Santa Ana City Council member Michele Martinez was quick to send out a press release yesterday highlighting her fundraising prowess in the race for campaign cash in the 69th Assembly district campaign. But a look into those numbers reveals an exaggerated picture. Her campaign writes:
“Michele Martinez raised more in campaign contributions than both of her competitors over the six month fundraising reporting period that ended on December 31st and leads the field in total cash on hand. Martinez’s $100,000 fundraising haul came in less than four mounts and was around $10,000 higher than her nearest competitor, who raised around $90,000 over a period of six months.”
Let’s take a closer look at her claim. In raw numbers from the campaign reports she’s correct if you forget that of the $100,000 she raised, $15,700 was in the form of a loan from herself made the very last minutes before the filing deadline. It really isn’t much of a get to ask yourself for a loan to artificially make your “fundraising haul” look bigger than it really is. Since the loan is also a debt, it’s disingenuous to include that loan as money raised when comparing numbers with other candidates who did not make loans to their campaigns.
Then we have the issue of “Cash on Hand.” Martinez claims to have the most campaign cash in the bank based upon the reports filed Tuesday. Martinez reports $92,484 in available funds compared to $70,498 for her opponent Julio Perez. Again, in raw numbers from the reports, her claim is accurate. The devil however is in the details.
In addition to the inflated amount of cash due to her loan, Martinez mysteriously leaves out the travel expenses she has incurred while traveling to Sacramento and other locations outside Orange County to raise funds for her campaign. I’m talking about multiple trips, not just one or two. It is widely known in political circles that she’s been traveling all over the state for the past several months seeking endorsements from legislators in addition to campaign cash. None of those expenses appear on her reports.
In addition, Martinez has failed to report any expenditure for campaign staff members who are working on her campaign. Expenditures for Lupe De La Cruz to Alex Florez (a Dream Team kid) failed to make it onto the reports. This is a common trick used by campaigns to exaggerate their cash on hand by failing to report all of their expenses in a timely manner. While illegal, there really is no penalty since all the campaign needs to do is amend their reports at a later date.
So there you have it. Martinez did have an impressive level of fundraising success over the past six months, but her claim; “Our early fundraising advantage will ensure we have the resources needed to communicate these priorities with voters,” is a bit more hype than substance.
I recognize that by virtue of her experience as a member of the Santa Ana City Council Michele Martinez has gotten pretty good at putting “lipstick on a pig,” her attempt to craft a sows ear into an overflowing purse is a bit over the top.