Steve G.

Barr spends over 36K of donations on NASCAR, air conditioning for someone else’s property

In Libertarian on June 26, 2008 at 8:46 pm

The Bob Barr campaign spent $19,000 to install air conditioning (in a building which belongs to someone else and will be used for less than five months), plans to spend over $18,000 in one day at a NASCAR event ($15,000 of that goes to NASCAR), and also wants to sponsor a NASCAR vehicle (a huge expense for a campaign which is hardly breaking fundraising records).

It is unclear why Barr did not lease a building which already had air conditioning, or why the building’s owner is not responsible for that expense.

Yet for some reason, the Barr campaign believes telling donors about their irresponsible use of donations will encourage donors to give him even more money. More specifically, they want to raise $88,000 by next Friday.  Here is the fundraising letter:

Dear friend,

We’re gaining ground. Donate Today!

Great opportunities continue to come our way as the Barr/Root ticket continues to present itself to the American people.

Yesterday, Bob interviewed on *CNN’s Glenn Beck* and today Bob will be on *Bill O’Reilly‘s radio program*, “The Radio Factor”.

Bob has also been invited to appear on the Sunday morning program, “*This Week with George Stephanopoulos*”.

Since Monday, we’ve *doubled* our YouTube subscribers and our eCampaign Manager, Martin Avila, tells me that we are quickly gaining ground on other Web 2.0 sites such as Digg.

Last week, we received an invitation to appear at NASCAR’s Coke 400 for their first voter registration drive. Bob would have the opportunity to do photo-ops with NASCAR drivers and crews and speak with fans throughout the day.

We’ve even been given a select spot to put up a “Barr Booth” to hand out t-shirts and materials to hundreds of thousands of NASCAR fans who will be in attendance. We may even have room for a show car wrapped in “Barr ’08” graphics if we cover the expense.

As I said earlier, great opportunities continue to come our way.

However, we cannot take advantage of them if we cannot fund the campaign.

Yesterday, I wrote a check for $19,000 to install an air conditioner in our large but modest campaign headquarters. We’ve also spent thousands on campaign products preparing for our online store that will open tomorrow.

Those expenses coupled with travel and staff expenses leave us with very little cash on hand.

We’re to the point now where we can only afford to operate and have to pass on the opportunities that are coming our way. *That’s why I need you to donate today *

Unless we raise a good deal of money very quickly, we’re going to have to pass on what I think is a great opportunity with NASCAR. They need $15,000 for the car expense and we’ll need at least $3,000 for fan materials. That’s in addition to the travel expenses to fly Bob and a few staff members to Daytona to meet with the fans.

That’s $18,000 just for one event.

We need to raise much more money in order to move faster and be much more effective.

That’s why I set a goal this morning to raise $88,000 between today and July Fourth.

This will get us back on track after establishing our campaign headquarters and will give us a small lead so that we can move quickly without having to turn down opportunities due to a lack of funds.

  1. As a marketeer, I cannot imagine that the depth of impressions, nor the number found at a single NASCAR event would justify the campaign spending about 8.8% of the $1 million or so that the LP campaign typically raises for the presidential campaign on a single event.

  2. […] election. This, and other expenses that the campaign candidly disclosed in the e-mail, have been called into question by the editor of Last Free Voice, ElfNinosMom. She says: It is unclear why Barr did not lease a […]

  3. I just installed AC in my three story house. It cost $5k.

  4. Well, I have no qualms about installing air conditioning. I would expect any of our campaigns to have such basics as air conditioning. The fact it’s in a rented building is not unusual. I’ve seen A/C leased before, especially out here in the desert areas of Southern California. Whether the campaign got a good deal or not is another question.

    Now NASCAR…I’m no fan of that. However, just about everyone I know religiously follows NASCAR races.

  5. G.E.: I’ll be shelling out some big bucks for my new home in a few weeks, so I sympathize. However, there may be additional costs considering it is in a building used for business. Who knows what kinds of permits were needed or any number of issues that drove the price to it’s total.

    I can’t really make a judgment on the A/C until I find out the market prices for industrial A/C in that area, what permits may be needed and so forth.

  6. The LP has a perfectly good, air-conditioned office in the Watergate ready for use.

    Rather than emptying out the office in Washington (which will have lots of expensive rent paid, despite being empty of all executive personnel who will be working in the new Atlanta campaign HQ), why can’t the Barr campaign just move its campaign officers and staffers to the air-conditioned, no-extra-cost comfort of the Watergate?

  7. Funny, I think the NASCAR idea is a GOOD idea.

    At the average NASCAR event attendance is what, 80-100K+ people? Plus the TV exposure (Speedworld, FOX, NBC, ESPN) if they can get it to millions more. For $18K? Sounds like a good investment if you can get it. And the Coca-Cola 400 is one of the bigger races on the circuit. Not Daytona, but only Daytona is Daytona anyway. You go where the voters are.

    Back in CO in 2002 LPEP made history as the first (and only) political party to have a Festival of Lights parade float. We did it on about $250 and got very positive exposure to 135K people in person and another 50K or so on TV. Again, you go where the people are.

    It would be nice to get an actual Nextel Cup car sponsorship, but that’s probably out of the campaign’s financial league.

  8. The problem isn’t really the AC or the cost of the AC ( it could be that expensive for this particular office setup; I don’t know), but why would anyone pay for that in a (short-term) leased building.

    The cost comes to almost $4,000 per month. They couldn’t lease a building with AC that didn’t add more than $19,000 to a 5month lease? They must have gotten one hell of a low price on that lease. Do they need donations to put up walls and rewire the place too?

  9. Point taken, but please don’t imply that we should all give up on this important campaign to at least force McCain to resign his candidacy before September.

    We need to get Barr’s polling numbers up there to at least force McCain to chose a libertarian running mate.

  10. The NASCAR sponsorship would be HUGE if he could pull it off. Do you know how many people watch that crap each week (apologies to those who like NASCAR). Not a waste of money in my opinion, in fact, possibly more cost effective than running expensive campaign ads.

    Hell, in my terms, if I could afford to put “VoteGatties.org” on the front of a Manchester United Jersey, I would in a heartbeat.

  11. RE: The air-conditioning

    It’s probably a triple-net lease, which typically means that the landlord does not pay for taxes, insurance, repairs, and maintenance. While this is all well and good for a long-term lease, it only serves to benefit the landlord in a short-term situation, such as this.

    The paranoid part of me wants to know if the person who authorized this expenditure has a personal relationship with the landlord and kind of did this as a favor.

  12. “Plus the TV exposure (Speedworld, FOX, NBC, ESPN) if they can get it to millions more.”

    According to Wikipedia, TNT owns the broadcast rights to the race.

    I wondered about the NASCAR expense, but I honestly don’t know how the numbers add up.

    When Corey refers to a “car expense,” is he saying that there will be a car in the race with a visible Barr 2008 logo? Three hours of that kind of lap-by-lap exposure to both live and TV audience is worth something, and there also seems to be a live-speaking component, a booth, etc. It sounds like a lot of money at first blush, but it may be a good deal.

    I also suspect that the Barr campaign is in “spend money like the big dogs do, and big dog money will show up” mode. And maybe they’re right.

    The AC expense just sounds like plain poor planning (or like someone on the campaign has a friend in the HVAC business).

  13. Good point, webhick. I wondered the same thing about a personal relationship, since Barr is from that area.

    As for NASCAR ….. I don’t watch it and don’t really have any interest in it, but my other half used to race in NASCAR. When I asked him about this, he laughed. A lot. He said sponsors have to “throw money at them”, and that even Barr’s entire campaign budget wouldn’t be enough to get the exposure necessary to make it worth the investment.

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/motor/nascar/2002-07-12-acov-sponsors.htm

  14. Thomas,

    Didn’t know it was TNT. I don’t watch NASCAR. I prefer the IRL myself, mainly because I’m a native Hoosier and grew up with it.

    But those other stations still show highlights as well, especially Speedworld and ESPN.

  15. I could easily see the NASCAR crowd being receptive to someone like Barf. The IQ level is about the same.

  16. Point taken, but please don’t imply that we should all give up on this important campaign to at least force McCain to resign his candidacy before September.

    We need to get Barr’s polling numbers up there to at least force McCain to chose a libertarian running mate.

    I’m a Cheech and Chong fan too. Nice Dreams!

  17. Quoth disinter:

    “I could easily see the NASCAR crowd being receptive to someone like Barf. The IQ level is about the same.”

    Wow. Never had you pegged as one of them there elitist cosmotarian smearbund types.

  18. Oh good lord… Knapp is white trash too?

  19. I think the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) deal is quit fitting for Barr seeing how “modern racing “stock” cars are stock in name only, using a body template that is vaguely modeled after currently-available automobiles. The chassis, running gear, and other equipment have almost nothing to do with anything in ordinary automobiles.

  20. disinter,

    If you’re implying that I’m a NASCAR fan, well, no I’m not. If you’re implying that being a NASCAR fan makes one “white trash,” well, you’re wrong. The demographics say that NASCAR fans represent a broad cross-section of Americans, and one that happens to be prime political advertising real estate:

    – About 1 in 3 American adults — 75 million of them — are NASCAR fans as defined by television viewing and the purchase of tickets and/or branded merchandise.

    – The gender balance of NASCAR fandom is beautiful as sports go — about 60% male / 40% female.

    – 58% of NASCAR fans fall into the 18-44 age demographic which any new political party should be targeting (if for no other reason than that they’re the ones who are beginning to understand that the Social Security check isn’t going to be there when it’s THEIR turn to check the mailbox).

    – 42% of NASCAR fans earn more than $50k a year.

    – NASCAR fans are about three times as likely as others to buy goods and services from NASCAR sponsors, and 94% more likely than others to have positive feelings about NASCAR sponsors (possibly including POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS).

    ther stats:

    – 24.5% of NASCAR fans are African-American.

    – 88% of NASCAR fans are high school graduates, 38% are college-educated.

    – The biggest occupational democraphic in NASCAR fandom is professional/managerial (27%)

    – 72% of NASCAR fans are homeowners

    Whether or not this particular NASCAR event is worth the money the Barr campaign is spending on it is a good question, but it’s certainly a demographic worth appealing to, if you’re interested in reaching people who might be receptive to a libertarian message.

  21. If someone has the actual physical address of Barr’s cool new HQ, please post it.

    A search of public records could prove interesting.

  22. lgoldman:

    I got “900 Circle 75 Parkway, Suite 1280, Atlanta, GA 30339” from votesmart.org. I quickly tried to search the Fulton County tax records (to get the owner’s name), but it appears the street does not exist (yet, it’s there on mapquest).

    Perhaps that’s not the HQ location, or maybe trying to obtain non-profit status for the food pantry has finally fried my brain.

  23. “We need to get Barr’s polling numbers up there to at least force McCain to chose a libertarian running mate.” – Jim Peterson

    How the hell is Bob Barr possibly going to force McCain to select a libertarian running mate, when Barr himself lacks one?

  24. I’d guess that is the address for the interim office, because it appears that his new place is an entire building, not just a suite in a building.

  25. ENM:

    Agreed, the address on votesmart.org must be outdated.

    Anyway, while poking around I found this, dated June 23rd:

    Here in Atlanta we have been negotiating for office space for the campaign. The most ideal location we’ve found so far is an older, underused building but the cost just to upgrade the air condition system is $38,000. We are trying to raise the money to move in quickly.

    Source: http://campaign.blog.bobbarr2008.com/2008/06/23/june-20-campaign-update/

    It looks like the $19k they’ve spent on the A/C may have been only half the total cost.

  26. I will say what I said before. I told them to stop sending me mail and giving me phone calls asking for money for his campaign.

  27. Russ,

    A check for $19,000 to install an air conditioner in an office
    you’ll be renting for what, four months? Ouch! Couldn’t you
    have found a “modest” office that already *has* air conditioning for
    less than $5,000 a month, and saved all the money you’re now spending
    on rent? I know, I know, you might have had to settle for something
    with more than two small windows* — oh, the horror!

    Is this the way a fiscally conservative campaign operates? In one
    sense I suppose I shouldn’t care, since I really don’t have a horse
    in this race, but it still pains me to see Libertarian donor dollars
    going to waste like this.

    # # #

    *”The location that we need to secure – if we can raise the funds –
    is an old AT&T call center. [Campaign manager] Russ [Verney] loves it
    because it’s a very big open room with only two, small windows.”

    -Former LP executive director and now Bob Barr staffer Shane Cory, in
    a June 22 email fundraising for the Barr/Root ticket

  28. I was tempted to also mention this new invention they have called
    “fans” which are reputed to be healthier and better for the
    environment than air conditioning, as well as being substantially
    less expensive. But then I remembered that Barr’s staff will probably
    be sweating away the hot Atlanta summer in suits and ties, at
    least if their dress code at the LP convention was any guide. When
    you’re *too* overdressed for the climate, only an expensive, cranked-
    up air conditioning unit will provide relief!

    Hm, maybe this would be a good point to bring up if Congress debates
    climate change again — take off those suits and turn down the air
    conditioning! Not that I personally buy the theory that holds humans
    and the “greenhouse gases” they put into the atmosphere from things
    like AC mainly responsible for global warming, but it seems to still
    carry weight in some quarters.

  29. Gene wrote:

    “Who knows what kinds of permits were needed or any number of issues that drove the price to it’s total.”

    The fundraising letter mentioned one $19,000 check being written. That implies a payment being made to a single party, i.e. the air conditioning vendor, not for multiple permits, etc. Of course that statement in the letter could have been inaccurate. Hopefully the Barr campaign will explain one way or the other.

  30. I will say what I said before. I told them to stop sending me mail and giving me phone calls asking for money for his campaign.

    They send me that stuff too and I hope they continue, the more money they waste the better.

    I also recently received a fundraising letter from the LNC. I attached their postage paid envelope to a box of 30lbs of bricks. I figure I might be able to re-coup some of the money I now regret sending them last year.

    Screw the neocon takeover of the LP.

  31. No the air conditioning is for his own firm. He gets it forever. See he does get something out of his campaign. Just like before the campaign the PAC money he raised didn’t go to politicians like the mailer said it would. Only 3 percent went to politicians. Some of the money went to family members. Barr has a nice set up and is fooling a lot of people.

  32. Barr hasn’t leased a campaign headquaters yet. He used the air conditioning money for his own firm so he can have it after the election. Funny how the campaign press release doesn’t mention that.

  33. Barr has a nice set up and is fooling a lot of people.

    Yep.

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