When Consultants Get Mad…

December 20, 2013 11:30 am

by Mike Hassinger · 12 comments

Matt Laughridge spent a lot of money running for State Senate District 14 -the special election to replace Barry Loudermilk, who resigned the seat to run for Congress. While the campaign disclosures are not finalized yet, and won’t be until the end of the year, his expenditures through 6 days before the runoff show more than $180,000. Some of those expenditures are pretty eye-popping, including a $31,279.39 payment to M.C. Collier Productions for “General Consulting Fees” in November -and that’s in addition to more than $73,000 in payments to M.C. Collier Productions reported earlier. That’s a lot of consulting. (By contrast, Bruce Thompson shows just over $50,000 in expenditures -and he won.)

But even though the runoff election was just 17 days ago, somebody’s claiming Laughridge is “past due” on his bills and has defaced his website. 

Two lessons here should be taken to heart by all future candidates: Pay your bills. And choose your consultants wisely.

peachpundit (@peachpundit) December 20, 2013 at 11:31 am

New post: When Consultants Get Mad… http://t.co/lGQwfI3eh3 #gapol

Mike Hassinger (@MikeHassinger) December 20, 2013 at 11:35 am

When Consultants Get Mad… — Peach Pundit http://t.co/7qnCWMUUpY

griftdrift December 20, 2013 at 11:37 am

Wow. What a weird world the inside of the bubble is.

Mrs. Adam Kornstein December 20, 2013 at 11:41 am

Pretty stupid if your own website isn’t managed and secured by trusted members of your campaign staff. Who allows a consultant after an election access to the backend on a site?

No wonder our elected officials are so confused by cyber security and hacking they don’t even understand how to protect themselves.

southernpol December 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I was heavily involved in this race (on Bruce’s side) so I’ll give a little insight here…

The large consulting payments were mostly for vendor payments (TV ads, billboards, signs, website, etc) that were not itemized out as they should have been on the disclosure filings. (Insert ethics violation 1 here). We on Bruce’s side had no idea how much they spent polling, on TV, etc. I’ve been told that this was done to protect vendors identities (for personal reasons in regards to Matt’s family) – but if you don’t do it right, it’s an ethics violation.

The consultant, I have been told, does not control the website — another vendor does — and after she explained that she has not been paid back to pay the vendors, I guess this website vendor did this. Having been apart of another campaign that didn’t pay its debt (Newt) I can tell you this is probably the start of a very long road of negativity about Matt’s campaign.

The consultant is highly respected in Cartersville — much more so than the Laughridge family. I, along with a lot of other people, were very surprised when she took Matt in this race. I hate it for her because she has been through a lot.

As for Matt – he’s not a terrible guy. Is he state Senate material? Absolutely not. And neither are his parents.

John Konop December 21, 2013 at 9:29 am

I live in Cherokee, but this race was not in my district. I really had no horse in this race and met with both candidates. I only got involved, as I told both candidates to make sure no matter who ever won that we could focus on issues over the nasty divisions in the community. I told Thompson no matter who wins I would do my part to help mend fences as I told Matt. I have friends on both sides of the fence who feel like I…..that much of the problems between the groups are personal not political issues……I do think people in the political arena have a vested interest in stirring the pot over solving issues…Thompson would be smart to reach out and mend fences, if not with the right candidate it could be another tough race….the only winners are the political consultants…..

As far as the consultant in this race…..it did appear the consultant was very focused on how they make money first……in fairness it appears the family was naive to the political game……from talking with other consultants I know some do focus their profits on TV, signs……on top of the fee….other do it as a pass through……with that said obviously if the proper disclosures were made the consultant should get paid. But many people from all sides questioned before election night the way the money was spent and how the campaign was run…..

Finally, I have never met the family nor ever done business with them. From my understanding they do have a good reputation in helping the community, and they run a very strong business. It is very impressive they survived a massive down turn….. Obviously they made some poor choices in the political arena……but, any way you slice it they are a very successful family in the business world.

Harry December 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm

It seems wrong that a state senate seat should cost so much. So much money leads to the impression that it’s a den of influence peddlers.

Chris Huttman December 21, 2013 at 5:20 pm

George Washington spent (depending on how you calculate inflation) in today’s dollars between $15 and $150 / voter on his winning 1758 campaign for the state house.

Of course, 90% went to alcohol for voters, so you could argue that things have gone off the rails, at least from the voter who wants a free drink perspective.

Harry December 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I’ll bet GW wasn’t in hock to his contributors, because he self funded.

greencracker December 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm

People who dress fancy but don’t pay their vendors, ahem, especially when said vendor is a one-woman show, ought to get worse than e-vandalism. Debtors prison? Tar and feather? Chain gang? Yes and yes and yes.

Web person, if you’ve got a solid case, sue whoever’s at fault here, the candidate or his consultant or whoever.

I’ve ever only had to sue one client and he declared bankruptcy 18 months later — before small claims court even moved on my case! #DelayedDenied

Sure, as the saying goes, it doesn’t do any good to sue a beggar. But I might have got a little something if the court was in gear. And if he was too broke, how about a Fulton County Jail farm?

greencracker December 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Also, yes, $180 k is _entirely_ too much for a state Senate seat. No matter what you think of money in politics, a Georgia state Senate seat does not cost any $180k..

I didn’t follow this race and I don’t know any of these people, but somebody won and it wasn’t Laughridge or Thompson.

Doug Deal December 24, 2013 at 12:20 pm

The best policy for people selling to political campaigns is that unless you have an established relationship, spend no money on venders until you are paid. I’ve seen too many people ripped off by campaigns, having bought materials before the campaign writes a check.

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