000 per month..  Last year, his monthly take was nearly $300,000 per month.

All of these contributions are from individuals (around the country), and there is a cap of $430.00 per individual. 

As noted in yesterday's article, Arpaio did actually spend for his re-election campaign last year, and spent approximately $544,000 in advertising.  Most of that advertising chiefly touted political friends running in the 2010 elections (and bad-mouthed opponents), and he was fined $77,000 for some that were determined to be illegal in-kind contributions.

Not all of those contributions are still in the war chest, however.  It generally costs money to raise money, and Arpaio's committee is no exception.  Pulling out the advertsing expenditures - and the less than $40,000 spent in subsequent legal costs - Arpaio paid out (he is the Treasurer) more than $1.3 million ($1,344,537.40) in expenses.  The vast majority of those dollars were paid to Summit Consulting, which - during a campaign - provides much more than just fundraising services to Arpaio's committee.  (If you assume that most of the expenses during this pre-campaign period were for the fundraising, that is a fundraising expense percentage of 28.7%.)

The cash on hand, as of November 22, 2010, was $2,828,160.00.  Even subtracting the fine and conservatively guesstimating net receipts (which probably received a big boost when Arpaio flirted with running for Jon Kyl's Senate seat) and legal expenses, it is very possible that the war chest is over $3 million.  And, no doubt, yesterday's e-mail will bring in a new flood of small contributions.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

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