Clinton enlists outside consultants

Published: Tuesday, April 17 2007 12:43 a.m. MDT

Hillary Clinton

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., enlisted more than $1.1 million worth of outside consultants in the first 90 days of her campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination — including two veterans from President Bill Clinton's White House operation, according to her reports to the Federal Election Commission.

The Clinton campaign spent $5.1 million in the first three months of her presidential campaign and incurred another $1.6 million in debts — commitments that brought total campaign costs to $6.7 million during the three months ending March 31.

Clinton's payments and commitments to consultants totaled $1,119,000 for their help in campaign strategy, fund raising, technology, communications and legal and accounting services.

Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign owed more than $277,000 to Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates Inc., the Washington, D.C.-based political consulting firm led by Mark Penn, who served as White House pollster for President Clinton.

Clinton also owed nearly $155,000 to Grunwald Communications, the political and communications consulting firm operated by Mandy Grunwald, advertising director for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign.

The spending reports were part of the financial disclosure statements filed by the Clinton campaign with the Federal Election Commission by Sunday's deadline.

The reports showed the Clinton campaign made 1,333 payments to businesses and individuals during the first three months of operations ending March 31. These expenditures included 165 payments to firms and individuals based in New York state; less than $30,000 went to businesses and individuals in upstate New York — including almost $24,000 paid to New York state for payroll taxes for employees in New York state and $600 to the Verizon office in Albany, N.Y.

Clinton, who polls show has a narrow lead over rivals for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, emerged from the closely watched fund-raising competition with a thin edge over her closest rival, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. She raised $26 million in donations during the reporting period compared to $25.8 million raised by Obama, a newcomer to the national political stage.

But Clinton still holds a substantial financial advantage over Obama thanks to her transfer of $10 million from her 2006 Senate campaign. Clinton had nearly $31 million in cash on March 31 for the next phase of her presidential campaign compared to $19.2 million in cash held by Obama.

The latest CNN/Opinion Research Corp., nationwide survey released Monday showed Clinton leading Obama 30 percent to 26 percent, followed by former Vice President Al Gore with 15 percent and former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., with 12 percent. Gore is not a declared candidate.

The details of Clinton's spending gave an insight into the behind-the-scenes costs of setting up a nationwide presidential campaign:

• Salaries: The campaign spent $1,037,945.34 on staff salaries at campaign headquarters in Washington, D.C., in New York City and on staffers in a number of states with early 2008 contests including Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Florida and Ohio.

Staffers on salary include:

Evelyn Lieberman, the campaign's chief operating officer and a former Clinton White House official, who has been paid $20,883 since March 15;

Kim Molstre, a former aide to 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry and a former aide to now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who has been paid $19,242 since Feb. 2.

Capricia Marshall, White House social secretary during the Clinton administration, who has been paid $14,221 since Feb. 2.

• Postage: The campaign spent $648,089.16 on postage, the cornerstone of cam-

paigns' early efforts to solicit donations. The campaign also spent almost $231,000 for direct mail lists to help fund raising.

• Taxes: The campaign spent $631,661.95 on taxes, mostly payroll taxes for employees in various states.

• Office rent: The campaign spent $325,941.60 to rent office space in eight locations including Washington, D.C., McLean, Va., Las Vegas, Nev., Buffalo, N.Y., Chevy Chase, Md., New York City, Los Angeles, and Manchester, N.H.

• Event expenses: The campaign spent more than $371,000 on event expenses, including the cost of catering, renting locations, equipment and entertainment.

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