Mitt Romney’s loss on Tuesday has some people asking if the hundreds of millions of dollars conservative donors gave to Romney-backing outside groups could have been better spent patching up the crack in the Liberty Bell or something.
But then, it doesn’t matter what some people ask. What really matters is what the few people capable of writing multi-million dollar checks ask. And at least one highly visible Republican mega-donor is wondering whether his money was spent the way he wanted it to be. The problem, retired mutual fund executive Foster Freiss told The Los Angeles Times for an article published Thursday, has to do with transparency.
“You have no idea of the financial structuring of a lot of these outside groups in terms of how much went to the actual delivery of a message,” Friess said, “versus how many dollars were taken off as fees to the people running them.”
Friess told the Times he’d ideally like a change to campaign finance rules that would allow donors like him to give their big checks directly to candidates. Nevertheless, having just spent $5 million on a losing effort doesn’t make Friess think the giving to outside groups is going to slow.
“My guess is that four years from now, the financial support will not drop off but may be even higher for the outside groups,” he said.
Friess, who originally backed former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s bid for the Republican nomination, gave large sums this cycle to the pro-Romney Restore Our Future, the pro-Santorum Red, White & Blue Fund, and FreedomWorks. In February, Friess got headlines and criticism for saying on national television that, back in his day, women “used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com