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Johnson Campaign Finance Analysis: February 2012

The following is excerpted from a post on GoldUSAGroup in a series analyzing the Gary Johnson campaign finance. Comments from IPR in italics.

… In particular, we have a specific statement from a former campaign associate that the $325 at 50 hours a month to the campaign’s ‘Senior Political Officer” was paid to the campaign manager and not as has been suggested in some circles to an eminence grise from Florida or New York.

Without genuine disclosure from the campaign, we can’t know for sure about this, and it’s still a concern.


For February 2012 , the Johnson campaign had income of $41,879, spent $40,917, and had its total debts increase from $901,219 to $984,535.

Seems odd that spending would be less than income but debts increased.

In February 2012, the Johnson campaign gave $1075.01 to Merchant Service of 455 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, for merchant services, $150 to Media Temple of Culver City for web hosting fees, $51.49 to Zions Bank for bank charges and merchant fees, $3491.25 to Daines Goodwin in payment on obligation, and $36,150 to Political Advisors of Salt Lake City as payment on obligation. This time the various payments to Political Advisors were all round numbers, almost all round numbers of hundreds or thousands of dollars.

There were new debts for the period:

Invoice #104975 covering line 46942 covered everything identifiable as political outreach. It came to $12,509.75. Invoice #104979 covering line 46943 covered Johnson’s staff salaries. The salary invoice came to $107,374.31, almost nine times as much as the politics invoice.

#46942 includes (numbers rounded)
$856 for placing web ads,
$6509 for candidate and staff travel,
$616 for miscellaneous/supplies/office,
$812 for shipping, and
$3717 for email marketing costs.
#46899 included:
Senior political officer, 50 hours at $325.00 per hour totalling $16,250
Mid-level management 600.7 hours at $125.00 per hour totalling $75087.50
more Mid-level management 88.27 hours at $95.00 per hour totalling $8385.65
general clerical hours 65.83 hours at $95.00 per hour totalling $1876.16
10 hours of creative advertising at $225.00 per hour for a total of $2250.
That’s about four FTE staff members. Also in here was $3525 of ‘outside subcontracts as per agreement’.

There were also payments to “Political Advisors”. The entire $36,150, all from donors to Johnson’s Libertarian Presidential campaign, went toward paying part of line 46743, debts that the Johnson campaign created in Summer 2011 for his Republican nominating drive. And what were those debts? Line #46743 for $127,645, none of which was paid in the period. Costs included:
Senior Political Advisor 50 hours at $16,250 ($325.00/hour)
Creative Advertising $13,500 for 60 hours ($225.00/hour)
Press relations $21,358 for 194 hours ($110.00/hour)
Mid-level Management $38,873 for 311 hours ($125.00/ hour, a 30% increase)
Mid-level Management $28,262 for 397.5 hours ($71.00/ hour, nearly a 75% increase)
“Outside subcontracts per agreement” $9,400.

That’s right, your February 2012 donations to Johnson 2012 went toward the campaign manager’s $325/hour salary, and down the line.

About Post Author


Warren Redlich is CEO of SpinJ Corporation, which became owner of IPR in November 2012. He was the 2010 Libertarian candidate for Governor of New York, and has run for office as a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, and Liberal.


  1. NewFederalist NewFederalist August 21, 2013

    I would be his campaign manager for $300/hour and save him loads of dough!

  2. Nick Nick August 21, 2013

    As I said before, this is terrible campaign management.

  3. Nicholas Sarwark Nicholas Sarwark August 21, 2013

    I was pleased with the vote total for Johnson, especially as compared to prior Libertarian campaigns, but it does appear that the money spent was not spent efficiently.

  4. Joe Buchman Joe Buchman August 21, 2013

    I was paid $5,000 for work from June through November (I did volunteer work from February through the convention). I paid my own airfare and hotel for my wife and I to Albuquerque for the election night party, but did drive one of the Gary Johnson vans back to SLC.

    I did not know until now that Ron Neilson was, if this information can be believed, billing $350.00 an hour. Especially for the hour-long conference calls I was on with him.

    To say I am distressed by these accusations is an understatement. I’ve heard other even more extreme accusations that I find hard to believe, including what Joe Hunter (a Republican with a Romney sticker on his car throughout the campaign) was paid by the Johnson campaign for his (rather ineffective, IMO) media consulting.

    I wish them all the best, but for what it is worth, I will be supporting only a pure radical CAPITOL L Libertarian with a real Libertarian (not still registered as Republicans/Democrats/Greens/ staff.

    (Nor, for what it is worth, will I put myself in the position of contracting with outside vendors for any campaign where I risk having said vendors calling my home/cell/wife 3+ months later demanding payment.)

    And yes, Joe Hunter, I know you’re reading this. Have fun talking to Ron about it. I hear you wasted quite a bit of his time last time. Hope he billed you the $350 an hour for that as well . . .)



  5. George Phillies George Phillies August 21, 2013

    Spending income debts

    I receive for the month $10,000 in income.

    I spend $9000, less than my income.

    I put another $20,000 on the credit card.

    My spending was less than my income, but my debts increased by $20,000, and my net worth fell by another $19,000.

  6. George Phillies George Phillies August 21, 2013

    There is in the original story an obvious cut and paste error that I did not catch, namely the general clerical work was at $30 not $95 an hour.

  7. Wes Wagner Wes Wagner August 21, 2013

    You know, when their $300+ per hour campaign manager was so so confident Burke would get Johnson on the ballot in Oregon … in retrospect I should have just posted an open letter wishing him the best and left the country on vacation for a few months.

  8. Andy Andy August 21, 2013

    I know that the Gary Johnson campaign ended up spening a lot of money on ballot access, mostly due to LP national mismanaging certain petition drives, and also due to LP national not having bugeted enough money for ballot access (they based their budget on petition drive rates from years ago and did not take into account things like inflation and the fact that it was 2012, not 2000).

    The amount the Johnson campaign spent on ballot access was in the 6 figures. I think that it was around $200,000, maybe more. This included paying for petition drives as well as legal fees and filing fees.

    I’m not sure if this is broken down in the campaign expense reports. I think that it was filed under something generic sounding like “consulting fees” or something like that.

  9. Andy Andy August 21, 2013

    Joe Buchman said: ” including what Joe Hunter (a Republican with a Romney sticker on his car throughout the campaign) was paid by the Johnson campaign for his (rather ineffective, IMO) media consulting.”

    This is yet another example of why actual philosophical libertarians should be hired to work on Libertarian Party campaigns. I don’t know any actual Libertarians who’d put a Mitt Romney sticker on their car.

  10. Eric Blitz Eric Blitz August 22, 2013

    Andy, if the person/entity were responsible for messaging, candidate coaching, internal media production, e.g., anything that required a background in libertarian thought to get right, I might agree. But many jobs in a campaign require expertise and connections that many libertarians simply don’t have and those that do are often working for non-profits that shelter their employees from partisan participation. Some specific tasks you just want whoever offers the best expertise/production for the amount spent. A media consultant is mostly about getting press/interviews. A pollster or data analyst have very specific, non-philosophical roles. They really don’t need to be libertarians to do their job well. While local campaigns often can rely upon volunteers with little prior experience to try their best, a national campaign for the top of our ticket should seek out the best performers, not impose rigid ideological tests.

    As you no doubt know, we don’t require paid petitioners to be libertarians and one could argue that it is more important for petitioners to have a grounding in libertarian principles considering their interactions with the public and the types of questions petitioners can be asked. My point is, not all jobs in a campaign can possibly be filled with libertarians, and even less with a rigorous standard of purist.

  11. Andy Andy August 23, 2013

    Eric Blitz said: “As you no doubt know, we don’t require paid petitioners to be libertarians and one could argue that it is more important for petitioners to have a grounding in libertarian principles considering their interactions with the public and the types of questions petitioners can be asked.”

    I’ve been saying for years that the Libertarian Party should place a greater emphasis on having paid petitioners who are actually Libertarians. Actual Libertarians get higher validity rates on petitions on average, and they also do a better job of representing the Libertarian Party to the public.

    The attitude of some people in the Libertarian Party to just hire anyone – regardless of ideology – is quite foolish, whether it comes to petitioners, campaign managers, office workers, etc….

    The Libertarian Party has been around for a long time, and it is relatively large by minor party standards. Plus there is a much large libertarian movement outside the Libertarian Party. There are more than enough Libertarians in this country where a team of people could be developed to work in any campaign capacity.

    I’m not saying that the Libertarian Party should never hire outside of the party/movement, because if you can’t find any libertarians to get whatever the job is accomplished then I can certainly see hiring outside the party/movement, however, I think that more often than not there is little to no effort put into recruiting and/or training actual libertarians to do these jobs.

    There is no reason why most of the work that the Libertarian Party needs done can’t be done by actual libertarians.

  12. paulie paulie October 14, 2013

    The numbers may have been inflated to try to get matching funds. I wouldn’t necessarily rely on the FEC reports to determine what anyone was actually paid. Then again, maybe they did get paid this much.

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