It’s time for someone to establish a “Be Kind to a Campaign Treasurer Day”. Our overworked, exhausted campaign treasurers and accountants need support. And maybe someone to run some personal errands for them. If you ask one if they can take on a new client, you may get tears.
Yesterday was another campaign finance compliance filing deadline. Calpeek did not call the California Political Treasurers Association for comment. Over two thousand campaigns have just finalized their reports and filed them in numerous county and local jurisdictions, along with some that needed to also file with the State. Campaign treasurers and accountants have to manage all the filings, the paperwork, and the tiny receipts with pizza grease on them, while also juggling contribution deposits, processing expenditures, questions from campaign staff/candidates/candidates’ spouses, and, for the lucky ones, managing matching funds requests.
One accountant who wishes to remain anonymous told the water cooler that she has turned down more clients than she accepted and is still overwhelmed. One treasurer was still answering his phone as he left the hospital after having medical tests.
Those standing around the water cooler are not surprised by the volume of work. We saw it coming. Redistricting delaying the start of campaign season for legislative races and the falling dominos that follow; moving elections that were in odd-numbered years to even-numbered years; a large number of special elections; and the ever-increasing number of campaign finance compliance rules and requirements have all led to a crazy election cycle.
Some advice for the future: if you have a November campaign, make sure you hire an accountant now if you can get one to take your call. If you are thinking about a career change, consider becoming a campaign accountant.
And, please, thank a treasurer or accountant the next time you speak with one. Remember, they have to spend hours explaining to often young, inexperienced campaign staff why they need to save receipts and be careful with petty cash.