Loose Lips

How Vince Gray Reported $0 In Campaign Expenses

Vince Gray is the first mayoral candidate to file his campaign finance report today, but his initial numbers won't exactly leave his opponents quaking. With his campaign only eight days old and campaign manager Chuck Thies trying to set up its accounting system, the mayor has raised a grand total of $0. Curiously, though, Gray's campaign also reported $0 in expenses.

How can a campaign with a website and an account with organizing website Nationbuilder manage not to cost anything? As it turns out, Gray's campaign owes its low initial overhead to the help of sympathetic web designers and campaign finance rules that allow campaigns to compile their expense report five days before the Dec. 10 deadline.

Thies registered the website himself on Nov. 20, long before he says Gray even told him he would be his campaign manager (LL imagines the ownership of the URL could have made for some awkward conversations if Gray hadn't hired Thies). The site's sparse layout came from a web designer Thies convinced to do it pro bono.

"That's why you see the bare bones site, right, because I haven't hired a professional to do it," Thies says. As for Nationbuilder, Thies says the campaign hasn't been billed for its first charge of $19.99.

Thies says opponents considering digging into whether the campaign is fudging its web expenses should find better material. "As a former opposition researcher, I'm a little disappointed in them," he says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Informed Citizen

    Chuck Thies had a meeting with Gray at the beginning of November according previous articles. They discussed Chuck leading the campaign and 3 potential dates to officially launch.

    After this meeting, Chuck Theis became an "agent of the campaign", his expenditure on Nov 20th for the domaine http://vincegray2014.com/, made well before the cutoff date for expenditures this period should have been reported.

    This is a minor campaign violation, but given the campaign - it is a really sloppy start. And worth a review from OCF.

  • a dissapointed and ashamed constiuent

    So the corruption continues. Sigh. It makes me not want to even participate

  • name

    It's easy to run a $0 campaign when you have a Shadow Campaign to pay the actual expenses.

    I'm sure he'll be more careful this time in how he hides his 2nd set of books.

  • EC

    Look, it's not like anyone thought campaign finance reporting was exactly Gray's strong suit.

    Plus, you don't hire Chuck Thies (who's always worked for sleazy guys like Graham) because you want your campaign to stand out for its integrity. You hire Thies because... actually I don't know why you would do that. Maybe no one else would take the job?

  • Margaret

    The person who created the website at no cost provided a professional "in-kind" service. Campaign finance regs require reporting of "in-kind" contributions at their fair market value. The Gray campaign should have reported this, and perhaps other free services, as "in-kind" contributions.

  • Oh My- Just wondering

    Hi Margaret,
    Between us girls, would that mean that Thies' donation of services should also be reported as an in-kind contribution?
    Wouldn't he be hitting his limit of $2000 in donated services pretty quickly if that's the case?
    Ms. Just Wondering How this Works

  • Smh

    14 day free trial period on Nationbuilder.