The Buzz

Blunt campaign manager paid indirectly, records show

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. The Kansas City Star

Andy Blunt, the son of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Blunt, is being paid $10,000 a month to manage his father’s re-election campaign.

But the payments aren’t made directly to Andy Blunt. Instead, Federal Election Commission records show, the incumbent’s campaign committee has paid $102,000 this year to Statehouse Strategies LLC, Andy Blunt’s lobbying company.

The company, not the campaign, pays Andy Blunt.

A spokesman for the Roy Blunt campaign said the arrangement is legal and common. Other campaign consultants in Missouri said making campaign payments to a strategist’s company, rather than directly to the consultant, is standard practice in the state, and the nation.

“You buy me, you buy my company,” one consultant said. A one-stop shop allows a campaign to subcontract research, advertising, polling, and other campaign functions, he said, without having to worry about overhead and other incidental costs.

But paying Andy Blunt’s company, instead of Andy Blunt, could obscure some of the campaign’s spending, since Statehouse Strategies need not disclose its expenditures to the FEC.

“It isn’t unprecedented that a campaign would pay a consulting firm as a means of indirectly paying a campaign manager, but doing so does disguise how much the campaign is paying Andy Blunt” in terms of compensation and expense reimbursement, said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at Campaign Legal Center, a legal watchdog group.

Blunt's campaign committee has paid several companies for work, including Thompson Communications Inc. of Marshfield, Mo., as well as Washington D.C.-based fundraising firms. And Andy Blunt’s position with Statehouse Strategies has not been a secret.

The wages and expense reimbursements of some other staffers on the Blunt campaign, including deputy campaign manager Burson Snyder, are listed by name in the FEC disclosures. Abe Rakov, the campaign manager for Jason Kander, Roy Blunt’s opponent, has also been paid directly, roughly $102,000 over an 18-month period. Filings also list reimbursed expenses for Rakov.

Kander’s campaign has sharply criticized Andy Blunt’s dual roles as a lobbyist and campaign manager. Andy Blunt could not be reached for comment.

The FEC records also show roughly $41,000 in payments to a law firm once associated with Andy Blunt. Blunt left the firm earlier this year to form Statehouse Strategies, a lobbying company.

The Blunt campaign says the payments are for Andy Blunt’s work for the campaign before he left the law firm.

Federal law allows campaigns to spend money on many things, including contracts with outside vendors. Candidates are not permitted to convert campaign funds to personal use.