The good Mr. Loftus reports at C-J:
Thanks to a big contribution from Congressman Andy Barr’s campaign committee and a transfer from the Republican National Committee, the Republican Party of Kentucky reported raising more than $450,000 in August and that it had $2.1 million in the bank at the end of the month.
Andy Barr’s campaign gave $125,000 to the state Republican Party on August 20th. That’s noteworthy not just for its size but also for what it means.
Yesterday, hours after his opponent released an internal poll showing the race within single digits and Andy under 50% with 18% undecided, the Barr campaign put out an internal poll of their own claiming Andy Barr was actually up 19% over Elisabeth Jensen [see: Barr v. Jensen: Competing Internal Polls in Kentucky’s 6th District.]
In the Barr campaign’s polling report, they highlighted and attacked Jensen for having loaned her campaign $100,000. The fact of Kentucky’s 6th District Congressional is that while Barr has received hefty institutional support from within the Republican Party fundraising machine, many key Democratic fundraisers have continually overlooked Jensen and her race. As of mid-July, Andy Barr had nearly $1.5 million in cash on hand. His campaign has enjoyed vast infusions of cash from Wall Street investments firms, Too Big to Fail Banks, predatory lenders and more. Meanwhile, Jensen’s campaign has done tremendous work at keeping pace amongst individual donors but has enjoyed no such boom in institutional ones. The fact that Barr’s campaign attacks Jensen for loaning herself $100,000 at the very same time it’s just handing off $125,000 to the state’s Republican Party is only the latest example of Andy Barr’s insulting hypocrisy. But what it should signal to Democrats in the state and nationally is that because they have largely overlooked this race, so far (and time is quickly running out), they have created a situation where Barr’s massive cash haul will spill over in effect into other state races, both for the General Assembly and the Kentucky Senate Race. If Barr’s internal poll is even half right, that spells some real trouble for Alison Lundergan Grimes. In 2010, Barr lost by just 648 votes. In his 2012, he won by less than 4%. If the gap does not close in the 6th District race, that’s a good sign for Mitch McConnell. Grimes must go huge in the 6th and the 3rd in order to win. As it stands, Andy Barr has so much money still to spend that he can simultaneously plaster the 6th District and fund Republican efforts statewide.
The point is, Barr is now able to make the rest of the GOP stronger, hurting Dem chances across the board — even though Jensen has done a strong job of fundraising from individuals.. If national forces and other major state campaigns don’t start digging in against Barr’s Wall Street millions, it’s bad news for everyone. But just because they’ve not started yet, doesn’t mean they can’t jump in now. Given the past races in the 6th, it would be surprising if that margin between Barr and Jensen doesn’t close further between now and election day, but it’d be foolish to take that assumption to the bank, and even more foolish, as B&P has long warned, to believe that even a 4% loss here couldn’t spell a death knell there.
Another interesting piece of information in the latest Republican Party of Kentucky report is that the RPK paid an additional $15,000 to Jesse Benton. Benton resigned as manager of the McConnell campaign late last month due to his role in an apparent cash-for-political endorsement bribery scandal. To date, the Republican Party of Kentucky has paid Jesse Benton $105,000. So, sure, Andy Barr’s $125,000 check should come in handy.
That’s in addition to the more than $425,000 the McConnell campaign paid Benton for less than two years of work. (When someone has a history of being involved with bribing people for their support, one does have to wonder where all that money goes.)
As Loftus also notes, the RPK got several large checks — though, not really all that large when compared to Andy Barr’s contribution — from out of state donors. One of those, a $10,000 check from Richie Ray of Richie’s Specialty Pharmacy in Conroe, Texas.
Richie’s Speciality Pharmacy sounds quaint enough but is actually one of the leading players in the “compounding pharmacy” business which has arisen in recent years to put small mom and pop Main Street pharmacies out of business. The compounding pharmacy market is largely unregulated and Richie Ray is one of their biggest cheerleaders, doling out big bucks in Texas and spreading that wealth across the country:
Compounding pharmacies are already locked in a bigger fight—one that more directly affects their bottom line—over how they’ll be regulated by the FDA. That fight involves lawmakers and lobbyists at the state and federal levels, and Ray and his staff have been instrumental in bankrolling compounders’ interests.
Until now, the FDA had oversight of big drug manufacturers, but compounding pharmacies—which had long been little mom-and-pop shops that made drugs for pets or lollipop medications for kids—were left to state regulation. As compounders have grown, so have horror stories about tainted drug batches shipped from compounders to customers nationwide. In its report TPJ recalled the case of Dallas-based ApotheCure, whose drugs killed three patients in Oregon in 2007. Cedar Park-based Specialty Compounding was linked to infections last year in more than a dozen patients. And most notoriously, tainted drugs from the New England Compounding Center killed at least 64 people and infected more than 700 more with meningitis.
That outbreak prompted a quick response from Congress: for the first time, large-scale compounding pharmacies are set for federal regulation, with standards similar to drug manufacturers. But which businesses will fall under federal watch as “outsourcing pharmacies,” and how much that’ll cost them, is all up to rule makers at the FDA.
If you’d like to read more about the RPK’s new friend, you can start here: