Money isn't everything. That appears the mini-lesson from a study of presidential campaign staff salaries. In fact, all but one of the 10 highest-paid campaign aides work for candidates well down in the polls, according to a study by the Griffin Strategy Group of New Hampshire.
The highest-paid aide, J. Mark Tipps of Tennessee, pulls down $171,171 in take-home pay on a yearly basis, according to the study, based on Federal Election Commission reports. Tipps works for the moribund Republican campaign of former Tennessee governor Lamar Alexander.
Charles Jarvis, who works for the long, long-shot campaign of former Reagan White House official Gary Bauer, came in second at $122,522, according to July 15 FEC reports. Five of the top 10 work for the well-heeled but sputtering Republican campaign of publisher Steve Forbes. The lowest-paid of the quintet, Tony Hammond of Virginia, is paid just under $105,000 on an annualized basis.
Also on the Republican side, former government official and Red Cross head Elizabeth Dole's top-paid staffer, Thomas Daffron, was seventh at $113,011 and another Alexander aide, Brian Kennedy, came in eighth at $110,501.
Former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, whose Democratic campaign against Vice President Gore has picked up a bit of steam, pays aide Douglas Berman $108,870 on an annualized basis, putting him ninth on the list.
No aides to Texas Gov. George W. Bush or Gore made the top 10. The top-paid Bush aides, Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, come in at $102,133 and top Gore earner Craig Smith's estimated annual take-home pay is $98,435.
The largest campaign staff by far was Gore's, with 113 employees, followed by Bush with 95 and dropping down to Bradley at 79 paid staffers. Forbes, with 72, had the fourth-largest payroll.
Hanna Present, Hanna Past
Washington strategists seem much focused these days on how campaign manager Mark Hanna engineered President William McKinley's victory in 1896. The Republicans, at least those close to front-runner Bush, see the campaign as a model for their own efforts to broaden the GOP's appeal.
And Democratic candidate Bradley recently noted that McKinley "sat on his porch in Ohio, carefully spinning sound bites that positioned him as a 'new Republican' while Hanna promised the financiers and titans of that era that their interests would be protected in the McKinley White House."
Observers rightly interpreted Bradley to be casting aspersions on the famed political boss. But come to find out Bradley had been something of a Hanna admirer. In his book, "Time Present, Time Past," Bradley writes that "As I made my way in politics, I never forgot the story of McKinley. For a time, I searched for my own Mark Hanna, who could meld organization and money into an unbeatable political machine."
And when Bradley was a high school basketball star, a St. Louis reporter asked him who his heroes were. He named Billy Graham, St. Louis Hawks basketball star Bob Pettit and Hanna.
Dick Morris need a new client?
The Phantom of the Bench
Word at the White House is that Washington lawyer Allen R. Snyder, a longtime leader in D.C. legal circles and a former clerk to then-Justice William H. Rehnquist, appears to be getting the nomination to a seat on the D.C. federal appeals court. Snyder also happened to be White House deputy counsel Bruce Lindsey's lawyer.
Former White House aide Elana Kagan, now teaching at Harvard Law School, also is in line to fill a vacant seat. But there is a problem: Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) has deemed the court only needs 11 judges to handle its cases. So it may be that one of them may get a real seat, while the other, unless there is more turnover, could get what might be called a "virtual seat."
One for the Gripper
Speaking of Grassley, negotiations continued yesterday between Grassley and State Department lawyers trying to get him to lift his hold on diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke's nomination to be U.N. ambassador. Grassley doesn't oppose Holbrooke, but he wants to ensure fair treatment of a senior civil service employee at the United Nations who says she was punished for being a whistleblower. "Some of his concerns have been met," a Grassley spokeswoman said, "but he will be taking additional steps to ensure that fairness returns to this process."
There was something oddly familiar looking about Vice President Gore's new chief of staff, former Tennessee attorney general Charles Burson. Maybe that was why Burson, counsel to Gore for the last two years, often found people coming up to him and asking him about the nuances of farm policy?