UPDATE: Democrat Denny Heck has personally loaned some $350,000 to his congressional campaigns – including a fresh $100,000 infusion for this year’s bid in Washington’s new 10th Congressional District. Republican Stan Flemming’s campaign is trying to keep pace with Heck and rival Republican Dick Muri’s fundraising by using creative financing: Flemming borrowed $100,700 from a firm in Beverly Hills earlier this year.
Flemming, the University Place physician and retired Army general running for Congress in the 10th Congressional District, apparently has connections with the widow of late Hollywood comedian Buddy Hackett. Sherry Hackett donated $1,000 to Flemming’s campaign – and Spanky, LLC, a company registered to her, has loaned the campaign another $100,700, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Another $4,000 came from David Loftus, a producer who is now married to Sherry Hackett.
South Sound Republicans who favor rival Muri are raising questions. Dan Cathers, a former Thurston County Republican Party chairman who is co-chair of Muri’s campaign in Thurston, posted information about the loan on a Facebook page that called the loan source “mysterious.”
Carol Cain of Flemming’s campaign put out the following statement in response to an Olympian query about what she said is “the initial loan from Spanky, LLC” (that is the name of the lender for which Sherry Hackett of Beverly Hills is listed as the registered agent):
Spanky LLC is a company that was formed to loan money for projects of all types of businesses. Its only business is to loan money. The loan to the Flemming campaign was made in the normal course of everyday business for the company, not its first or only loan and meets all of the criteria for the FEC requirements, including loan documents, interest rates charged and due dates.
The FEC only allows loans coming from nontraditional banks, if the loan and the company meet certain criteria: normal business of making loans, interest rates charged, with due dates, all of the appropriate documentation. While the Flemming Campaign is not privy to the additional clients of Spanky, LLC, we are aware that they fund many types of projects and the campaign was not the first loaned money. The attorney used for the documentation did clarify with the FEC that all requirements were met.
David Loftus is a business associate of Stan Flemming. They were working on a project for Veterans in this area together. Sherry Hackett is also a business associate involved in the same project. There are others involved in the Veteran’s project but I do not have their details. …
While $100,000 is a large amount, it is very small when compared with Denny Heck’s personal loans ($350,000) to his campaign or Bill Driscoll’s ($500,000) loans to his campaign in the 6th. Congressional campaigns require a lot of money if you are a serious candidate, and Stan Flemming is. In today’s economy and with so many important campaigns all over the State, traditional sources of fund raisers are few and far between. In Flemming’s situation, since there are two (R)epublicans running; the party will not get involved financially until after the primary. Mr. Heck has the ability to write very large checks to his own campaign and has the support of the Democratic Party at this point in time. To win, Mr. Flemming had to think outside the box, but legally, as to how to find sources of money for the campaign. He is not able to write himself a check for that amount from his personal sources, thus the loan from Spanky, LLC.
The Flemming campaign continues to raise money from contributors and PACs.
In this very important election, the budget for a serious congressional campaign will reach at least $1.4 million dollars, with most being spent in the General. However, to win in a primary, in a new district, that is geographically large, which the 10th is, it will take approximately $500,000 to get the message to the voters just in the primary.
I did some searching on the Internet for information about the Spanky LLC. It is registered with the California Secretary of State’s Office and Sherry Hackett is listed as its registered agent at a Whittier Drive address in Beverly Hills. I am still looking for contact information for Hackett and Loftus.
In any case, Cain said the firm is not involved in the campaign.
The loans have helped Flemming appear credible as a later entrant to the race. His fundraising numbers for the first quarter of 2012 were close to par with Muri, who got a head start and has been campaigning ever since he lost in the 9th district in 2010 to U.S. Rep. Adam Smith. Federal Election Commission reports showed Flemming had raised $125,051 through March – compared to $133,377 for Muri.
New campaign finance reports for the second quarter are due in mid-July, covering fundraising through June. As of March 31, Democrat Denny Heck of Olympia led all six candidates with over $1 million raised – including $350,000 of his own wealth if one counts $250,000 carried over from his 2010 campaign as outstanding debt.
None of the other three candidates, including progressive Sue Gunn of Olympia, independent Steve Hannon of Yelm, and Democrat Jennifer Ferguson of Lakewood, have reported fundraising to the FEC.