Dating from the 1996 election cycle to the 2006 election cycle, Sue Myrick has spent approximately $1,294,869 on media buys and other advertising through her family's advertising firm, now known as Myrick Gunter Advertising. From what I know, that's all perfectly legal, but was it necessary?
In that same time period her opponents have raised a total of about $217,312. Myrick had won by huge margins garnering at least 69% of the vote until last year when she received 67%. Her job appears safe. Her district is one of the most Republican congressional districts in the state.
Was it necessary to spend an average of $220,000 on media buys and other advertising in campaigns where your opponent can barely afford to buy yard signs? Why would she need to be on television? Why would she need billboards? If there is a need for advertising and a family business can provide the service, there should be no problem with a campaign using a family business. The question here is whether there was a real need for advertising since Myrick was facing underfunded opponents in a district that votes Republican. Did her family profit from her advertising purchases because she really needed to get her name out, or did she create this need for advertising?
In the six election cycles where data is readily available, Myrick spent about 24% of her total receipts with her family's own advertising firm. It isn't a question of whether it is legal. It's a question of whether it is fiscally responsible.
1996 Election Cycle - Sue Myrick Faces Michael Daisley
In the 1996 election cycle Sue Myrick spent 35% of her receipts with her family's advertising firm. According to Open Secrets, in the 1996 election cycle Sue Myrick had total receipts of $544,223 and her opponent was able to raise a little over $64,000. Myrick spent over $192,000 through Myrick Advertising that cycle alone. That doesn't include mailers, yard signs or other forms of advertising. On October 24, 1996 Myrick's campaign wrote a check to Myrick Advertising for $67,756.24 which was more than her opponent had raised for the entire election cycle.
1998 Election Cycle - Sue Myrick Faces Rory Blake
The 1998 cycle brought a familiar opponent in Rory Blake. Myrick had faced him in the 1994 campaign and had defeated him handily. In the 1998 cycle Blake raised a grand total of $35,050 which is not an amount of money that would pose a threat to a two-term incumbent Republican in a heavily Republican district especially considering the fact that Myrick had total receipts of $762,365. This cycle Myrick spent 27% of her total receipts through Myrick Gunter Advertising. (Name change) Facing an opponent who had raised only $35,000 with which to fund his entire campaign, Myrick spent approximately $202,637 through her family's firm for among other things, radio and television ads. Blake could barely afford direct mail.
2000 Election Cycle - Sue Myrick Faces Ed McGuire
In the 2000 cycle Sue Myrick raised about $900,000 more than her opponent, Ed McGuire. She raised $965,364 to his $65,543. She spent $276,673.38 through Myrick Gunter Advertising which is a total of almost 29% of her fundraising receipts that cycle. This does not include the $29,000 spent through Adams Outdoor Advertising for billboards and through other companies for direct mail, newspaper ads or other forms of advertising.
2002 Election Cycle - Sue Myrick Faces Ed McGuire
This cycle Ed McGuire did not raise enough money to report to the FEC. That didn't stop Sue Myrick from spending approximately $177,034* through her family's advertising firm for media buys and advertising. In a cycle where her opponent doesn't appear to literally have been able to buy yard signs to blanket his neighborhood, let alone a congressional district, Sue Myrick spent 27% of her total receipts on advertising and her family profited.
2004 Election Cycle - Sue Myrick Faces Jack Flynn
In 2004 Sue Myrick raised almost $1,000,000 more than her opponent, Jack Flynn. He raised $38,149 to her $1,034,424. In this cycle Myrick spent $281,667 on outdoor advertising, television ads and media buys. That's 27% of her total receipts. She had won in the previous cycle with 72% of the vote. With that margin of victory, there's no indication Myrick was in trouble or needed to boost her name id.
2006 Election Cycle - Sue Myrick Faces Bill Glass
Bill Glass raised $9,760. Sue Myrick raised $1,287,147. She won in the previous cycle with 70% of the vote. This didn't stop Myrick from spending $130,500 with Adams Outdoor Advertising for billboards and $162,000 with Myrick Gunter Advertising. Myrick spent almost $300,000 with these two companies to run against a man who had raised less than $10,000.
* This does not include reported amounts paid to the firm for staffing and temporary labor.