How Scott Walker spent $90,000 a day to lose an election
By Jenna Johnson
When Scott Walker dropped out of the presidential race late last month because he could no longer afford to continue, many of his fundraisers and supporters were stunned. They couldn't believe the candidate had burned through so much money so quickly.
Walker's campaign raised $7,379,170 between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to federal paperwork filed on Thursday. And during that time, they spent $6,393,957 and had bills for $161,133. Given that Walker's campaign lasted just 70 days — from July 13 to Sept. 21 — that means each day cost more than $90,000.
When Walker dropped out of the race, the campaign had nearly $1 million left, although that money will likely go toward paying ongoing contracts, leases and other expenses that can continue even when a campaign stops.
So how does a campaign spend that much money that quickly? For Walker, money went toward a payroll of more than 80, generous paychecks for top staffers, dozens of consultants and vendors who were paid tens of thousands of dollars, and elaborately staged campaign events. For a candidate who bragged on the campaign trail about finding deals at Kohl's and packing sack lunches to save money, the reports show that the campaign spent lavishly even as fundraising dollars began to disappear.
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The campaign's payroll for those three months totaled nearly $2 million in salaries, taxes and benefits. Additionally, the campaign engaged dozens of consultants and vendors who were collectively paid more than $800,000. Walker's campaign was known for paying more than many of its rivals, and at least 20 employees were paid at least $30,000 in less than three months. Walker's two college-age sons, Matt and Alex Walker, were both on the payroll but were among the least-compensated staff members, making less than $5,000 each. Five employees earned more than $50,000 in salary and benefits during that three-month period: Campaign manager Rick Wiley received nearly $52,000. Political director Matt Mason, $61,000. Communication director Kirsten Kukowski, more than $58,000. Treasurer Kate Lind, $57,730. General counsel Jonathan Waclawski, $57,600.
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