A Peek into Darrell Clarke’s Bucks

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A LOOK at influential Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke’s campaign finances.

I’ve assisted a number of people in both reading campaign-finance reports and forming political committees. There seems to be a mystique around the whole process. I think that more people could (and should) read these reports; they tell us a great deal about our political process and who is funding it.

Often, you can learn a lot about a committee’s finances by reading just the first two pages of their campaign finance report. or this article, I am going to refer to the 2019 cycle 1 Friends of Darrell Clarke campaign finance report. (Visit https://tinyurl.com/tz6v2pf.) You can download it and print it if you want, but bear in mind it is 18 pages long. We will talk about page 1 and page 2 only, and will learn quite a bit about Clarke’s fundraising in the process.

Let’s start with Page 1. In the center of the page, you will find seven lines of numbers, noted A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Think of these entries like the account summary on your bank statement.

Line A: Amount Brought Forward from Last Report – This is the amount of money that was in the bank at the time the report began. In other words, this is what they started with. If a candidate were at the very beginning of their journey, this number would be $0.00. For this report, Darrell Clarke starts the cycle with $173,250.50 in the bank.

Line B: Total Monetary Contributions & Receipts (\from Schedule I) – This figure represents the amount of money that was contributed during the reporting cycle. It is a total of all PAC contributions, individual contributions, bank interest and anything else that contributed money to the committee. The total here for Darrell Clarke is $56,550.00.

Line C: Total Funds Available (Sum of Lines A & B) – simply a total of lines A & B. We take the $173,250.50 from line A, and add it to the $56,550.00 of line B, and get $229,800.50.

Line D: Total Expenditures (From Schedule III) – the total of all expenditures during the cycle. \Friends of Darrell Clarke spent $65,029.92 during the cycle.

Line E: Ending Cash Balance (Subtract Line D from Line C) – this figure represents the cash in the bank at the end of the cycle. We take $229,800.50 available, subtract $65,029.92 and get $164,770.58.

Line F: Value of in-Kind Contributions Received (from Schedule II) – if the committee received anything of value as an in-kind contribution, it is noted here. Friends of Darrell Clarke did not report any in-kind contributions during the cycle.

Line G: Unpaid Debts & Obligations (from Schedule IV) – any debt or unpaid invoices from the campaign are totaled here. Unpaid invoices might include things like an outstanding phone bill that has yet to be paid. Friends of Darrell Clarke had no debt to report.

We now have an overview of how much money is flowing through the account of Friends of Darrell Clarke. Let’s see how he raised the money.

In order to do this, we turn to Page 2, which has a table that outlines aggregate sources of funds for a committee. For Friends of Darrell Clarke, the entries are as follows:

Unitemized Contributions & Receipts – $50.00 or Less Per Contributor – for Friends of Darrell Clarke, this number is $0.00. That means there were no contributors to the campaign during the cycle that gave $50.00 or less to the committee. This also probably means that the committee sponsored no events where the entry fee was $50.00 or less.

Contributions Received from Political Committees (Part A) – this number is $750.00. This is a small percentage (1.3%) of the total $56,550.00, and represents all PAC donors that gave between $50.01 and $250.00. This means that small PAC contributions are not important to Friends of Darrell Clarke.

All Other Contributions (Part B) – this is the number of individual contributions between $50.01 and $250.00. These contributions can come from individuals and businesses that are sole proprietorships and partnerships, like law firms. The amount contributed by such entities for this cycle is $2,200, or 3.9% of the total of the $56,550.00. Again, we can conclude that Friends of Darrell Clarke probably did not sponsor any small donor events during the cycle.

Contributions Received from Political Committees (Part C) – now we are getting into the “big donor” section of the report. This section includes all PAC contributions of $250.01 or more, and we see that this number is $19,000.00. This is 34% of the amount raised by Friends of Darrell Clarke.

All Other Contributions (Part D) – individuals and qualifying companies (sole proprietorships and partnerships) make up this portion of the table, which is $34,600.00, or 61% of the total raised.

From just two pages of this report, we can conclude that Friends of Darrell Clarke is not funded by many small donors, and that the bulk of Clarke’s fundraising comes from wealthier individuals and larger PACs. The rest of the report (in this case, Pages 3 through 18) are just detail, supporting the information on pages 1 and 2.

David Lynn is an independent political analyst in Philadelphia. He is currently stress-baking like there is no tomorrow.

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