Breaking news last night from the National Review: Mitt Romney’s campaign numbers to be released Wednesday will show his campaign is $15 million in debt. However, a senior Romney aide who spoke to National Review, says the debt is actually closer to $11 million:
“We realized that we could collateralize this debt with $20 million of general-election funds that were already sitting in our bank account,” a senior Romney aide says, speaking exclusively with National Review Online.
“This is permitted by Federal Election Commission rules,” the aide explains. “In the past, the FEC has specifically contemplated candidates putting up their public financing payments as collateral.” Since Romney is not taking public funds, his finance team found another option.
In order to compete with President Obama, the senior aide continues, Romney’s advisers could not sit on their hands until they were able to use general-election funds.
So far, $9 million has been paid back. Five million was paid back before the end of August and an additional $4 million has been paid back in September.
When federal election reports are released later this week, they’ll show debt of $15 million, but the campaign’s actual debt is roughly $11 million. The campaign will soon begin fundraising to pay off the remainder. (National Review)
The Washington Post explains where the debt came from originally, “Although Romney has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in general election funds, his campaign could not legally tap those funds until after he officially was nominated at the Republican National Convention. Through the summer, he could only spend primary dollars, and once that money dried up the campaign was forced to borrow money to pay its bills.”
The aide was also reported to say that, “We took advantage of the law as it exists to secure this line of credit,” the aide says. “We were able to stay competitive in a period when we were looking at a tilted playing field.”
Truthfully, in a campaign where hundreds of millions of dollars have being raised and spent on either side, a debt such as this is very small. In fact, they used money from their general election account as collateral, and the chances of this loan defaulting are zero. Legally, candidates cannot spend general election funds until after they are formally nominated during their respective conventions.
However, the Democrats had no such loan. The only possible reason for this could be fiscal responsibility, it seems. The Romney campaign overspent and needed the extra money to make it through the convention until they could access their general election funds. There was no tilted playing field.
The Wall Street Journal reports, “By law, a presidential campaign can’t spend money from its general-election account until the candidate formally becomes the party nominee at the convention. Until then, it must spend money from its primary-election account,” with regard to the legalities in campaign spending. President Barack Obama faced the same restrictions the Republicans did. How was the playing field tilted?