Ben Carson’s national finance chairman resigned Thursday amid questions about his use of campaign funds and criticism from Carson allies and donors.
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, appointed Parker, a tech industry entrepreneur from Mobile, Alabama, in May to spearhead the campaign’s fundraising efforts. Parker’s been a relatively little-noticed campaign power, having Carson’s ear despite friction with other leaders. Since he joined, some campaign insiders told POLITICO, his operation has piled up unnecessary expenses and paid hefty consulting fees to an inexperienced staff. Parker recently began earning a $20,000 monthly salary, which veteran campaign operatives say is unusual for what is typically an unpaid, honorary role.
The bills for Parker’s shop, the inside sources said, were easy to overlook in the fall as the campaign raked in small donations, Carson soared in the polls and the campaign’s direct-mail operation generated tens of millions of dollars. But Parker’s operation became a sore point as the campaign lost its footing in mid-November and the candidate’s poll numbers slipped, they added. Even as senior leaders questioned Parker in leadership discussions, Carson still backed him on financial and hiring decisions, the campaign sources said.
There is a ton of good stuff in there, they type of things you read when a campaign unravels and people who loathe each other start dishing to the media to blame others and divert attention from themselves.
The bottom line here is that the Carson campaign is approaching terminal velocity. It has burned through a boatload of cash and is probably damned close to insolvent as I write this. Nothing. Nothing is going to stop Carson’s campaign ending up as a smoking crater shortly after New Hampshire.
How soon this plays out has a direct impact on Iowa. A Carson flame out before Iowa leaves Rubio in a much stronger position. If he stays in the race through New Hampshire then he remains a spoiler for the rest of the field.