Though Herman Cain suspended his campaign Saturday, the money his fans donated -- possibly millios of dollars -- is still good, and he can use it nearly however he wants as long as he doesn't directly pay himself. "Even though I may not be a candidate, you are going to be seeing a lot of me," Cain said at a private fundraiser in Oklahoma City on Monday night, despite suspending his campaign Saturday. About 250 people paid $250 to hear him talk, the Associated Press reports. "Whoever is in charge of this microphone, would you turn it up a little bit please, because contrary to what some people think, they are not going to shut me up," Cain told the crowd, according to Tulsa World. But how Cain will finance his future publicity tour -- and how much he has to do so -- is tricky to figure out.
Joe Trippi, who managed Howard Dean's 2004 campaign, told NBC News in 2007, "The second you stumble, your money stops." But Cain claimed he raised a ton of money after being accused of sexual harassment -- $9 million over a few weeks, the campaign said. In September, before his quick rise in polls, the campaign had $1.3 million cash on hand, including a $675,000 loan from Cain. And the campaign was pretty miserly with its money: The Washington Times' Luke Rosiak reports that "in late September, a reluctance to ramp up resources meant his staff was unable to receive emails for days at a time because the organization’s meager computer servers were overwhelmed with traffic." They didn't buy many ads either, or hire many staffers.
While only suspending his presidential campaign -- instead of ending it -- means he can get federal matching funds, Cain can only use those funds to wind down his organization by firing people and emptying offices. Staffers told Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Daniel Malloy that Cain will keep paying staffers through the end of the month so they don't worry about their jobs during the holidays.
Cain has a few options: give the money back (unlikely), turn the campaign into a political action committee (which the creation of Cain Solutions suggests he'll do), give the money to other politicians (if he wants to become a lobbyist, an expert told Rosiak), or buy copies of his book to pass out to supporters (which his campaign was criticized for doing earlier this year).
Cain's spokesman told Malloy Cain was in Texas on Tuesday to shoot footage for "his energy independence strategy for Cain Solutions." CainSolutions.com only has a greeting page right now. His campaign is still sending out messages to supporters, like the one sent Monday night titled "Brokenhearted, but not Broken." The essay shows that when backed into a corner, Cain writes like a sassy teenage girl. For example:
I was not surprised that I was viciously attacked once I rose in the polls. I was surprised by the nature of the attacks. Me, a womanizer? I would never have thought they’d come up with that one.
Political consultants are forever telling candidates to “stay on message,” but I guess that doesn’t apply when the message is a substantive reform that would actually solve problems.
Six months ago, most of you had never heard of me. You have now. A lot of what you’ve heard is not true, but I’ve got your attention.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.