Under a great deal of pressure since the DNC discovered his hoarded campaign funds, John Kerry has agreed to give a substantial portion of it to the DNC in order to fund party-building efforts in the next two years:
Under friendly fire, Sen. John Kerry likely will donate a substantial portion of his excess presidential campaign cash to help elect Democratic candidates in 2005 and 2006, advisers said Thursday.
Party leaders, including some of Kerry’s top campaign aides, said this week they were surprised and angry to learn that he had more than $15 million in accounts from the Democratic primaries. They demanded to know why the money wasn’t spent to help Kerry defeat President Bush or to aid congressional candidates.
There were no easy answers to those questions, officials close to Kerry acknowledged Thursday, but they sought to assure Democrats in a series of telephone calls that the four-term Massachusetts senator was sharing his political wealth.
Kerry’s advisors pointed out that they gave the DNC $32 million during the primaries, but that still doesn’t explain away the money that sat unused while Kerry rolled towards the convention. (Yesterday’s AP report that Kerry left $15 million in the bank from his federal funds was apparently in error, as the AP has since changed the story.) It also doesn’t explain why Kerry sat on the cash and watched as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee borrowed $10 million for races in Texas, where redistricting left them at a distinct disadvantage. Even if Kerry spends the money on Congressional races in 2006, the damage is done; the incumbents in the new districts will have the advantage over new challengers.
Some of Kerry’s campaign staff expressed their surprise and dismay over the revelations on his leftover funds. Some Democrats questioned why, if Kerry had $45 million ready to use at the close of the convention, why he didn’t just opt out of public financing altogether. He only gained $30 million by opting in, an amount he could easily have raised in the final 60 days leading up to the election. That move would have saved him from being subject to spending limitations and would have forced George Bush to do the same.
All in all, the incompetence of the Kerry campaign reveals itself more and more each day.