Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty’s campaign may be having more problems than just name recognition. According to The Washington Post, the campaign could be facing serious financial problems.
The Post reports that at least five of the former Minnesota governor’s top advisers have been working for little or no pay for several months. An anonymous Pawlenty aide was quoted as saying some staffers have temporarily forgone pay, while others signed up as volunteers. Advisers have been paid anywhere between zero and $1,000 a month, plus reimbursements for expenses.
But the source insisted it's not a sign of problems. “This isn’t ‘we’re broke and we can’t afford to pay you,’” the aide told the Post. “We’re raising exactly what we said we were going to raise. We’re paying our consultants exactly what they expected to be paid right now.”
Campaign spokesman Alex Conant told National Journal that the paychecks -- or lack of them -- for campaign consultants has nothing to do with those of the staff. "Nick Ayers is running a staff-driven campaign, and we are paid appropriately," said Conant, dropping the name of Pawlenty's campaign manager -- a reminder that the campaign managed to snag one of the most sought-after GOP strategists in the country.
Even so, Pawlenty’s inability to pay his staffers the big bucks tends to corroborate the view of him as an underdog candidate. He is up against some fundraising big dogs like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who raised $21 million in his 2008 presidential run, and fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann. The Republican congresswoman, who formally kicks off her campaign Monday in Iowa -- a state Pawlenty also has targeted -- outraised nearly all members of Congress in the past few years and can transfer money from her congressional fundraising committee.