Musgrove and the beef plant money

In January of 2004, after spending over $7.7 million on his losing bid for re-election the previous November, Musgrove had a cool $265,000 left over in his campaign account. But by January of 2008, Musgrove’s campaign finance report showed only $52,103 in cash on hand; in the intervening four years, he had spent well over $200,000, despite not being a candidate for any office during that time. So if the feds are right, that Moultrie and his partners and PACs conspired to bribe Musgrove not only with the $45,000 that Moultrie has already acknowledged, but also with another $50,000, there’s just not enough left for Musgrove to give it back.

Pity that. Although it does beg the question: How did Ronnie Musgrove spend more than $200,000 in a campaign account when he wasn’t a candidate? As it happens, the public record tells us the answer — or the answers — to that question. Here are some of the ways he used his leftover campaign funds:

— Musgrove paid Donna Addkison, his former Deputy Chief of Staff and political consultant $9,750 in 2004, $3,750 in 2005, and, through her company Sun Consulting, LLC, another $5,272 in 2006, apparently after she had become New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s Director of Economic Development.

— Musgrove gave the Gary Anderson campaign $15,000 in 2004 to retire debts from Anderson’s losing race for Treasurer.

— Musgrove had to pay the IRS $63,000 in 2005.

— Musgrove paid pollsters Harrison and Goldberg in Cambridge, Massachussetts $40,000 between 2005 and 2006.

— Finally, Musgrove gave Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. $1,000 in 2006 for Ford’s unsuccessful race for the United States Senate. This contribution, by the way, appears to violate federal campaign laws. Musgrove’s state campaign account is chock full of corporate contributions, which are illegal to use in federal campaigns. As of Musgrove’s January, 2008 report, however, there was no indication that the Harold Ford contribution had been returned.

Clarion Ledger