For months, Jeb Bush’s inner circle has argued that the decision for longtime top Bush confidante Mike Murphy to set up shop at the super PAC, rather than the campaign, made smart strategic sense.
New federal filings released on Friday show exactly how much it made for Murphy, in dollars and cents.
Revolution Media Group, Murphy’s political firm, has had more than $750,000 pass through its Los Angeles-based offices so far in 2015, between consulting fees, Web services, early-state ad buys, and travel expenditures. The payments to Murphy came from both Right to Rise USA, the pro-Bush super PAC, which accounted for roughly $600,000 of the spending, and Right to Rise Inc., the PAC where Bush served as honorary chairman in the first half of 2015, which accounted for nearly $150,000.
In May and June alone, Murphy’s firm received $261,430 in “communications consulting” fees from the super PAC. He received another $83,363 in payments that were tagged both for consulting and travel, and separately billed another $17, 913 just for travel. Murphy’s firm was also paid $5,000 for digital consulting back in March.
Meanwhile, Right to Rise Inc. paid Murphy’s firm $149,000, much of it for Web services and consulting in the first half of 2015.
And all those outsize payments came during what is likely to be the calmest period of the 2016 presidential campaign, mostly the months before Bush formally announced his candidacy in mid-June.
Since Bush entered the race, the Murphy-run super PAC has begun buying up digital ads through Murphy’s firm. Nearly a quarter-million dollars has been spent on independent expenditures promoting Bush and attacking Hillary Clinton through Revolution Media in the last six weeks.
In June and July, the super PAC has paid Murphy’s Revolution Media to buy digital ads in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. More than half — roughly $117,000 — has gone toward New Hampshire, the state Bush appears to be banking on most.
Consultants and their firms typically receive a portion of the cost of ad buys that they make, though the exact amounts are not required to be disclosed. Bush’s super PAC ended June with $97 million cash on hand, much of which is expected to be spent on television and digital ads reserved through Murphy’s firm in the coming months.