News & Politics

Hillary Clinton Burns Through Campaign Cash

Hey, Big Spender!

Although the $33 million raised by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton since January 2005 is a good story, the better story is how she’s already spent more than $16 million in a reelection race without real opposition. Where’s the money going?

Her campaign staff is larger than any in the country, with more than 40 staff and consultants as of June 30. She pays top salaries to some of the most talented fundraisers in the business. More than $300,000 has been allotted to polls; rivals suspect that some of it went for polling in Iowa. The New York press drooled over a series of $1,000-plus haircuts—“media production expenses”—from DC’s famed Christophe salon stylist Isabelle Goetz.

Under the aegis of former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe, the campaign is building what amounts to a shadow election machine. If Clinton decides to run for president, McAuliffe and other advisers will have an army of volunteers and a donor base of more than 250,000 Democrats.

Below the radar, the campaign has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to database firms like Copernicus Analytics, which specializes in “micro-targeting” voters and was key to delivering Northern Virginia voters to Tim Kaine last fall. Clinton’s campaign uses Copernicus to find donors.

The database work and polling also help Clinton’s advisers find new ways to sell her to diverse audiences, to maneuver around her polarizing past.

Outside consultants come and go like comets from the Clinton orbit. But one mainstay is Roy Spence, a longtime family friend and corporate marketing whiz. For years, he has fretted about Clinton’s appeal to white middle-class women and working women nationwide and has peppered the Clintons with bullet-pointed memos. Spence, president of an Austin-based marketing firm, is a major reason Southwest Airlines proliferated so quickly and Wal-Mart retains the trust of its customers.