The 2008 Money Race
Cross-posted at Daily Kos.
For those who have questioned Governor Bill Richardson's ability to raise money for a Presidential campaign, perhaps they should look at two of his potential rivals who have debts to pay off from previous Presidential campaigns.
Democrats John Edwards and Wesley Clark have debts of several hundred thousand dollars from their unsuccessful White House bids in 2004, a burden as they consider presidential runs in 2008.
Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee, had about $2,200 in his campaign account at the end of September and more than $300,000 in unpaid bills from his failed campaign for his party's nomination.
Clark, who has said he will decide in the next few months whether to run again, had about $390,000 left from the last campaign and debts totaling more than $260,000.
So John Edwards and Wes Clark both have debts left unpaid from 2004. If you and I owed that kind of money to vendors or creditors, we'd have collection agencies contacting us and be subject to legal actions. For Presidential campaigns, however, this is the norm. I have no doubt that Edwards and Clark can raise that money to retire the debt. The problem is, they don't have to.
According to the Federal Election Commission, candidates are not obligated to pay off debts from a past presidential campaign before starting a new one.
In the case of Edwards and Clark, their 2004 committees will stay open until the debts are retired, but the men are free to begin fundraising for 2008.
Federal law does prohibit them from rolling whatever is left in their 2004 accounts into a 2008 campaign until outstanding bills are paid.
They may not be required to pay their debts, but at the very least both John Edwards and Wes Clark should pay off their debts from 2004 before deciding to go into debt again. It's the right thing to do. Otherwise, Edwards and Clark have no credibility when they talk about being fiscally responsible or retiring the national debt.
So people like Kos can worry about Bill Richardson's ability to raise money, but Richardson has a proven track record of being fiscally responsible as the Governor of New Mexico and he's not in debt and trying to run a Presidential campaign.