Heads up, Tennessee Republicans. Bill Frist took the money you sent him for reelection, put it into the stock market, and lost a bundle - to the point that the campaign now can't pay back a bank loan.
And now Bill Frist wants to do the same thing to your Social Security money.
Here's an idea: why not pass a law that requires all campaign money leftover after an election to be placed in a government escrow account? The thought of fellow politicians slobbering over a large pile of cash might be enough motivation for the average elected official to make sure things like this don't happen.
Then again - Washington might finally figure out the meaning of the term "lockbox."
UPDATE: Well, I toodled over to OpenSecrets.org and found out some interesting information. Frist raised $9.6 million in the 2000 election cycle. He's now lost $460,000 of that in the stock market. That's just under 5% of everything he raised in the year he was actually running for re-election.
But wait - this gets better. 60% of his total was given by large donors ($200 or more) and 20% was from PACs. Small donors of less than $200 gave just 11.2% of that full amount: $1,079,547.
In other words: Bill Frist lost over 40% of the campaign money given to him by small Tennessee donors in the stock market. People sent him small sums of cash because they think he's going to be fiscally wise and protect the government from the wastrel liberals, but he takes their money and throws it away in a bad stock deal!
But wait - this gets better. OpenSecrets.org says that at the end of the 2000 campaign, Bill Frist's money looked like this:
Cash on Hand: $2,147,016Yet here's what the Washington Post articles says those numbers look like now:
As of the end of September, Frist 2000 reported cash on hand of $312,807 and "debts and obligations owed" of $349,107. Castignani said, however, that this did not include the stock market gains of more than $11,000 in September.Okay, let's add in the $11,000, Mr. Castignani. That makes the "cash on hand" $324,000 or so.
Let's have fun with math. At the end of December 2000, Bill had $2.1 million in the bank and $1.4 in debts. He's paid down the debt to $349,107, so that's $1,090,893 he's paid off.
Now Frist 2000's cash in hand is $1,056,123. He's lost about $460,000 of that in the stock market. That's 44% of his remaining cash in hand going to light cigars on Wall Street.
But $460,000 (what he lost) and $324,000 (what he still has) doesn't add up to what he had at the end of 2000 in his 2000 election campaign fund. Where's the other $272,000, Senator Frist? What were you buying when you should have been paying your bills?
Meanwhile, records show, Frist has continued to use money from the 2000 campaign account to cover various expenses.Senator Frist, might consider $272,000 petty cash, but I'm sure that many of those who gave it to him don't.
Recent spending, for example, included $689.50 for flowers for a holding room for visiting dignitaries attending the funeral of former president Ronald Reagan, and $9,457 for "Senate gifts" from the Senate Gift Shop. Castignani said he did not know about the nature of the gifts, but he added that FEC rules allow federal officeholders to spend campaign money in support of official activities.
And imagine going to a funeral and seeing a reelection campaign ad among the flowers. That's just tacky.