Update: Results are coming in...and I'm noticing a trend.
Joe Lieberman spent over $387,000 in undisclosed petty cash disbursements. The campaign has refused to provide the journal that their treasurer is legally required to keep, noting every cent of disbursements and the name and address of every individual who receives petty cash. I'd hazard that, based on the law of parsimony, the Lieberman campaign failed to keep an accurate and legal journal and thus will never produce one for public scrutiny.
Beyond the almost certainly illegal failure of the Lieberman campaign to keep legally required records of their petty cash expenditures and beyond the likelihood that since the going rate for Lieberman's paid "volunteers" was $150 per day [Times Select link], people need to understand how abnormal a petty cash expenditure of this size is.
With that in mind, I'm asking for your help. Go to the FEC filings for the October quarterly filing for the following fifteen candidates - what I imagine is a decent and representative sample of campaigns, though by all means search for others - and find out how large the petty cash disbursements for each campaign were. Remember: Ned Lamont's were $500, Joe Lieberman's $387,000. The Lieberman campaign claims they're in the clear, let's prove them wrong by looking at what law-abiding campaigns were spending via petty cash.
Ben Cardin (MD) - $0.00
Kweisi Mfume (MD) -$0.00
Lincoln Chafee (RI) - $650.00
Stephen Laffey (RI) - $0.00
Hillary Clinton (NY) - $0.00
Jonathan Tasini (NY) - $0.00
George Allen (VA) - $0.00
Jim Webb (VA) - $0.00
Harris Miller (VA) - $0.00
John Tester (MT) - $0.00
Conrad Burns (MT) - $0.00
Bob Corker (TN) - $0.00
Harold Ford (TN) - $1500.00
Sherrod Brown (OH) - $0.00
Mike DeWine (OH) - $0.00
Ed Case (HI) - $0.00
Daniel Akaka (HI) - $0.00
Alan Schlesinger (CT) - $0.00
Ned Lamont (CT) - $500.00
Joe Lieberman (CT) - $387,000.00
Here are a few tips on searching the FEC filings, courtesy of Aldon Hynes:
Type in the name of the candidate you want to research.
You may have to poke around to find the appropriate committee since there are often multiple committees associated with a candidate.
When you find the right committee, you need to select a filing. To keep things apples to apples, look the October Quarterly filing. Searching a candidate that has had a tough primary makes it a more fair comparison. The odds are you will be looking for filings that are over 1000 pages long.
The first part of the filing is the receipts. The second part is the disbursements.
It is fun to read through these reports, not only to see what people have done for 'petty cash', but also where they are spending their money. Any guesses on where Mark Foley has been spending his campaign cash?
If you use a binary search, you can find, relatively quickly where the first disbursement is. So, as an illustration, George Allen's report is 1717 pages long, and it only took a little while to find out that the first disbursement was on page 1510. That means 207 pages of disbursements.
I won't waste time commenting on what Aldon thinks is "fun," but please get to it!
Please leave a comment if you're able to help out and let us know who you'll be investigating so we don't double up on work. Report your results and together we'll build a list that we all know will show Joe Lieberman's petty cash expenditures as grossly unusual and not something that his campaign or the media can brush off without full investigation.
MLNer joejoejoe has already found out that both Daniel Akaka and Ed Case had $0.00 in petty cash disbursements in the Hawaii senate primary. This is a great start.
As I said before, we have to keep this story alive and our research here will go to proving that petty cash disbursement like Lieberman's don't happen all the time.