Earlier today, I tweeted a screenshot of a Facebook post by John S. La Tour, Republican candidate for House District 86 in Northwest Arkansas.
The folks on Twitter were quick to remind me that La Tour is the same trashbag of a person who once offered to pull down his pants to prove to a female server that he was a man. So, yeah, La Tour’s saying something as absurd as the screenshot above is about par for the course with him.
If there is one thing I have learned in the years of doing this here blog, however, it is that a blowhard assbag like La Tour hardly ever makes these kinds of poor decisions in a vacuum. The same mentality that makes him think it is ok to talk about murdering protestors or offering to whip out his, um, ego at Arsaga’s almost always makes a jagoff like him also think that he can get away with all sorts of other questionable behavior.
With that in mind, I decided to take a look at his Campaign Contribution & Expenditure (CC&E) reports.
On his first CC&E, La Tour indicated a loan to his campaign of $3,461.78.
That amount was $25 less than the expenditures in that report, and he showed one $500 contribution to his campaign on 11/23/19. So his fledgling campaign had a balance of $475 as of December 1, 2019.
Now, maybe it’s just me, but, if I were running against a beloved incumbent like Nicole Clowney, and my campaign was only a few weeks old, I think I would try to roll up some money pretty quickly. At least if I wanted to have a chance to spend what it would take to win my race. But not La Tour!
On December 13, he brought in $600 in contributions. Meanwhile, also on December 13, he repaid himself $1,000.
Meaning that his end-of-the-year balance on his campaign account was a whopping $75. (For comparison, Clowney had over $13,000 in funds as of December 31, 2019.)
On January 27, 2020, La Tour apparently had a fundraiser at Ruth’s Chris steakhouse in Rogers, for which he paid a $316.73 tab and a $100 tip. Of course, the only funds he shows as raised on that date is a $2,800 donation from a homemaker in Lafayette, Louisiana. Is it really a fundraiser if you are pretty obviously just going out to eat a fancy steak dinner and you did not raise any funds?
Maybe La Tour felt like he could go ahead and spend that much campaign money on dinner because, overall, January was a decent fundraising month for him. In addition to the $2,800 from the Louisiana homemaker, he also received a maximum contribution from fellow homophobe Michelle Duggar, a max contribution from a retired Fayetteville resident, and $500 from the Arkansas CPAs PAC. So, briefly flush with cash and full on delicious steak, La Tour went ahead and repaid himself another $2,000.
La Tour ended January with $6,364.50. This would be the high-water mark for his campaign.
If you’re keeping track at home, you might have noticed that, as of the end of January 2020, La Tour had repaid himself $3,000 of the initial $3,461.78 loan, leaving only $461.78 to be repaid. 1 Perhaps this is why, starting in February, La Tour began paying himself “rent” for his campaign headquarters, in random ass amounts, at random intervals, from his campaign funds.
Those would be head-scratching amounts and dates on their own. They become even more suspect, however, when you realize that those were the only campaign expenditures in any of those months, except for one other expenditure in June.2 In April and May, he had no expenditures or contributions. Meaning that, from February 1 through July 31, in an election year, John La Tour paid himself $6,630 in rent for campaign headquarters but did not spend a dime on actual campaigning.
“But what about that one expenditure in June that you referenced, Matt?” you might be saying. I’m glad you asked! On June 5, in the year of our lord 2020, John La Tour’s CC&E reflects what might be my favorite CC&E entry of the entire election cycle:
Safe Life Defense is a company that sells body armor for personal protection. How is that “Campaign Operating Supplies”? It so absolutely is not that anyone with an ounce of self awareness would not try to pass it off as such. But not our John! No, La Tour spent over $1,000 on campaign funds on a bulletproof vest on June 5, despite having not spent a dime on actual campaigning in over five months at that point.3
June 5, as you might recall, is near the beginning of the protests that have occurred in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. So, while La Tour may play internet tough guy and talk about shooting “riot-idots” on Facebook, it seems that, in real life, John La Tour was so pants-shittingly scared of the very idea of protests that he decided to use campaign funds to buy body armor.
All told, it is pretty clear that John La Tour’s campaign has been little more than a way for him to skim thousands of dollars in “rent” and tactical gear. As of the end of August, and not counting loans from himself, La Tour’s campaign has raised $13,252.12 in actual contributions since November 2019.4 Of that, he has paid himself $6,630, just over 50% of his raised money, in rent. He has repaid $3,000–about 23% of the raised funds–of his initial loan amount. He has spent $2,642.26 (20%) on food. And, not counting his $3,000 filing fee, he has spent a whopping total of $411.06 on expenditures that could reasonably be related to his actual campaign, be it VistaPrint or FedEx or fees to Republican organizations or what have you.
That is not a campaign. That is a straight up grift.
Good job on that math, you!↩
That we are going to come back to in a second because oh my god is it ridiculous.↩
It appears that perhaps some of the body armor did not fit or wasn’t needed after all, as there is a “contribution” from Safe Life in mid-July for $549, which is almost certainly a credit back to him after a return.↩
I am excluding the “contribution” from Safe Life on the assumption that it was just a return.↩