Bush Campaign Death Spiral: Staffer Who May Have Pocketed $1.3 Million Tells Donors About Steps to Improve Financial Outlook

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks during the LIBRE Initiative Fourm at the College of Southern Nevada on October 21, 2015 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Bush said earlier in the day if elected president, he'd try to move the Interior Department's headquarters to the West, closer to the needs …
David Becker/Getty Images

Heather Larrison, the Jeb Bush campaign finance director who may have pocketed $1.3 million in 2015, either directly or through companies in which she may have an ownership interest, from the Bush campaign and the pro-Bush Right to Rise USA Super PAC, certainly has chutzpah.

The Washington Post reports that Larrison spent time last week trying to persuade Bush donors that the campaign has a good financial plan:

Privately, some donors have been fretting and eyeing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who won plaudits for his debate performances and has shown momentum in polls as an establishment alternative. Donors said senior campaign officials have sought to quiet their concerns. Finance director Heather Larrison held a conference call this week explaining the steps the campaign was taking to improve its financial outlook.

Breitbart News asked the Bush campaign if Larrison told donors on the call that the campaign, in addition to paying her more than $45,000 in salary during the third quarter, paid a company in which she may have an ownership interest, LKJ LLC, more than $534,000 during the months of July and August.

Breitbart News did not ask the Bush campaign about payments Larrison received from Right to Rise USA, the pro-Bush Super PAC. Right to Rise USA paid LKJ LLC an additional $617,000 during the first half of 2015. Another entity run by Larrison, The Larrison Group, received $143,000 from Right to Rise USA during the first half of 2015.

All told, Heather Larrison, The Larrison Group, and LKJ LLC received a combined total of payments in excess of $1.3 million from the Bush campaign and Right to Rise USA in 2015.

Though the Bush campaign has not responded to our question, Bush donors may be asking that same question at an emergency meeting in Houston today.

It will be harder for the Bush campaign to ignore their inquiries.

As the Post reported, Bush donors appear to be very restless, and the extravagant payments to Larrison and related entities is unlikely to reassure them that Bush has the kind of financial judgment needed to keep his campaign afloat:

But one Bush fundraiser who requested anonymity to speak freely said: “It feels very much like a death spiral, and it breaks my heart. I don’t know anyone who wants to reinvest now.” The campaign, this person added, has been “head-scratchingly bad in every element. I wouldn’t be shocked in 60 days from now if he wasn’t in the race.”

Though his campaign has $10 million in the bank and the Right to Rise USA Super PAC has more than $97 million, it is simply hard to imagine any strategy that could emerge from today’s emergency meeting that can give anyone confidence that Bush can continue his presidential campaign past expected poor performances in the first three contested states in the GOP Presidential nomination process—Iowa , New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

With his poll numbers plunging into single digits, the continuing strength of outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson, and the upticks in support experienced by Ted Cruz and fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, Bush is struggling to offer a reason—even to his supporters—for his candidacy.

It’s been a remarkable downward slide for the former Florida governor, son of one president and brother of another, in the mere four months since he announced his candidacy on June 15.

Some insiders are beginning to wonder if he’ll even make it to Iowa.