Liberal Fund Raising out of RED to battle Blue

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Liberal Fund Raising out of RED to battle Blue

Liberal Fundraising ..Turbo Charged Backhoe :)



OTTAWA -- The federal Liberal party is scooping up donations like a turbo-charged

backhoe and its national director says it will soon clear its $2-million debt.

Rocco Rossi said yesterday the party likely will escape from the red in time

for the Liberal biennial convention in Vancouver this month "or shortly thereafter.

"He also said first-quarter fundraising for 2009 was "significantly better"

than the same period in 2008, though he could not provide numbers


The LPC are rejuventated and appear to be very focused.




They found a loophole, or are violating the law outright, as I am sure the tories are.


remind remind's picture

Kens posted some stuff here about what they were doing, and so much for madmax being a partisan NDPer. ;)


I had a different take.  The Liberals are the only party trying to spin their fundraising numbers in advance of their being released.  Makes me want to look doubly close at them to see what they're trying to hide.

Last time Rocco Rossi was trying to spin a story out of their National Executive meeting (about how they bought Obama-type software), in fact the real story out of the meeting was how the executive voted down nearly every recommendation of their Party Renewal Commission.

They are good at spin, alright.  That's when we should be on heightened alert, though.


More like a methane powered fundraising 'backhoe'.

As in powered off the vapours of big piles of manure.

The shameless cheerleading and obfuscating team of Kinsella and Rocci has been using that debt figure of only $2million for months now.

In 3 months we'll see what it really was at year-end. If it is not at least $4million, I'll eat my hat.

Kinsella and Rocci will have some good news to report by then- as always, fabricating as much of it as need be. They issue a series of unsubstantiated statements that no one can check on for several months- like the claim the debt was only $2million that they started making 4 or 5 months ago.

By the time the lag in reporting to Elections Canada shows a substantially different picture, they will have moved on to some new bullshit about how its not what everybody thinks, they are in fine shape. Turbocharging along even.

When the screen falls over on this particular Potemkin view [the debt supposedly being only $2million], our Liberal spinmeisters will have new obfuscating 'facts' to report that cover over the 'discrepancy' in the size of the debt they are carrying. They'll change the subject once again to how much improved fundraising supposedly is, and say they are chewing through the debt.

[When the truth comes out and they are asked about that discrepancy in the size of the debt they had reported, they'll just duck and bob.  "Its the debt from the election campaign that matters.... that 'older debt' is going to take some time to work through." Etc. Blah, blah. 'Did we tell you about the turbocharged fundraising?"]

As far as I know, there is no feasible way for the Liberal Party to hide how much debt they really have when the year end reports are public at the end of June.

But what they report about their fundraising is subject to endless manipulation. Before the quarterly filings with Elections Canada they can claim anything they want- just like they claim that they have only $2million in debt to work down. And unlike with debt reporting, they can cook the books around fundrasing figures.

The Liberal Party of Canada routinely moves contributions around in shell games among its various constiutent organizations. They can easily inflate what is reported for one or two quarters. The power struggles in Quebec during Dion's leadership had Quebec movers and shakers raising money for the Quebec wing and running the contributions through EDAs [ridings] so that much of it didn't even have to temporarily pass through the LPC. EDAs would show 100 or more people contributing, all on the same day, with a lot of the money dissapearing as ridiculously outsized 'expenses'... the Quebec wing of the LPC being the presumed recipient.

With Iggys ascencion ending those civil wars, they can go back to the straightforward passing of those contributions through the LPC to the Quebec wing. Any of that will show up as improved fundraising for the LPC, even though they don't keep the funds.

And then there will be Iggy's supposedly million dollar fundraisers... which of course won't turn out to be quite that. But even if all of them together only total a million dollars, even that will show as a huge improvement in Liberal fundraising.

But it isn't. There are only so many $1100 contributions to hustle for out there. Whatever they do of that in the first quarter they won't be able to sustain.

The only way the LPC is going to get itself out of the hole that keeps it on a very short leash is by vastly improving the number of their smaller donations. With the $1,100 limit that IS the new world of party financing.

And the reason the LPC spinmeisters never have anything to say about financial issue # 1 is simple- because its all bad news. They've accomplished nothing so far. And when/if they manage to start, it will take quite a while to show results.

...tick, tick, tick, tick...

The First Quarter party filings that report contributions come out in 2 or 3 weeks. We'll have something to pick over then.

In fact, because of the substantial decrease of their subsidy, new interest servicing costs, let alone crrecting the ongoing operating deficit they had before those 2 recent hits... the Liberals are going to need some fundraising improvement just to keep from falling back on the treadmill.


Just went back and read the story. Its kind of funny.


First there's the headline- "Liberal Party races into black."


As if Rocci doesn't already dish out the superlatives. Is Christina Spencer at the Sun national bureau notably Liberal? Or is she just chronically gushy?



Rossi called the fundraising gap "a fundamental threat to democracy" because it meant the Grits couldn't pay to get their message out properly.


Not to mention whether they can even afford to do anything but duck when its time for confidence votes.


the outspoken Rossi said his party must rapidly reform its fundraising techniques.


"Outspoken" is a new way to describe bald hubris. Anyway, they are doing 180 degree the opposite of rapidly reforming their fundraising.


So. It turns out that the Liberals only spent 72.6% of their spending limit. Leaving about $4.5million on the table they were allowed to spend.


To put that in full context. The lack of advertising hurt them in a campaign where they knew they needed every vote they could get to hang on. And had they spent $4million more, $2.5 of it would have come back in rebates.


So for lack of $1.5million, they did without $4million in badly needed spending- money that they had planned to spend.


Forgoing that $1.5million of debt would only happen because they were in very serious financial straights. That doesn't come from only not raising as much money as expected during the campaign. If that was the only problem they would just bite the bullet and add it to the debt. Only Harper Crew does not plan for debt you pay down after.


But if you already have substantial debt even before the campaign, and have an ongoing operating deficit even during non-election times when parties are supposed to run surpluses... then you cannot afford to look at adding even a very modest new debt as a temporary phenomena.


And lets look at that [allegedly only] $2million debt of the Liberal party. That figure started appearing from the ever reliable Kinsella after the campaign- because most observors were figuring it was much more.


But here we are nearly 6 months later and its still the $2million, that we are led to beleive they are "flying through."


Well, $2million is a very modest campaign debt, and 6 months post-election is enough time for a party to work through it. And thats not fast- just methodical. I think the NDP said the campaign debt was something like that, and its probably paid off by now. No fanfare. No announcements. Nada.


But the Liberals would have us believe they are 'flying through' a debt that would be gone by now even if they were moving at snails pace.


And when they claim to raise $1million in a single night a couple weeks ago, and other big night of his Igginess pulling in the cash... well, $2million debt should be long gone.


Unless of course it is considerably more than $2million and the big one night fundraisers are just keeping the machine moving, and thats it.


Ken, I think parties only get a 50% reimbursement of their expenses.  It's candidates that get 60%.

As to that April 1 fundraising dinner in Toronto, I've seen several different reports on it.  Warren Kinsella claims they raised a million dollars, but another post I read from Don Martin said that they sold 1,050 tickets for $500 each (=$525,000) + $600 tickets to shake Iggy's hand at a private reception ahead of time (there would have had to be 792 people at that private reception to make up the difference to $1 million).

The Jurist has an interesting take over at Accidental Deliberations ... basically that the Libs had a lot of cheek to argue that only they could beat the Conservatives when they did not exactly put everything they could have into the task.  And furthermore, that there was a perhaps not coincidental overlap between the people who would have decided to cut back spending mid-campaign and the people who paved the way for Ignatieff's coronation.


You can bet they were also fundraising for Iggy's Leadership campaign- which still has some fairly substantial costs to cover. And donors can do that on top of their $1100 to the LPC. And this is just the kind of venue where the high rollers will want to be seen giving as much as possible.

More squirrel in the cage suff for the Liberals. The only strong capability they have is getting the big bucks. Because of the sea change in contribution limits they have to peddle frantically to get a fraction of what they used to get. Its not getting them anywhere, but its better than nothing.

So its possible the $million figure is real0 or close to it- but not that much going to the LPC.

Turbocharged squirrel cage.


There was an earlier thread on the impact the Libs financial shape has on their willingness to take on the Conservatives with more than bluster and posturing. IE, when push comes to shove and Harper pushes their agenda, which he did even in the Budget when they were quite vulnerable, do the Liberals vote them? Or is it likely they will in the forseeable future?

We see now that they shaved off $4million from their campaign because they were too debt over-extended. For all the months of obfuscating claims, neither their debt picture or their fundraising capability has changed. So each time a confidence vote comes up- with Harper tossing some more of their reactionary agenda in with the stimulus spending- the Libs are looking at a little more debt than the last election... where they backed off from the spending.

Unless they can come out of a possible election with a clear victory- which isn't in the cards for the short and medium term- they aren't going to go into another election where they cannot afford to spend the limit. And remember it isn't just being outspent the $5million by the Cons during the actual election... the Cons also spent millions on advertising before the writ dropped.... and will again before each juncture where the writ may drop.


That earlier thread was kind of all over the map on topics. So I'm going to repost blow two or three items from it.


As noted, the Libs have been regularly putting out dodgey obfuscations about their finances and posturing about the great things they are [will be] doing, ever since the election. Here are a couple of the more recent ones that were in that earlier thread.


KenS wrote:


Both the NDP and the Green Party after the election volunteered info to supplement what is in the public filings and give a quick thumbnail of their basic financial position. In the case of the Greens, they did so even though the picture was not that great.


The Liberal party instead keeps coughing up obfuscating spin to give the impression things are hunky dory.


This blogpost followed one of those efforts that ran in le devoir.




KenS wrote:

 Ignatieff sets donor, member targets for MPs


What a joke !!  If they really think this is going to accomplish anything they really are without hope.

they seems to be no end to Iggys conceit in how far he thinks his bluster is going to get him. And with Bozo sycophants like Kinsella, hes racing blind for thin air.


That they have "brought in new fundraising specialists" is an also an exaggerated bit of puffery. They have a good addition in the person of the new CEO [Rossi]. But he has NO organizational turnaround fundraising experience whatsoever. Let alone that the Byzantine LPC with all its little fiefdoms would be a challenge for anyone.


And the Liberals love to crow about how much money Iggy can talk out of a room. More irrelevant puffery. They know their problem is that they are clueless and still far from a start on how to get donantions from the masses. Talking money out of rooms and one on one was what they already excelled at. But with $1100 limits on donations that capability is all glitter and no substance.

They know that. But they have always been firm believers in "posture and they will come." That has not worked for years. The fact Dion was inept in his posturing... getting rid of him doesn't mean going back to it is going to work... with the public, or with the Liberal faithful.

 Ever here anything again about these donor targets for rings? You wouldn't have even if you were in the LPC. Because like eveything else, its all about giving the impression things are moving.



God, the new Babble is hopeless for trying to manipulate importing stuff. Sorry it looks like such a hash. I tried to fix. I've read the technical advice on how to make it work... but [I'll never remember]...

KenS wrote:

Its worth noting that the Liberals financial situation will not have changed one bit when the first of those confidence votes they asked for comes up.
Even if Team Iggy moves really fast it will at best have things in place to gradually bring into place an improvement in funraising capabilities. With a lag after that of impact on the financial situation.

That first confidence vote comes up this month I believe. Part of the reason there is no chatter about it is because the Liberals have already signalled "it isn't time" to bring down the government. Again.
And when we do get close to the vote, we'll be seeing Harper announce some regrerssive legislation or plan, before the confidence vote... daring the Liberals to back up their talk.
La plus ca change....

And here a month later is the Liberals making the predictable duck- dirty work by Goodale, so the Royal Iggy's 'gavitas' isn't sullied.

KenS wrote:

Ignatieff won't bend on 'slush fund' 


     oops.    sorry, that was yesterday.


Today it is....


Liberals tone down election talk



Liberals are dialling down the volume on spring election speculation.

Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale says his party is not seeking a confrontation with the Tory government over a $3-billion fund aimed at quickly stimulating the sputtering economy.

The Liberals plan to table a motion Monday calling on the government to detail how the money is to be spent.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said the fund is a matter of confidence in his minority government and has warned that opposition parties will find themselves in an election if they don't approve it.



sounds just a tad familiar, eh.



Iggy made- past tense definitely- a big deal of how they were going to hold the 'governments feet to the fire', and do it with the periodic 'report card' confidence votes.

The first is this month. But back in February the Libs said that would be 'too early' and they would wait for the June report card confidence vote. [As usual, brave words from Iggy, backtracking from Goodale.]

Next month they'll be saying [again] that 'Canadians don't want an election'... and spin some strong sounding words about how the Fall update will be the one.

And what will happen in the Fall? I think an election is still highly likely, but it won't be because Iggy and the Libs are taking on Harper.

The Liberals have yet to start improving their sustained fundraising. When/if they do, there is still a substantial time lag until they can risk taking on the amount of debt they will require for a full spending limit campaign.

It is already too late for them to be in that position by Fall. And given that, they will only welcome an election if they can gain big enough to be able to form government.

Being even with or slightly ahead of the Cons in the polls is not good enough. They aren't even guaranteed being able to maintain that much, and a substantial further shift in their favour is not very likely. And thats what it will take for the Liberals to actually want an election, rather than just blustering and posturing about 'taking on the government'.

It is the opposite strategically for the Conservatives. Because another election they don't win will put the Liberals under more severe financial pressure [with the side benefit of eroding Iggy's 'winner-look']... an election with a downside risk of being a draw or even a seat loss for the Cons, has benefits in itself... let alone the upside potential to do better than that.

The only thing that would get Harper to hold back is if the polls show a reasonably possible outcome of a combined Liberal and NDP majority of seats- without needing the Bloc. The risk of a repeat three party agreement, they can accept. First, it probably just won't happen. And in the unlikely event it did, it would be reasonable for the Cons to expect to win the follow-up election.

Summary: as long as it is reasonably certain the Bloc will get enough seats to eliminate a likely outcome of a combined Lib/NDP majority of seats, another election is fine with the Conservatives... and at least through this year, the Liberals will continue to stay away from elections unless the stars shift enough that they can expect to come out of it winners, and therefore take the risk of really steep accumulated debt.

And it does not look like by Fall it is likely at all that the Bloc will be moved from numbers sufficient for enough seats to make a Lib/NDP virtually impossible.

So come Fall, I think we'll see a full return of the 'dare you' to vote us out Stephen Harper. Less bluster about it, and a little more care about how it is packaged. But even last year at the height of their walking over the Dion Liberals, every time there was a confidence vote it was over legislation that the Cons would be perfectly happy to take to the swing voters they need.

Legislation put to confidence votes that is desirable or acceptable to the swing voters, but which the Libs cannot be consistent and vote for. There is plenty of it they have not yet brought out. Crime bills for starters. And much more.

So as long as in the run-up to Fall the numbers stay in a similar range as now for the Cons.. they will once again put the rock and hard place lose-lose choice to the Liberals.

Behind Door Number One: "its not time for the country to have an election", eat crow, Iggy gets cut down substantially, and the Cons continue to govern as a majority.

Behind Door Number Two: an election you cannot win is better than the alternative. And when its over, because you are chickenshit, and in even more exposed financial shape to be ready for the next election.... the Conservatives continue to govern as if they have a majority.

Wilf Day

The Liberal debt is so dire, it may provide an alternative explanation for why they backed out of the Coalition. They felt that the NDP would be able to blackmail them into implementing NDP initiatives, because if the Coalition fell apart and a snap election resulted, the NDP would be able to fight it and the Liberals would not.

What do you think?



I think the LPC were desperate to save their hairy butts.  Dion set up the coalition and made such a mockery of it, that the only rational decision left for the LPC was to leave it. It was a position supported by a majority of the public. The public got what they wanted. The end of the coalition, they no longer feared their government would be hijacked, and the Elected Conservatives obtained a dancing partner. The public were looking for someone able to work with the Conservatives.  The Liberals are now fundraising from coast to coast and doing an excellent job of it, regardless of their level of debt. 

The LPC are riding a wave of popularity and are trending upwards. There is no reason to have an election, but to harvest all the new monies and enthusiasm required to become the "government in waiting".

If you look at the NDP adds in September, they would have been right had not Harpers threat to the life of the Liberal party not occurred. The LPC used the NDP for that helping hand up. They ditched a loser, quickly and have dispelled those NDP adds that suggest the LPC would be in a long leadership race for hte next year.  The NDP knew Dion was toast, and that the LPC were in trouble.  To this day the NDP have done nothing to counter their association with the coalition and the double black eyes they have received. One from the CPC and their attack, and the other from the LPC and their betrayal.

The coalition already had the items on the table. There would be little room left for "blackmail" and it would likely be incredibly stupid for the NDP to try to blackmail the LPC under such precarious position as having only 112seats between them.

The NDP are not in this game. They wrote themselves out in January with the final decision not to participate in government. No one is listening to them, and this is the time when their message should be heard.

People have decided, and they will return to the LPC fold in great numbers. The funding will come back, and they will run a strong campaign. The NDP will be the fringe party defending small bits of turf. Instead of a party that was campaigning for their leader to be Prime Minister, they will not be the official opposition, the "real" opposition, or anything else, even though little has changed with the LPCs action in parliment.  The LPC are riding the teflon wave, and the party in trouble is the CPC.

I expect a minority LPC government and the NDP reduced to 9 to 15 seats depending on if they remain on the current path and with the LPC holding control of the election date.

I will agree that prior to the LPC shift, the NDP would likely have been in a better position to fight an election then the LPC. But with the abandonment of the coalition, and the return of LPC party support, especially in vote rich Ontario. I'd say the LPC will be ready for a fight for power when an election is called and the NDP will now be the party fighting for survival.







But I don't think so.

Parties don't go into coalition agreements without effective checks on that sort of thing. And call me naive, but I think with party leader's in such an arrangement, their word to each other in itself counts for a lot.

That said. Over time, strains in a coalition increase... and the Libs would know that it would not take the NDP overtly blackmailing for them to be exposed to the NDP being more ready to have an election.

That tension exists within all parliamentary coalitions in Europe where they are common: even if there are only 2 partners, one of them is usually substantially more exposed to the risks of an election. But the fact that is tolerable in Europe does not make it easier in Canada where we have no experience with this... let alone for the imperious Liberal Party of Canada.

I was among those who predicted wrong: that despite all the obvious disinclination , we thought Iggy would be too tempted to take the bird in the hand of governing by Coalition. But clearly, the fact that they would not be able to govern alone was sufficient disincentive for enough Liberals... fears of NDP blackmail not required.

remind remind's picture

Anyone still thick madmax is a partisan NDPer?


I don't remember him/her saying was that.

To me, would appear to be someone who likes both the NDP, and the Liberals at least to some degree. May just be the garden variety of wishful thinking they will take on Harper.

Obviously I think thats a missplaced faith, but not something to harrass people about in my opinion.

Something like: people prefer different glass houses. I'm not a relativist who thinks they are all the same... but I recognize I'd be on shaky ground to argue that my house is categorically different.


An excerpt [emphasis added] from an on-topic blog post by Jurist 3 weeks back.




In fact, it's not hard to see how the Libs might see their current strategy as carrying less costs for the party than being honest about their intention to keep Harper in power. As long as their supporters are willing to try to argue that the latest confrontation is different (and put their credibility on the line in support of the proposition that this time the party is serious about standing up for something), the Libs can count on having at least some positive statements being made about them even if those statements prove not to be true. And if the result is that Lib supporters spend 75% of their time defending the party for its posturing and only 25% expressing disappointment that it's once again caved in substance, the net result is almost certainly seen as being positive for the party - especially compared to the inevitable demoralization that comes from not even putting up a facade of opposition.

 Here's the problem, though: the result for the country as a whole is based on the Libs' substantive votes, not their attempts to play to the cameras. Which means that by defending the Libs based on little more than a bare hope that the latest set of posturing means more than the previous few dozen, Lib supporters are ultimately only enabling the party in rationalizing that it can get away with propping up the Cons.

That makes for an obvious asymmetry in expectations: even as the Libs' supporters have gone out their way to argue that there's no link between past performance and future results, the Libs' party apparatus is taking entirely for granted that it can count on past supporters maintaining that position no matter how odious the party's next capitulation might prove to be. And in the absence of any reason to believe the Libs will start developing any inclination to stand up to Harper anytime soon, that cycle only figures to end if Lib supporters start wising up rather than pouncing on every available scrap of hope that next time will be different.



howardbeale howardbeale's picture

KenS wrote:
Forgoing that $1.5million of debt would only happen because they were in very serious financial straights.

Perhaps. Another explanation would be the party, under Dion, being in serious organizational straits.

Dion was so inept he failed to follow up with Glib fundraisers who were calling in to help. This is a guy so scatterbrained he didnt have his plane ready for the last election.

Even if all the Lib 'backhoe' nonsense were true, they still wouldnt be ready for the next election for at least a few months. Downplaying the debt figures is just good poker.

Easier to get more money if youre able to portray yourself as a winner. Pretty soon you are a winner. Donald Trump's still able to sell his brand even though even his casinos lose money.


Interesting points, though, Ken. I pretty much bought the backhoe story at first. Even though Ignatieff's a condescending patrician, I loathe Harper so much more I'm inclined to swallow anything suggesting his imminent demise.


howardbeale wrote:
Easier to get more money if youre able to portray yourself as a winner. Pretty soon you are a winner.

Well, the Liberals certainly are practioners of bluster and posture. They portray themselves as what is stopping Harper, and no matter how many times they do the opposite, the vain hope is enough to get more than dyed in the wool Liberals to give them the benefit of the doubt [again]. The hopes vested in Iggnatief are just the latest itteration of "now things will be different".

There are two reasons whether or not the Libs are doing better financially is relevant.

One is internal to the LPC: they want people to believe, to get behind 'the plan,' which in practice amounts to demands rapped up in a pep talk: "this is what we MUST do, and things are going great, so lets do it." I think this is the main reason for the obfuscation and bluster around the finances. And so far, only the inner circle is buying in.

The secondary but still important reason for spinning the fundraising BS is to impress people outside the party- the effect, or attempted effect, that would show up in Babble.... to counter the commentary that the Liberals are in no shape to do any more than talk about "stopping Harper".

If fundrasising was all about charming people and portraying yourself as a winner the Liberals would have no problems. That is how Iggnatief gets money out of people at those events organised by Rossi.

But the Liberals have never had trouble getting money that way. Things have just changed and that isn't good enough anymore- not even close. Fundraising from a multitude of donors takes an organization and organizational culture that the LPC just doesn't have and has made no progress in getting.

And until they do, no amount of hot air is going to make this pig fly.