PHOENIX — The Federal Election Commission published new campaign-finance reports this week, and the details are worth a look.
The filings offer a glimpse into candidates’ bank accounts, namely where get their campaign money and how they spend it. The records show that Hiral Tipirneni, an underdog candidate running for the open seat in Arizona’s eighth congressional district, received more than $434,000 in net contributions from February 8 to April 4 — and the Democrat has been touting that number on social media.
But we dug a little deeper, and there are a few things Tipirneni forgot to mention.
Here are five discrepancies you should know about in the Democrat’s campaign filing:
1. Lawyers And Lobbyists: Despite pledging to not be influenced by lobbyists, Hiral Tipirneni continued to rake in thousands of dollars from lawyers and lobbyists during the latest filing period. Those lobbyists include Irene Bueno — whose personal client, Pfizer, paid her firm $280,000 to lobby Congress last year alone — and Robert Fleming, who is registered to lobby on behalf of a lawyers association at the state level. Lobbyists and lawyers who donated to Tipirneni come from New York, Maryland, California, and elsewhere. Speaking of which . . .
2. Out-Of-State Donors: Three-hundred and fifty-one (351) contributions in Hiral Tipirneni’s campaign filings come from out-of-state donors. That includes individuals and political action committees (minus any refunds the campaign provided) for a total of more than $113,000. Her opponent may have been speaking tongue-in-cheek when she said that Tipirneni would be “a better fit” for San Francisco than the West Valley, but donors agree: Californians ponied up more than $33,000 for the Democrat’s candidacy during the filing period.
3. The Soros Family: At least one family member of George Soros, the Democratic mega-donor with strong ties to President Barack Obama — took note of Hiral Tipirneni’s candidacy. Jennifer Allan Soros, who is married to George Soros’ son Jonathan, cut Tipirneni a $975 check on February 28, the very next day after she won the Democratic primary. The campaign filings do not provide enough information to determine if Tipirneni solicited the donation or if Jennifer Allan Soros provided the funds without the candidate’s knowledge.
4. Political Groups: Political organizations — as opposed to individual donors — contributed $24,750 to Hiral Tipirneni between February 8 to April 4. They include 314 Action Fund (a political action committee), an arm of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (a labor union), End Citizens United (a group focused on reversing the eponymous U.S. Supreme Court decision), and several others. Former Democratic Congressman Ed Pastor’s campaign committee gave $1,000 as well, despite not having been in office since 2015.
5. Money In = Money Out: Hiral Tipirneni reported about $416,000 in operating expenses during this period, slightly more than her opponent. The donations didn’t come cheap, either. Tipirneni’s campaign spent more than $22,000 on fundraising consulting, $13,000 on online donation-processing fees, and $278,000 on a combination of items that includes advertising, direct mail, signs, stickers, and print collateral. The campaign also spent $15,000 on polling from Lake Research Partners, a firm whose longtime ties to the Democratic Party have been detailed on Arizona Democrats Exposed.
While Tipirneni’s fundraising numbers are on-par with those of her opponent, the Democrat has faced increased scrutiny in recent days after a new investigative report found that Tipirneni — who often appears in medical scrubs interacting with patients in campaign ads — has not actually treated any patients in 11 years and was named in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The investigation aired on television after the latest campaign filing period.
Tipirneni will face Republican former state senator Debbie Lesko on April 24.