IL-11: Foster’s Financials

by , posted on Monday, July 18th, 2011 at 7:30 am

I had a theory about why Bill Foster was running for Congress again, this time in the newly redistricted IL-11. It had to do with the fact that his terminal financial disclosure statement from his stint in IL-14 showed that he’s sold out of ETC (the company owned jointly with others, including his brother who ran the business) and his wealth at that time seemed to be locked up in a promissory note, in combination with the fact that his campaign essentially owed him a million dollars – i.e. he was a million in debt. To himself.

My theory was influenced as well by persistent rumors I heard at the time of Foster’s last campaign against Hultgren, that he was rather bored in Congress, would like to return to physics, etc, etc. Not rumors I had ever passed along as, so far as I could tell, they came from no one very close to him and seemed speculative at best. But I heard them frequently enough that I was surprised to hear he was interested enough in being in Congress to decide to run in IL-11. And then there is the lack of any staff as of his first new FEC filing of this campaign – not even a professional fundraiser.

So my theory was simple: Foster had decided to run to raise enough cash to pay himself back that million dollar loan to his campaign fund, and if he won, okay, but if he lost, well that would be okay too. Now I think that theory is simply wrong.

The reason I’m now discounting it as a possibility is that so many who are near and dear to Foster have already maxed out to him for both the primary and the general. Among the twelve maxed out already are: his wife, his mother, his daughter, his daughter’s significant other and his son. A man doesn’t go to his family like that if the purpose of his campaign is to break even on his political career.

Beyond their contributions, those coming in from Dem leadership PACs and campaign committees indicate that the party is serious about getting Foster back. PACs and campaigns sending dollars Foster’s way include: PAC to the Future (Nancy Pelosi’s PAC) $3,000, Nancy Pelosi for Congress, $4,000, AMERIPAC (Steny Hoyer’s PAC) $5,000, VictoryNow PAC (Chris Van Hollen’s PAC) $2,000, New Democrat Coalition $5,000, along with upwards of $8,000 from an assortment of other Dem PACs and campaign committees, all from the New Democrat Coalition. As we saw in Foster’s initial run for Congress – and in so many other primaries that the party was, ahem, not going to interfere with – this sort of cash starts flowing early and freely to favored candidates. Not infrequently, for the phrase “favored candidates” you can interchange “self-funding candidates”.

So I’m betting the leadership has reason to be confident that Foster is serious or this money would not be flowing his way.

Generally Foster’s first financial disclosure of this cycle contains nothing at all that is not predictable: lots of donations from fellow physicists and fellow members of the New Democrat Coalition, family maxed out, leadership PAC cash flowing his way probably in an automatic sort of way.

The only question is why no disbursements of note yet. But then it’s early and we may well start seeing them in the next quarterly filing. Perhaps the more relevant question is what portion of his wealth can he, and is he willing to, make liquid enough to loan it to this campaign?


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2 Responses to “IL-11: Foster’s Financials”

  1. modestybl says:

    Foster is also giving talks at major particle physics conferences about his experience as “a scientist in Congress”. He’s serious, but his support among physicists is decidedly muted this time around. It didn’t help that he basically insulted most of his colleagues at national labs and the Dept of Energy… I’m looking forward to hearing how he insults us again in his talk at the APS Division of Particles and Fields conference next month…

  2. IL JimP says:

    I heard he hated every minute that he spent in Congress as well. I know he has experience but the new IL-11 seems to be set up to have a more liberal/progressive member than the old 14th could produce. I don’t think that Congressman Foster is that person, even if he his the establishment’s favorite son because he can self fund some of his run.

    BTW I’ve heard more than a few rumors that his heart isn’t totally in this run either, despite the donations from leadership and his family.

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