July 25, 2007
Fake fundraising

Last week, a fellow named Quico Canseco, who hopes to be the Republican candidate in CD23 against Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, sent out a press release saying he'd raised the eye-popping total of $566,000 for the last quarter (see The Walker Report for details; the release was also picked up by the DMN). That's not just impressive, it's mind-boggling; think Lampson-versus DeLay for the perspective. And given the NRCC's fundraising woes, it would be a huge shot in the arm for their attempt to win back control of Congress.

Unfortunately for them, it turns out Canseco's claim was not exactly accurate.

San Antonio lawyer Francisco "Quico" Canseco claimed last week that he had raised more than $550,000 in the last three months in his bid to oust Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio.

But a federal campaign report filed Monday showed that nearly all of that money came from Mr. Canseco himself, bringing the amount he has lent his campaign to $1.03 million.

Just 22 other donors have pitched in, yielding $30,400 - a far cry from the boast the Republican's aides issued last week, which read: "Fundraising will not be a problem for Canseco, due mainly to the supporters who have rallied around his campaign."

Oops. Turns out as well that even with all that self-loaned cash, Canseco still trails incumbent Rodriguez in cash on hand, $550K to $315K. And as BOR notes, both Democratic challengers in the Republican-held CD10 raised quite a bit more from actual donors last quarter than Canseco did. It's much less impressive when you put it that way, isn't it?

It's amusing to me that Canseco bothered to tout this "accomplishment". Maybe it never occurred to him that these filings are public record and can be looked up. On the other hand, perhaps he banked on any news organization that ran his press release not bothering with such follow up. I can't say that was necessarily a bad bet, but if so he lost, and lost badly - the followup story was much bigger than the original notice. Oh, well, them's the breaks.

There's nothing wrong with being a self-funded candidate. Plenty of people have won office that way, and I doubt the national GOP committees really care where his money is coming from as long as it's there. But if you're going to be a self-funded candidate, it's best to be up front about it, lest you risk looking silly. Nicely done, Quico.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 25, 2007 to Election 2008