Hillary Rodham Clinton’s cash-strapped presidential campaign has been putting off paying hundreds of bills for months — freeing up cash for critical media buys, but also earning the campaign a reputation as something of a deadbeat in some small business circles.
A pair of Ohio companies owed more than $25,000 by Clinton for staging events for her campaign are warning others in the tight-knit event production community — and anyone else who will listen — to get their cash upfront when doing business with her. Her campaign, say representatives of the two companies, has stopped returning phone calls and e-mails seeking payment of outstanding invoices. One even got no response from a certified letter.
Their cautionary tales, combined with published reports about similar difficulties faced by a New Hampshire landlord, an Iowa office cleaner and a New York caterer highlight a less-obvious impact of Clinton’s inability to keep up with the staggering fundraising pace set by her opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
Call us old-fashioned, but we find this news disturbing. The issue has been around for a while. The Clinton campaign started stiffing vendors early on. In the next couple of days, we'll learn how campaign fund-raising has gone in March. Many people may find it difficult to throw more support to a campaign which doesn't pay its bills.
It’s not just the size of Clinton’s debts that’s noteworthy. It’s also that her unpaid bills extend beyond the realm of high-priced consultants who typically let bills slide as part of the cost of doing business with powerful clientele whose success is linked to their own.
Some of Clinton’s biggest debts are to pollster and chief strategist Mark Penn, who’s owed $2.5 million; direct mail company MSHC Partners, which is owed $807,000; phone-banking firm Spoken Hub, which is waiting for $771,000; and ad maker Mandy Grunwald, who’s owed $467,000.
Clinton also reported debts more than one month old to a slew of apolitical businesses and organizations, large and small, in the states through which this historically expensive Democratic primary campaign has raged.
The report at Politico goes into some detail about the smaller businesses, state by state, who've been unable to get payment from the Clinton campaign.