Of $286K Heiner raised in a month, $200K came from Heiner, $20 from 'Aqua Budda'

04/08/2014 10:18 AM

Since announcing their slate on March 4, Louisville developer Hal Heiner and former Lexington councilwoman K.C. Crosbie raised $286,350 in campaign contributions with $200,000 of that coming directly from Heiner himself.

The campaign finance report also showed a $20 donation from “Aqua Budda” (sic) — an apparent reference to Aqua Buddha, which became Kentucky political legend in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. In fact, the mysterious donor, who listed “mystic” as his job title, used Jack Conway’s Louisville address on his donation information.

Conway, the Democratic attorney general who ran for U.S. Senate four years ago, famously made an ad linking his opponent, Rand Paul, to Aqua Buddha, which was part of a college prank Paul pulled off during his days at Baylor University.

Heiner campaign manager Joe Burgan said they are going beyond campaign finance requirements by disclosing all donations including small-dollar contributions of $20. The campaign finance staff flagged the questionable donation, but included it on the report in full disclosure.

“Someone obviously was having some fun with their campaign contribution. As silly as it may be, we are required to list the names and addresses that the donor provides for all contributions that come through the door,” Burgan said. “Now that we have followed campaign guidelines by reporting the donation, our next step will be to donate the $20 to a local charity, as a best practice under Kentucky campaign finance law.”

Burgan said the charity hasn’t been determined. And he said he knows of at least one other campaign — for a congressional candidate he declined to name — that also received an “Aqua Buddha” donation in the past which also was given to charity.

The “Aqua Budda” donation aside, Burgan said the candidates are “thrilled with the level of support the campaign has received in the first few weeks of announcing.”

“In that time, the candidates have traveled all across Kentucky beginning the process of building a statewide network of support.”

The vast majority of the money came from Heiner’s geographic base in Louisville. Of the 220 donors, 147 have come from donors with Louisville addresses.

Other notable donors to the campaign include:

Republican Louisville Councilman Jerry Miller and his wife Laura who each donated $1,000.
K.C. Crosbie’s husband Scott donated $1,000.
The owners or Bachman Auto Group, Stephen and Teresa each donated $1,000.

GOP candidates Heiner and Crosbie are the first and so-far only slate to form in the 2015 gubernatorial primary. The campaign currently has just over $191,000 in cash-on-hand.

Of the $95,000 in disbursements most of the costs are directly related to building a campaign apparatus with more than $32,000 spent on a website and design and more than $14,000 in consulting fees according to the report filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

Heiner also spent more than $18,000 on film work with Alfano Communications — the same team who have made political ads for former Republican Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Tennesse U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Burgan, says the first financial report puts the candidates in a good position to spread their message.

“As this first report confirms, the campaign is in a strong financial position and will have the necessary funds to communicate their positive message for Kentucky’s future over the airwaves and on the front porches of voters across the Commonwealth,” said Burgan in a statement.


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