Angry vendors, stiffed by the financially-strapped Presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, warn others to avoid doing business with the New York Senator, calling her and her organization “deadbeats” and saying they may have to sue to get paid.
Health insurance premiums weren’t paid for campaign staff members for at two three months. The campaign claims health insurance was covered. Staff members grumble quietly they were not.
For all practical purposes, Clinton’s campaign is broke and debts continue to mount. The candidate who vows to carry her all-but-hopeless campaign to the convention in Denver in August faces having her phones silenced and her electricity shut off.
“This campaign is a mess,” says one Democratic strategist. “Organizationally, financially, strategically — it’s a goddamned disaster.”
Yet Clinton — short on delegates, short on support and short on cash — vows to fight on.
Reports Kenneth P. Vogel in The Politico:
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.
Vogel also reports:
Among the debts reported this month by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s struggling presidential campaign, the $292,000 in unpaid health insurance premiums for her campaign staff stands out.
Clinton, who is being pressured to end her campaign against Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, has made her plan for universal health care a centerpiece of her agenda.
The campaign provides health insurance to all its employees, their spouses, partners and children — and that wasn’t interrupted by any lag in payments to insurance providers, said Jay Carson, a Clinton campaign spokesman.
He said the campaign this month paid off all outstanding bills to Aetna Healthcare and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. Those payments will be reflected on a report the campaign will file this month with the Federal Election Commission, which Carson said will show “zero debt owed to both vendors.”
“Sometimes invoices are not paid immediately because we need additional information for our records, or to verify expenses,” Carson said in a statement e-mailed to Politico. “Sometimes invoices arrive at the very end of the month at the cutoff of the reporting period, which means that we are required to report them as a debt on the current FEC report, even where they are paid in regular course during the next month.”
But the unpaid bills to Aetna were at least two months old, according to FEC filings.
They show the campaign ended last year owing Aetna more than $213,000 for “employee benefits.”
During the first two months of the year, the campaign did not pay down any of that debt. In fact, it accrued another $16,000 in unpaid bills last month, and it finished the month owing Aetna $229,000.
As more and more information about Clinton and her faltering campaign surfaces, more questions are raised about her qualifications. The candidate who wants to run the country can’t even run her own campaign in a financially-sound way and the candidate who says she is most qualified to be commander-in-chief lied about being under fire during a visit to Bosnia and then dismissed the whole thing as a “misstatement” caused by sleep deprivation although she had repeated the same lie three times earlier.