As of 31 March, declared presidential candidates filed their receipts, their disbursements and what’s most important for the coming months, their cash on hand.
In a surprising turnabout, Kirsten Gillibrand is in the Top Five with over ten million dollars in her campaign bank. However, that figure is inflated by a $9.6 million transfer from her 2020 Senate campaign fund rather than a mad rush of donations. She received nearly $3 million in individual contributions including 685 contributors sending the full $2800. This puts Gillibrand on somewhat precarious footing. First, she will be cash-strapped in her 2024 Senate campaign, having robbed it to inflate her presidential run. And, she maxed-out donations from a hefty number of individuals with the first debate still a month away. She’ll need a top performance and a new set of donors.
John Delaney, the former Maryland Congressman, hits the #4 spot with $10.5 million cash on hand. The wealthy businessman whose net worth ranged from $232 million (2015) to $96 million (2019), is basically self-funding his run for the presidency. His FEC file shows personal loans of $11,700,000 plus an additional candidate contribution of $30,505. Of the contributions made by supporters, over $30K had to be refunded.
Elizabeth Warren has likewise boosted her campaign with a transfer from her Senate fund. However, she described the $10,415,000 as “2018 Excess Campaign Funds.” Warren has enjoyed over $6 million in contributions – double that of Gillibrand – and carefully spent during her campaign’s first months, leaving her over $11 million as the primary moves into second gear. She also has not dipped into funds for any future Senate runs should 2020 be unsuccessful.
Bernie Sanders is looking good with $15,661,950.36 cash on hand at the start of April. In his second bid for the presidency, Sanders has an established donor base that happily tossed over $18 million into his campaign pot. He gifted his campaign $2.5 million from his 2016 campaign funds, and still has another $2M from that source. Something to keep an eye on for 2020 are Refunds. Already, his campaign returned $39,323.92 to donors, likely for donations over the legal limit. In the 2016 run, Sanders was constantly in violation of FEC laws – with questionable donations in the millions – and a very high percentage of illegal foreign donations.
Republican Donald Trump tops the list with an astounding $40,762,192.70 in his coffers. Interestingly, $30 million in contributions are from the 2019 first quarter cycle. Another $22 million of his monies are prior donations. A closer look at Trump’s Disbursements could definitely prove fruitful. For example, why is a presidential campaign fund paying consulting fees to a NY-based law firm that specializes in real estate (Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman)? And then there’s LaRocca Hornik Rosen Greenberg & Blaha, a law firm that’s been on the Trump payroll since 2016, and also legal reps for his antithesis Stormy Daniels along with Michael Cohen and Trump’s former bodyguard Keith Schiller. Donors might be interested in knowing their buck is paying rent for Trump Tower, Trump Plaza and Trump Restaurants and legal fees for the Trump Organization while paying for a stable of law firms. But these are grains of sand in the mountain of mysterious Trump money transactions.
Ending Cash on Hand