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Romney spending big bucks in Utah
Desert Morning News ^ | 07/26/07 | Bob Bernick Jr. and Lee Davidson

Posted on 07/26/2007 3:32:53 AM PDT by AKSurprise

MITTLINK

Mitt Romney has not only raised a lot of campaign cash from Utahns in his presidential race, but he's spending a lot of it here as well.

New campaign financial disclosure reports, analyzed by the Desert Morning News, show that while Romney has raised $3.8 million from Utahns, he's also spent $605,442 here. That is more, for example, than any local congressional candidate — or any candidate for that matter — has spent here this election cycle.

What is Romney buying?

He spent $30,000 on Mitt Romney bobblehead dolls from Asian Sources in Cedar Hills (a small company owned by his brother-in-law, Rod Davies). They were given to donors who gave at least $96 to the campaign during its "Sign Up America" day that sought to gain 24,000 new supporters in 24 hours.

Also, the campaign spent more than $22,000 to cater events when Romney or top officials visited the state, from nearly $9,400 at the Gateway Grille in Kamas to $1,500 at the Deer Valley Resort.

The campaign paid Shannon Norton of Lehi $3,000 to photograph Romney events here. It paid $720 to a valet parking firm. Romney spent about $170,000 on local high-tech companies consulting on Web services.

But the really big money — about 70 percent of all that Romney spent here, or more than $450,000 — went to strategists who are helping him figure out how to raise money. Whatever they are doing is working well in this state, since an eighth of all that Romney has raised nationally has come from Utahns.

Most strategists are not talking about what exactly they do to help raise funds and what groups they are targeting and how. Interestingly, many of them also do not list business or home phone numbers.

Campaign consultants

The local operation is run, in part, by John R. Miller, a Midwestern millionaire with a home in Deer Valley, where Romney also owns a home. Miller's John R. Miller Enterprises (as listed on the campaign reports) has an office on the top floor of the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Salt Lake City. But the firm's telephone number is not listed, and an assistant to Miller at the plush office said the firm is not actually a business.

John R. Miller Enterprises was paid $29,924 for "finance/travel," Romney's campaign filings show. Miller did not return telephone calls for comment.

The person who received the most for "finance consulting" — $141,723 — was Karen Hammond of Farmington. She did not respond to a note left at her home seeking comment about what exactly she does for the campaign, and the campaign did not return phone calls about it.

Another fund-raising strategist who did not return phone calls was Don Stirling, manager of Rainmaker Sports & Entertainment (where his partners are Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller and Blake Roney, chairman of Nu Skin Enterprises.) Rainmaker was paid $75,000, or $15,000 a month for the past five months for "finance consulting," reports show.

Last year, Stirling created a national controversy when the Boston Globe newspaper received and published a leaked copy of an e-mail that Stirling had sent, while working directly for Romney's campaign, that raised questions about whether The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was helping raise funds and build support for Romney. Both the church and Romney campaign denied that was the case.

A group of Romney backers that included Stirling apparently went too far in seeking support from alumni of the LDS-owned Brigham Young University. They sought to use alumni lists from the BYU business management school to solicit support, giving the color of church support.

However, the church remains neutral in all political races, and Stirling and others had to back away from the BYU connection.

Spencer Zwick is Romney's campaign fund-raising staffer, a former Utahn who got to know Romney when he was his driver during the Salt Lake Olympics. Zwick has several connections to Utah, including his father, Elder W. Craig Zwick, a member of the LDS Church's First Quorum of the Seventy. Spencer Zwick did not return telephone calls for comment.

New strategies

One fund-raising strategist who returned a phone call was Max Farbman. He is a well-known political consultant/fund-raiser, used extensively by several Utah politicians, including former Gov. Mike Leavitt, who had Farbman basically run his extensive political action committees during his 11 years in office.

"I'm doing fund-raising strategies across the country, not just in Utah," Farbman said. "The vast majority of my work is outside the state."

Also willing to talk to the Morning News about a new Web tool — used both for fund raising and to help residents do grassroots political work — was Tricia McGarry. She was a vice president for mediaFORGE, which developed special Web software and services Romney is using. MediaFORGE just sold those operations to Cobalt Communications Group, of which McGarry is president and owner.

Romney had paid mediaFORGE $139,000 for services.

McGarry said the Web tool, which can be seen at www.mittlink.net, puts a high-tech spin on grassroots work. In the old days, people excited about a candidate might pass out lawn signs to neighbors or talk over the fence to them. The new system gives them tools to send e-mails, videos, donation pleas and more to their friends.

Those participating earn points for their activities, which in turn can lead to rewards ranging from campaign merchandise or invitations to events. Participants can achieve different participation levels, from "citizen" to "revolutionary," "minuteman" or "hero."

"If the campaign needs to respond" to an attack or other issue, McGarry said they can send video or other materials to participants "to quickly spread it to their friends and associates." It also allows the campaign to identify which helpers are most active and effective, and send more resources to them.

The Web tool also allows participants to send pleas for money to others. "It is personalized, and the e-mail comes from them and not the campaign. It comes as a heartfelt message about something they are passionate about," McGarry said. It also might get through fire walls that could identify and stop e-mails from campaigns as unwanted spam.

"Voters need to know about this. One of the big stories (is) how so much money has been raised, and how much candidates have been spending to do it," she said. "Candidates who use (Internet) platforms like this are spending their money wisely and getting good use of their resources."

Utah ties

Romney basically lived in Utah for three years when he headed the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics.

He made many contacts in Utah and was credited with resurrecting the scandal-ridden Games and making them an athletic and financial success.

His connections here have led to strong support for Romney within the Utah business and civic community. He by far leads all other presidential candidates in Utah, according to polls conducted by the Deseret Morning News and KSL-TV.



TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Utah
KEYWORDS: campaign; donations; election; romney
Romney is a true businessman, he knows as the old axiom says in the private sector, "you need to spend money-to make money". And he's doing just that in innovative new ways, which is why he's been out-raising all the other GOP candidates thus far.
1 posted on 07/26/2007 3:32:58 AM PDT by AKSurprise
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To: AKSurprise

Presidential ================= Post-menopausal.

2 posted on 07/26/2007 7:07:50 AM PDT by Liz (It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. Voltaire)
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To: AFA-Michigan; Waywardson; Broadside; Gelato

ping...


3 posted on 07/26/2007 7:11:37 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats??)
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To: EternalVigilance; greyfoxx39; Diogenesis

“Miller’s John R. Miller Enterprises (as listed on the campaign reports) has an office on the top floor of the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Salt Lake City. But the firm’s telephone number is not listed, and an assistant to Miller at the plush office said the firm is not actually a business.”


How does that work? A business but not really a business?


4 posted on 07/26/2007 7:28:47 AM PDT by JRochelle (WalMart's 'Great Value' brand to be renamed, to be called the 'Great Wall' brand.)
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To: EternalVigilance

Maybe on that top floor of the Wells Fargo Bank is where all the “very secretive, US special ops” goes on in the “underbelly of politics.”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1871355/posts?page=43#43

LOL. You just can’t make this stuff up.


5 posted on 07/26/2007 7:36:00 AM PDT by JRochelle (WalMart's 'Great Value' brand to be renamed, to be called the 'Great Wall' brand.)
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To: JRochelle

It’s called “Romney-speak.”

Same as “Clinton-speak.”


6 posted on 07/26/2007 7:37:15 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats??)
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To: AKSurprise
I don't think it's news that Mitt would be able to raise lot's of money in Utah.

I would imagine that many Mormon's will give money and vote for Mitt, just for the fact that he is also a Mormon.

7 posted on 07/26/2007 7:52:12 AM PDT by Osage Orange (The old/liberal/socialist media is the most ruthless and destructive enemy of this country.)
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To: AKSurprise
He spent $30,000 on Mitt Romney bobblehead dolls

They bobble in a left-to-right motion to emulate the migration of Romney's stated political views.

8 posted on 07/26/2007 7:54:52 AM PDT by dirtboy (Impeach Chertoff and Gonzales. We can't wait until 2009 for them to be gone.)
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To: Osage Orange
I would imagine that many Mormon's will give money and vote for Mitt, just for the fact that he is also a Mormon.

What puzzles me is why he would have to SPEND any money in Utah? I very much doubt he worries that he will carry the state.

9 posted on 07/26/2007 8:00:07 AM PDT by greyfoxx39 (B.Richardson spends taxpayer dollars for his goofy projects, but not ONE cent for a decent toupee.)
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To: greyfoxx39
It's possible that he is being told/advised where to spend...and who to spend it with.
10 posted on 07/26/2007 8:06:19 AM PDT by Osage Orange (The old/liberal/socialist media is the most ruthless and destructive enemy of this country.)
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To: AKSurprise

It sounds more like PAYOLLA (read that greasing the palms)
of fellow mormons and the mormon economy.


11 posted on 07/26/2007 11:24:16 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: greyfoxx39

Yeah, that why my first thought, why would he spend a penny in Utah? Utah will back him in the primaries and Utah will go Republican no matter who the GOP nominee is, this is either returning favors or wasting money (and I really don’t see Romney as the type to throw money away).


12 posted on 07/26/2007 11:33:28 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Osage Orange
It's possible that he is being told/advised where to spend...and who to spend it with.

Oh, no! Nothing like that could POSSIBLY go on!

13 posted on 07/26/2007 3:12:33 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 (B.Richardson spends taxpayer dollars for his goofy projects, but not ONE cent for a decent toupee.)
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To: AKSurprise

“Mitt Romney has not only raised a lot of campaign cash from Utahns in his presidential race, but he’s spending a lot of it here as well.”

Why would he need to?


14 posted on 07/26/2007 3:13:19 PM PDT by Grunthor (God sends NO ONE to hell. That's why He gave you free will.)
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To: dirtboy

Now that was funny. LOL.


15 posted on 07/27/2007 8:39:57 AM PDT by DanielLongo (Don't tread on me)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

It’s his money. Perhaps he enjoys working with friends. Perhaps the state with the most college graduates per capita has something to offer in the way of expertise. Or perhaps he knows who will deal with him honestly and give him the best return on every dollar. In the end the real question goes something like this, “Who cares?”


16 posted on 07/27/2007 8:43:14 AM PDT by DanielLongo (Don't tread on me)
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To: DanielLongo

“It’s his money. Perhaps he enjoys working with friends. Perhaps the state with the most college graduates per capita has something to offer in the way of expertise. Or perhaps he knows who will deal with him honestly and give him the best return on every dollar. In the end the real question goes something like this, “Who cares?””

Apparently at least 16 people, so far...


17 posted on 07/27/2007 8:51:16 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: aMorePerfectUnion; DanielLongo

Wow, dude. Like that’s enough people to fill two whole mini-vans. That’s just like totally awesome. I did’t think THAT MANY people would really care, dude. I mean, like, that is totally gnarly.


18 posted on 07/27/2007 10:04:06 PM PDT by ComeUpHigher
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