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February 21, 2024

RFK Jr.'s Campaign Burns Through Cash as Independent Bid Falters

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s independent presidential campaign is facing financial strain, having spent more money than it raised last month, highlighting the hurdles his bid faces as he strives for ballot access with substantial support from a super PAC.

According to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday, Kennedy's campaign disbursed over $3.2 million in January, while bringing in slightly under $2.7 million. As of January's end, his campaign account held over $4.8 million.

The largest portion of Kennedy's expenditures went towards security services, totaling nearly $430,000, with funds directed to Gavin de Becker's firm, a security consultant who also maintains a distinctive loan arrangement with the super PAC assisting Kennedy's candidacy.

Other notable expenses included over $330,000 allocated for staff salaries, more than $260,000 for digital media services and online advertising, $202,000 for campaign merchandise, and $169,000 for event-related catering and facilities.

This marks the second consecutive financial report showing Kennedy outspending his income.

During the last quarter of 2023, he exceeded his fundraising by $700,000. Presidential candidates are required to disclose their financial records monthly during election years, compared to quarterly reporting in non-election years.

Kennedy's campaign claims to have secured ballot access in two states thus far — Utah and New Hampshire — while ongoing petition drives are underway in roughly a dozen other states.

To bolster his ballot access efforts, Kennedy's campaign has increasingly relied on supportive super PACs. American Values 2024 announced intentions to allocate between $10 and $15 million to secure Kennedy's presence on ballots in ten significant states.

The super PAC's substantial spending prompted a complaint from the Democratic National Committee to the FEC, contending that such expenses should be deemed in-kind contributions to Kennedy's campaign, surpassing legal limits.

While the outcome of the FEC complaint remains uncertain due to the agency's sluggish processes and partisan gridlock, it underscores the Democrats' earnest approach to ballot access efforts.

Despite Kennedy's campaign relying heavily on grassroots donors, with nearly one-third of January's contributions coming from individuals donating less than $200, significant support also derives from larger donors. Two-thirds of his campaign's contributions exceeded the $200 threshold, and supportive super PACs have received seven-figure donations to supplement fundraising efforts.

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