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PA-Sen: Q3: A Deep Dive Into Joe Sestak’s FEC Filing

Joe-Sestak-headshotJoe Sestak has been running for Senate years longer than either of his Democratic opponents.

Therefore, his head-start in the money race should be one of his campaign’s strongest attributes. While McGinty’s headline numbers were more impressive than his, there are still some silver linings for the former Congressman.

Top-Line Numbers

According to his FEC report, Sestak raised $551,259.04 in the third fiscal quarter from July 1st to September 30th.

The campaign spent $300,828.16 leaving him with $2,416,291.88 cash on hand. Sestak has no debts, loans or obligations.


While Sestak was outraised by McGinty this quarter, he still brought in more unitemized contributions (those which are $200 or less).

$414,067.64 of his total came from itemized donations while $132,342.04 was from unitemized donations. So far, the campaign has taken about 4,900 contributions and 90% were $200 or less.

Also in contrast to McGinty, Sestak raised barely any PAC money (Fetterman had none). In fact, just over 98% of his donations came from individuals.

The 2010 Senate Democratic nominee brought in only $4,525 from PACs. Interestingly, despite how the establishment views him, these contributions came from fellow Democratic politicians.

Congressman Matt Cartwright gave $1,000 while former State Rep. John Hornaman chipped in $250. He also got $100 each from the Fulton County Democratic Committee and the York County Federation of Democratic Women.

The retired Admiral’s only real PAC contribution was the $2,500 he got from VoteVets.


Sestak vastly outspent his primary opponents with most of the money going to staff, consultants and supplies for the office.

The biggest sum of cash, $70,894.57, went to GSI Inc., which consults progressive candidates and organizations when it comes to fundraising strategy.

$27,348.47 went to the Kennedy Printing Company for, you guessed it, printing.

Finally, the campaign paid Blue State Digital $3,750 for advice on online techniques and $2,250 to NGP Van to rent their software.

19 Responses

  1. Observer #2 –

    Nope. Never had any interested in working for him. I did volunteer a lot of time helping out his campaign in 2006, but became disillusioned with it as he refused to work with the local Dems and disrepected them. His field director said: “F*ck the other candidates. I don’t care if they all lose. Joe is the only one that matters.”

    But, I started going after Sestak publicly when he voted to give Bush a blank check on Iraq War funding without any accountability. This was a complete betrayal of his campaign promises to stand up against the war without clear timetables and other criteria.

  2. David:
    Were you ever employed by Sestak then lost your job? Just wondering because you have a real visceral vendetta against the Admiral. No, as I said before, I am retired, I work for no one, and I never have worked for any politicians or any political party.

  3. Thanks double D. Good points. I enjoy conspiring with you to expose Private Sestak (double entendre intended)

  4. spongebob-

    Interesting theory, but two flaws:

    1) Sestak wouldn’t bother to post on non-Sestak threads
    2) Sestak’s “observer” handle would be: Observer 3*
    (three star)

    But, Observer #2 is probably someone who is working (or has worked) for Sestak’s campaign.

  5. I’m beginning to think observer 2 is Sestak himself. He’s so grassroots he handles all small website comments section correspondence.

  6. Observer #2-

    I hope Sestak can count on your help cleaning out his campaign HQ and selling his PA house after he loses the primary.

  7. Unknown-

    I wish I knew what you see coming down the pike for Sestak. He’s certainly vulnerable to an FEC/IRS investigation for how he pays his employees and dodges taxes/benefits by mislabeling them as “consultants”. He’s also got a political issue/showstopper if the McGinty campaign is able to obtain documentation on the lead I gave them.

    The FEC/IRS issues could be likely handled by paying a fine. The issue I reported to the McGinty campaign is so far beyond embarrassing for Sestak that it will demolish his entire “running to restore integrity” mantra.

    PhillyPolitico –
    The GSI thing is also funny because Sestak isn’t a progressive.

    Zero labor endorsements is a HUGE problem for Sestak. Labor support means not only money, but also poll work and phone banking support.

  8. The Sestak campaign is a sinking ship… it’s literally the titantic.

    I bet he won’t even break the $250,000 mark in Q4.

    Pathetic. Nothing to show for his pitiful, long campaign.

    He has absolutely ZERO support from PA Labor.

  9. The biggest sum of cash, $70,894.57, went to GSI Inc., which consults progressive candidates and organizations when it comes to fundraising strategy.

    Add them to the list of fundraising consultants who aren’t so great at their jobs.

  10. Larry-

    Sestak knows quite well who I am.

    I’m curious about the location, especially since Sestak invested $6 K for “build out”. There aren’t a lot of great campaign HQ locations in the area. Sestak outgrew/abandoned his old HQ and used an old car dealership last time around.

    That same location was use by another campaign (Clinton/Obama?) previously. It’s near the Media courthouse.

    I’m wondering if the location would be useful for the McGinty/Fetterman or Clinton campaigns after Joe loses the primary.

    Observer #2-

    Sestak used to get PAC money in the past, especially from unions. The lack of it now is an indication of how little faith there is in Sestak.

  11. Sestak’s contributions, (98%) from individuals, with 4900 contributions of $200 or less!! Barely any PAC money except for VoteVets. Wow! Now that’s a candidate I want to support. A “people’s” candidate.

    McG, by contrast—-funded by all the wrong people–a small coterie of elites and special interest, corporate types. VOTE SESTAK!

  12. David, I’m sure you will get the court order barring you from being within 1000 feet of the new office as soon as it opens. Meanwhile, Sestak’s staffers will brief him on the court order as follows:

    Staff: Sir, one last thing. We obtained a court order barring a certain stalker from following you around and coming near the office. His name is David Diano.

    Sestak: WTF? Who is David Diano?

    Staff: We don’t know, sir. We reached out to local, state, and federal Democratic Party organizations and nobody has heard of him.

    Sestak: Is he a Republican? A McGinty staffer?

    Staff: We have no idea, sir. He may just be a vagrant who uses the library’s computer to access the internet. Or he could be an RNC staffer who posts on the Internet in such a cartoonish way to make Democrats look bad.

  13. BTW, PoliticsPA, in the “deep-dive” did you happen to tally how much of the contributions were for the Primary and how much for the General election?

    There was over a month before McGinty announced and Sestak looked like the only candidate, where he might have been able to collect money under the premise that he’d be the only Dem and facing Toomey.

    Based on the itemized entries in previous reports, Sestak has about $425 K for the General election (that he can’t spend on primary). I don’t have the total of General election earmarks for this current report.

  14. Matt Cartwright should give more money then $1,000. After all, Sestak recruited Cartwright to run against Tim Holden.

  15. There is $40K on a new office ($33K in rent, $6K in “build out”, and another K for utilities).

    This is significant because Sestak has made no announcement of an office grand opening that I’m aware of. The payment date for the office rental is one day after the 2nd quarter cutoff. This seems intentional.

    Where is this mystery office?

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