Bernie Sanders' Campaign Account Tops $9 Million | Off Message

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders' Campaign Account Tops $9 Million


Rep. Peter Welch and Sen. Bernie Sanders - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Rep. Peter Welch and Sen. Bernie Sanders
In the weeks following his reelection last year, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) continued to fundraise at a brisk pace, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Between November 27 and the end of December, Sanders collected close to $560,000 and spent nearly $250,000. He finished 2018 with roughly $9.1 million in his Senate campaign account.

Sanders, who is reportedly close to announcing a second run for president, could legally transfer the funds to a presidential campaign committee. A separate, mostly dormant account affiliated with his 2016 campaign had more than $4.7 million in it at the end of the year, according to another FEC filing. A third account under Sanders' control, the Progressive Voters of America political action committee, reported $125,000 in the bank.

Sanders' latest Senate campaign report shows that he kept his reelection team of roughly a dozen people on payroll at least through the end of the year. That included several people who are expected to play a role in a potential 2020 presidential bid: 2016 campaign manager Jeff Weaver, spokesperson Arianna Jones, Senate campaign manager Shannon Jackson and senior adviser Joshua Orton. (CNN reported last month that Weaver would not reprise his role as campaign manager but would likely serve in another capacity.)

The senator also paid a Des Moines political consulting firm $2,500 in December, according to the filing. The company, PAD Consulting, is run by Pete D'Alessandro, who was Sanders' Iowa campaign coordinator in 2016. D'Alessandro did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his current role.

Vermont's two other members of Congress raised comparatively little at the end of 2018, according to their reports filed with the FEC.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who does not face reelection until 2022, took in about $113,000 from October through December — roughly 40 percent of which came from special-interest groups. Vermont's senior senator accepted money from PACs affiliated with Airbus, AT&T, the National Cannabis Industry Association, Raytheon, Space Exploration Technologies, T-Mobile, Vail Resorts and Verizon.

Leahy's Senate reelection campaign account had close to $1.7 million at the end of the year. Green Mountain PAC, which he also controls, had roughly $57,000.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who won a seventh term last November, raised just $642 in the final month of 2018. His campaign account reported $2.1 million in the bank, while his political action committee, Maple PAC, had roughly $20,000.

Disclosure: Paul Heintz worked as Peter Welch’s communications director from November 2008 to March 2011.