Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign spent more than it raised last quarter and left $5.4M in the bank

By 37ci3 Feb1,2024

WASHINGTON — Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and his allied super PAC are amassing a significant war chest as they take on the expensive task of mounting an outside bid, but new campaign finance reports released Wednesday show the effort is already costing money.

Kennedy’s campaign raised $7 million in the last three months of 2023, new reports from the Federal Election Commission show, more than Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis raised in the same period (during which DeSantis was still an active candidate). But Kennedy spent a paltry $7.7 million, more than he brought in, bringing his cash reserves to $5.4 million by the end of the year.

The super PAC supporting him, American Values, raised $18.5 million and spent $13.4 million in the last six months of 2023. The vast majority of those costs went to a donor refund, along with other costs such as consulting and ballot access efforts. The group closed 2023 with a bank account of $14.8 million.

Kennedy originally ran for president as a Democrat, but in October he announced that he would make a high-profile bid as an independent candidate instead of a long-shot attempt to defeat incumbent President Joe Biden in the primaries.

The campaign spent $1.1 million on salaries in the last three months of the year. Amarillis Kennedy, candidate bride who serves as his campaign manager, received $54,000 during the last three months of 2023, the report shows. Jackson Hines, Kennedy’s “travel assistant and body man,” earned $24,000 during that period.

The FEC sent a letter to Kennedy’s campaign requires additional information earlier this month, Kennedy issued a warning about his payments to family members, warning that workers should be paid a fair market rate. Kennedy campaign He replied 10 days later Hines and Amaryllis defended Kennedy’s work, saying, “Although Amaryllis and Jackson are members of the candidate’s family by marriage, their role is based on the functional business needs of the campaign and the work they perform as their role. ” The campaign did not disclose Hines’ affiliation with the candidate in the letter.

As an independent candidate, Kennedy had to conduct a major operation to get on the ballot in each state, which was an expensive undertaking. His fundraising report shows that in addition to staff, he spent significant amounts on consulting, media production, printing, digital media and events.

Kennedy’s fourth-quarter filings also show that his campaign spent more than $500,000 on security services. His campaign has repeatedly criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for the decision not giving him Secret Service protectionthe decision not only applies to the Secretary of Homeland Security, but also to the decision Consultations with Congress. It was a man in October was arrested on suspicion of violating the border Kennedy’s house and was detained by special security officers. weeks ago, the person with the gun was arrested Outside one of Kennedy’s campaign events in Los Angeles.

The head of the company that provided Kennedy with security services — an author and security expert Gavin de Becker — also appeared to be one of the biggest donors to Kennedy’s American Values ​​2024-affiliated super PAC.

But while the new report says de Becker donated $5.5 million to the super PAC in the second half of 2023 (for a total of $10 million during the election cycle), further examination of the report shows the group gave him back $9.65 million. in July and November. Neither American Values ​​nor de Becker’s company responded to a request for comment on the large donation and subsequent refund.

The super PAC’s top donor remains investor Timothy Mellon. Republican megadonor In 2020, he gave 20 million dollars to former president Donald Trump. Mellon gave the pro-Kennedy super PAC $10 million in the second half of 2023.

The Super PAC’s only other seven-figure donor was Leila Centner of Miami Beach, who gave $1 million. The address associated with the donation matched the address David and Leila Centner Family Foundation, the names of the co-founders of Centner Academy, a private elementary and middle school in Miami. The school made national news in 2021 when it announced it would not hire anyone vaccinated against Covid-19 “until further information is known,” despite repeated assurances from federal health officials that the vaccine is broadly safe. Kennedy, who spent nearly eight years last year heads a prominent anti-vaccine organization, visited the school.

Centner Academy did not respond to a request for comment on the donation.

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By 37ci3

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