Kamala Harris Drops Six Figures on Advertisements

Harris, possible 2020 candidate, is not up for reelection to Senate until 2022

Sen. Kamala Harris / Getty Images
April 24, 2018

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), who is regularly floated as a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2020, spent six figures from her campaign's war chest on advertisements in the first quarter of 2018, Federal Election Commission filings show.

The freshman senator, who has insisted that she is not thinking about running for president, is spending vast sums of money on the ads despite not being up for reelection in the Senate until 2022.

Harris's campaign disburses the cash to Revolution Messaging, LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based progressive online media firm that is credited with propelling Sen. Bernie Sanders's dark horse candidacy against Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic primary. The firm has won numerous awards for its work on behalf of the Sanders campaign.

Harris's campaign made three payments totaling $356,539.43 to Revolution Messaging for web advertisements during the first quarter of 2018, which spans from Jan. 1 to March 30, the campaign's most recent filings show.

Harris, who spent another $25,125 with Revolution for campaign consulting, paid $247,750 to Authentic Campaigns Inc., a digital strategy company, for consulting services during the first three months of the year.

These expenditures came on the heels of the campaign spending $513,866.60 on web advertisements during the fourth quarter of last year. During the first three quarters of 2017, Harris's campaign disbursed a total of $567,487.20 on digital web ads.

Harris has now spent more than $1.4 million on web advertisements alone this election cycle.

Sens. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) and Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), both senators from noncompetitive states who, like Harris, are not up for reelection until 2022, have not marked any expenditures towards ads at this point. Sen. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), also not up for reelection for another four years in an uncompetitive state, has spent $45,000 on ads this cycle.

Harris has additionally used Revolution Messaging for consulting, website, and videography services. Nearly 60 percent of her campaign's disbursements last year—$1.2 million—went to the firm, who has now been paid more than $1.5 million.

The campaign did not return a request for comment by press time.

Harris has said that for now she is solely focused on the 2018 midterm elections.

During a recent town hall in California, an audience member asked Harris if she would reject contributions from corporate PACs. Harris, who answered "it depends," was quickly countered by the audience member who said that was the "wrong answer."

Harris has now changed course and says that she will no longer accept corporate PAC cash, a move that has her following in the footsteps of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and Bernie Sanders (Vt.), who are all considered possible Democratic candidates in 2020.

Last summer, Harris mingled with top donors to Hillary Clinton's campaign in the Hamptons. Harris also attended a private meeting with disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The California senator brought in a number of former Clinton campaign vets to work in her Washington, D.C., congressional office, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported.

Harris's campaign was also renting office space from a small travel agency on Capitol Hill last year, just minutes away from the Capitol building.