Lieberman’s Last-Minute Donors


As the uphill fight by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) to hang on to his Senate seat reaches its final stages, the money is flowing in so fast to his reelection campaign that there’s hardly even time for neat handwriting.

For the past couple of hours I’ve been poring over 165 pages of handwritten reports filed by the campaign with the Federal Election Commission – the 48-hour notice reports that outline the contributions received between July 20 and August 3rd.

The reports are supposed to cover the period up to August 5th, but that last batch is not yet available on the FEC’s website. (Believe it or not, Senate candidates file their reports on paper, not computer, and it takes the FEC about 48 hours turnaround time to post images of the raw reports as PDF files.)

Keep in mind this is a very quick survey of those records. But here’s what a couple of hours digging have turned up:

During that 15-day window, the campaign collected $201,000 in PAC contributions from an array of interests. Leading the pack, so to speak, were five pro-Israel PACs which gave a combined $26,000. Six PACs from the securities industry gave $21,000 in all. Next came banking PACs ($19,500) and PACs from the telecommunications industry ($19,000). He also got two $5,000 contributions from the Pequot PAC that represents Connecticut’s casino-owning Pequot Indians.

By far the most money came from individuals, though. And while I haven’t yet added up the numbers from each state, it’s obvious from looking at the reports that the biggest share of it came from well beyond Connecticut’s borders. New York, Florida, Illinois, California and the Washington, DC area all were major sources of funds. I’ll try to quantify the numbers later today.

Because Lieberman’s opponent, businessman Ned Lamont has spent so much of his personal fortune on the race, the “millionaire’s amendment” has kicked in to boost Lieberman’s maximum contribution level to $12,600. Nearly all the contributions listed were far below that level, but two came in for exactly that amount. Both came in on August 1st, one from investor James Allwin of Greenwich, CT and one from John Streicker, a real estate executive from New York City.

Lieberman also collected a little from his colleagues in the Senate during that 15-day period. He got $5,000 from the leadership PAC of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla), a $2,200 personal contribution from Herb Kohl (D-Wis) and $1,000 from former Arizona Senator Dennis DeConcini.

Pennsylvania Governor (and former Democratic National Committee chairman) Ed Rendell chipped in $1,000 as did former New York Mayor Ed Koch. Former Treasury Secretary (and Goldman Sachs chief) Robert Rubin gave $6,300 on July 29. In their haste to accept the money, the campaign was unable to identify Rubin’s profession. Instead, they listed “information requested” – FEC jargon for “I don’t know.”

In their rush to sort through all those incoming checks, the campaign also made an error or two. On July 20 they filed duplicate reports for contributions that came in from three PACs and a Washington lobbyist named Robert Hall. I can tell they were duplicates because they were filed in the same order on each page, but in two different handwritings.

Oh well. When the money’s piling in as fast as it is at the Lieberman campaign, mistakes will happen.