The April FEC Report for the Democratic Party of Georgia is now filed, and well, the news just keeps getting worse.

April 28th was the Democratic Party of Georgia’s major fundraiser for the year, the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, and thus most revenues for the event will be reflected in the April report.  Previous reports show the JJ Dinner netted revenues of over $800K in the 2008 election year and around $500K in 2009 and 2010.  The 2011 dinner fell substantially off that mark, showing only around $300K in revenue…  making it the largest financial failure in recent JJ history.  Sadly, it would appear the 2012 JJ has surpassed the 2011 JJ for that “largest financial failure” title…  not a good thing for Georgia Democrats, especially with 2012 being a critical election year, JJ revenues were expected to at least return to 2009/2010 levels, if not possibly back to 2008 levels.

The April FEC report shows the DPG only raised $162,839.08 in April and spent $143,391.27.  The DPG’s average monthly revenue for the year is around $83,000 (and $10,000 of this months revenue was a repayment) meaning that around $70,000 (likely less due to the DNC Victory Fund influx) of this month’s total income could be attributed to JJ, of course that also means the DPG’s expenses were higher this month due to the cost of JJ.  It appears that some JJ funding came in previous months, and some could still be outstanding…  but just a elementary look would appear to say that this year’s JJ will gross under $200,000.  That would certainly set a new record for worst performing JJ.

This leaves the DPG with $76,856.84 cash on hand and $35,436.34 in outstanding debt leaving the DPG a net worth of $41,420.50.

It does appear that DPG Chairman Mike Berlon has kept his pledge to repay the party $10,000 for payments made to DPG Executive Committee member Tasso Knight.  The DPG was also the benefactor of the $10,000 the DNC gives it in “50 state strategy” funds and a large influx from the DNC Victory Fund, which is a direct mail program the state parties benefit from.

Last month, in a response to a post at Blogging While Blue, I speculated that Super PAC organizations couldn’t take over the role of the state party due to Georgia’s laws which allow state parties almost unlimited fundraising ability.  While the state party will always be the only organization able to register candidates, it appears that the DPG may sadly be heading on a course to make itself just that insignificant.

While the DPG will always exist and be the organization that qualifies candidates, recent resignations, outside issues and extremely lackluster fundraising has left the road wide open for any other group that wishes to step forward and take the reigns on moving Georgia forward.


6 Responses to April FEC Report

  1. Slut says:

    So, I’m confused.. is there more $$$ money coming in from the JJ that hasn’t been reported? According to this article Chairman Berlon says the JJ raised $300K. Or is this another example of his reality distortion field kicking in.

    Isn’t Lester Jackson the same guy who doesn’t pay his taxes on time and gets reported on the front page of the AJC in early April?

  2. Jules says:

    @Billy… can I copy paste your * comment into every comment I ever make again about the DPG? I think it should cover me in any future legal action, threat etc..

    Thanks in advance.

  3. Billy says:

    I ask because I rely on good people like you to do that which I care not to do (anymore); namely, track down the reality behind the smoke and mirrors.* Previously chairs were very . . . creative . . . in response to such discussions and it is important to try to be as up front about the facts as we can. Thank you for the thorough and prompt reply. The other way that the financial picture has been obfuscated creatively presented has been the way debt is demonstrated. What is your confidence in your figures for the debt outstanding?

    *this is a joke and should not be read to reflect poorly upon the morals, ethics, or character of any current or former staff member of any political party nor the officers or committee members of any political party, nor the cats or dogs owned by said members.

    • Trevor Southerland says:

      The debt number is as accurate as the DPG’s report is…

      The majority of the debt ($26,876.44) is to Political CFO’s, the company that does the DPG’s accounting, FEC filing, State filing, etc… they get paid a good amount, but they do good work and keep the DPG from landing in trouble with the FEC. In public, the Chair has said he has an understanding with Political CFO’s regarding the debt, but I assume at some point it will likely have to be paid and until it’s removed as a debt, it’s a debt. I’m not sure when exactly it started to build up, but I can tell you its less than it once was.

      Other debts include about $5,700 to the company the DPG leases a copier from… $1,500 to the Coleman Franklin Group… $1,200 to Sandler Reiff, Young, and Lamb, PC in DC and $177 debt to the company the postage machine is rented from.

  4. Billy says:

    Trevor, are there state funds that are not reported on the FEC report? Back when we had more, uh, we’ll say “cunning and clever” chairs, the funds were separated so that only what had to reported to the state got reported there and only what had to be reported to the Feds for reported there and it was near impossible to tell what was going on precisely at any one time.*

    *this is due in part to differences in campaign finance laws which have changed and evolved over time. It is not meant to directly or indirectly imply criminal liability, accuse anyone of ethical wrongdoing, or hurt anyone’s feelings.

    • Trevor Southerland says:

      Billy, you are correct that there are different funds and it’s incredibly difficult at any one time to exactly pin point what’s going on, which is why I use approximates where I’m having to make educated guesses.

      However; the FEC Report is the best report used to judge the financial health of the state party.

      In addition to the FEC report filed above, there are also reports that are filed with the Commission formerly known as the State Ethics Commission. The last one was on March 31st and can be seen here:

      If you look at that March 31 State report, you can tell that this includes not only contributions to the state party, but also to the house caucus and the senate caucus as well. They aren’t broken out, just all jumbled together. You can also tell that occasionally the state party transfers money from its state account to its federal account. (Note: All of this is legal, Georgia doesn’t exactly have the best system in the world.)

      The only reason I can think of that the state party would directly deposit funds to its state account rather than its federal account is money it legally isn’t allowed to put into the federal account. (This is because state money is more limited in how it can be spent, whereas federal money can be spent however you want… so logic says you’d prefer federal money rather than state money.) Money it wouldn’t legally be allowed to put into the federal account would include PACS that are only state pacs, not federal pacs, contributions that exceed federal giving levels, but all in all, very few contributions to the DPG would have to go through the state account… mainly that is for the house and senate caucuses.

      So while there very likely is a little bit more money than what the federal report shows, it isn’t going to be enough to make us feel a lot more secure when we sleep at night.