According to an article by James Buckley and Paul Gaige of The Atlas Project, Congressman Lou Barletta provides a prime example of the debt that Republicans don’t want to talk about: their own campaign finances.
The article does not say that debt itself is bad. Going into debt can bring positive results, as evidenced by Barletta’s re-election. Buckley and Gaige instead focus on the hypocrisy of Republicans “who pontificate on the evils of debt and claim government should ‘live within its means,’” while at the same time “have proven stunningly unable to do so when it comes to their own campaign finances.”
The Atlas Project provides targeting, messaging and overall strategy for clients like the Democratic Governors Association, EMILY’s List, and the AFL-CIO to name a few.
From The Atlas Project:
Lou Barletta (PA-11)
“Across the Commonwealth, families and businesses operate under a budget. They are forced to live within their means. I voted in favor of the “No Budget, No Pay” legislation, because it is time for Washington to do the same. If we are serious about achieving long-term fiscal responsibility, we must address fiscal accountability.” [Barletta Press Release, 1/23/13]
|Keystone Strategies, Inc. (Fundraising) – $31,820.38|
|Capital Strategies, D.C. (Fundraising) – $18,839.49|
|Mommoth Marketing (Printing) – $5,049.06|
|Robert Watkins & Company (Accounting) – $3,000.00|
|$3,000.00 for “Speaking Fee” for Tommy John|
|$10,000.00 for “Excess Funds” to the NRCC on 7/26/12|
|$10,000.00 for “Excess Funds” to the NRCC on 10/23/12|
|$20,000.00 for “Excess Funds” to the NRCC on 5/27/11|
|Source: Federal Elections Commission, accessed 2/28/13.|
Again, from the article:
Apparently one entity in the Commonwealth that is not operating under a budget is Barletta’s campaign committee. Barletta won his third attempt at a congressional race in 2010, having lost previously in 2002 and 2008. Following a favorable redistrict, Barletta won in 2012 with 58.5% of the vote. This safe district did not stop Barletta from ending the cycle more than $131,000 in debt ($74,500 to himself), with a cash on hand figure of less than $8,000. Barletta also has an additional $65,000 in unsecured debt to Legacy Bank through a separate campaign committee, stemming from a loan in his 2002 campaign.
Barletta heavily outspent Democrat Gene Stilp in the 2012 election cycle. Over $1 million was spent on the primary and general races, where Stilp spent a bit over fifty thousand in the general. Despite being outspent nearly twenty-five to one by Barletta, Stilp garnered 41.5% of the vote. Stilp received no financial or logistical support from the DCCC.
In a December 2012 letter to supporters, Stilp said that “2014 is right around the corner and I must begin now in order to be a viable candidate.”
The DCCC is rumored to be recruiting former Congressman Chris Carney to run against Barletta in 2014.
According to PoliticsPA, a northeast PA Democratic operative said that “I know the DCCC is recruiting him hard.”
From Keegan Gibson’s article:
Carney has an attractive profile for Democrats. He served in the U.S. naval reserves for several overseas tours of duty, and has worked as a counterterrorism analyst.
He defeated an ethically challenged Republican incumbent in the Democratic wave year of 2006 and easily held on to the 10th district in 2008. But after voting for Obamacare, he was swept from office in 2010 by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) who won by over 10 points.
Carney went on to work in government affairs for BAE systems, a defense contractor, in 2011. At the same time, Republican mapmakers were re-drawing the 10th and 11th congressional districts. Though Carney’s home in Dimock, Susquehanna County remains in the 10th district, most of his base was moved to PA-11. Barletta’s district now has 24% of the constituents of the former 10th.