RFK Jr.’s cash crunch: Independent raised more money than he spent in January

RFK Jr.’s cash crunch: Independent raised more money than he spent in January

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign is burning through its cash, spending more than it raised last month.

The financial squeeze underscores the challenges for his independent bid as he continues to work on ballot access and is relying heavily on a super PAC working on his behalf.

Kennedy’s campaign committee spent more than $3.2 million in January while raising a bit shy of $2.7 million, according to a report filed by his campaign with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday. He had more than $4.8 million left in his campaign account as of the end of January.

Security services were the campaign’s largest expense category, accounting for nearly $430,000 that went to the firm of Gavin de Becker, a security consultant who also has a unique loan arrangement with the super PAC backing Kennedy’s campaign.

Other major expense categories included more than $330,000 on staff salaries, more than $260,000 across digital media services and digital and internet advertising, $202,000 on campaign merchandise and $169,000 on event catering and facilities expenses.

It is the second campaign finance report in a row for Kennedy that has shown him spending more than he took in. Over the last quarter of 2023, the independent spent $700,000 more than he raised. During an election year, presidential candidates have to open their books monthly instead of quarterly in the off year.

So far, his campaign has said it has qualified to be on the ballot in two states so far — Utah and New Hampshire — with petition drives ongoing in at least a dozen other states.

Increasingly, Kennedy’s operation has relied on friendly super PACs to get his campaign on the ballot in key states. American Values 2024 said late last year that it would spend between $10 and $15 million to get Kennedy on the ballot in ten large states.

The unusual spending from the super PAC prompted a complaint from the Democratic National Committee with the Federal Election Commission, arguing that the group’s spending should be considered an in-kind contribution to his campaign, a number well over the legal limits.

With the FEC complaint is unlikely to go anywhere — the federal agency is infamous for acting slowly, and its 3-3 split between Democratic and Republican commissioners often leads to deadlocks on high-profile complaints — it signals that Democrats are taking the ballot-access efforts seriously.

Kennedy has also floated potentially appearing on the Libertarian Party’s ticket in a bid to get on the ballot in more states, but an influential caucus within the third party recently denounced the effort, likely sinking any serious attempt for him to use that party line.

His campaign’s fundraising continues to rely significantly on small donors. In January, roughly one in every three dollars his campaign brought in came from someone who has given less than $200, a notably high ratio.

He does, however, have significant support from deep-pocketed donors. The other two-thirds of his campaign’s contributions came from donors who gave over that $200 threshold, and those supportive super PACs have pulled in seven-figure checks to help pick up some of the slack.

AV24, the same super PAC that is focusing on ballot efforts, also spent $7 million on a Super Bowl ad that was an homage to the candidate’s uncle, former President John F. Kennedy.


By: Jessica Piper and Zach Montellaro
Title: RFK Jr.'s cash crunch: Independent spent more than he raised in January
Sourced From: www.politico.com/news/2024/02/20/rfk-jr-fundraising-january-00142238
Published Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2024 14:44:58 EST

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