Republican Party

Fiscal Responsibility: Running a Campaign on Debt

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

How's this for fiscal responsibility?

GOP Senate candidate Mike Braun is challenging Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly in Indiana and, according to The Daily Beast, Braum's campaign is deeply in debt.

In fact, about 75 percent of Braun's campaign has been funded by debt.

More than three of every four dollars in his war chest was loaned to the campaign, and the bulk of it has come from banks with executives who are Braun’s friends, professional acquaintances, or campaign donors. [...]

Braun is challenging Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in a key Republican pickup opportunity, and has reported less than $2 million in direct contributions for the effort, which is dwarfed by the $6.4 million in loans he’s used to bankroll the campaign.

A significant chunk of that money has come from Braun himself; he’s loaned his campaign about $1.8 million. But most of it has come by way of loans from three banks, all of which are charging him relatively low interest rates.

As The Daily Beast reports, banks whose executives are close friends of Braun are more or less funding his campaign.

That would be illegal, but Braun has circumvented contribution limits by taking on the debt himself in the form of low interest loans and then funneling the money back into his campaign.

If you believe super PACs and dark money spending can compromise political candidates, this is much worse. Rich donors may donate to super PACs under the expectation that they will receive something in return from the candidates once they're in office, but in this case Braun would literally owe money to his donors; banks that he would be partially responsible for overseeing as a United States senator.

Obvious opportunities for corruption aside, how can we expect Republicans to exercise sound fiscal judgement in office if they can't even run a campaign without running a massive deficit?

  • Draxiar

    Oh not to worry, Russia will bail him out.

  • muselet

    According to FiveThirtyEight, polls since the start of September have mostly shown Joe Donnelly with a very slim lead over Mike Braun. All the usual caveats apply (Likely Voters versus Registered Voters, sample size, who’s doing the polling), but earlier polls showed Braun with a lead.

    With any luck, Mike Braun’s creditors won’t get their money’s worth on their not-inconsiderable investment.