WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s unsuccessful bid to chair the Democratic National Committee wasn’t cheap.
The Minneapolis lawmaker spent at least $207,821 on travel, airfare and hotels during the first three months of 2017, according to election reports filed this month.
Ellison spent campaign funds on a whirlwind cross-country tour, visiting Detroit, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Miramar, Fla., Houston, Oklahoma, Philadelphia, Laramie, Wyo., and Providence, R.I.
He dropped $21,897 on event expenses, including renting space in the Baltimore Convention Center for a political rally and paying for food and beverages in Lexington, Ky., Chicago and Detroit. Ellison spent $8,049 on stickers for supporters in Austin, Texas, where candidates attended a DNC forum, and $5,004 printing political brochures at a FedEx in Memphis. He spent $4,902 to buy copies of his book, “My Country ’Tis of Thee,” for supporters at another event.
Ellison’s campaign said he had to travel all over the country to meet with DNC members, in addition to making the required visits for regional forums. He traveled with several staffers to handle the press and do political and administrative work. The campaign paid for their hotel stays, reservation of rooms to hold private meetings, and receptions and rallies for DNC members.
Ellison spent $79,408 at Atlanta’s Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, where Democratic activists gathered to elect the party chair in February. His campaign said he brought a large team to Atlanta, where the campaign rented a suite to run its operations and held a rally the night before the vote.
“That was the only time that all the DNC members were in one place,” said Jamie Long, Ellison’s campaign manager for the DNC race.
Long added that Ellison was authorized to set up a DNC race account through a 527 organization or congressional campaign account, choosing the latter because it offered greater disclosure of his spending. In all, Ellison spent $879,852 since Jan. 1.