Hillary Rodham Clinton started the year flush with cash, but by the beginning of this month, she'd blazed through most of it — spending $11 million on ads, $3.8 million on messaging guru Mark Penn and $1,300 at Dunkin' Donuts, just to name a few expenditures — leaving her campaign woefully unprepared for an extended battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.
About $15 million — or more than half of the New York senator’s January spending — went to a cadre of high-priced consultants. Though much of the cash went through the campaign media buyer for ad time, the considerable payments to outside consultants mark an increase in a pattern that has irked campaign insiders. From the beginning of the race through the end of last month, Clinton paid the consultants $33 million — nearly one-third of the $105 million spent by the campaign.
Clinton last month doled out $15 million to a cadre of trusted political hands, mostly based in Washington, for everything from producing and placing ads, to polling and fundraising, to mailings.
Last month’s payments marked a spike in fees collected by those professionals, all working as outside consultants rather than staffers.
The January payments to Penn’s polling firm brought its total haul from the campaign to $8 million. That doesn’t include the $2 million the campaign owed the company at the end of January or the $125,000 it paid to the fundraising consultancy run by Penn's wife, Nancy Jacobson.