Paid late, some ex-staffers of White House hopeful Fiorina won't sign on again

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Paid late, some ex-staffers of White House hopeful Fiorina won't sign on again
Carly Fiorina speaks during the Freedom Summit, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
I am running for President. http://t.co/TiEAlrWpUc
Carly Fiorina speaks at the Republican Leadership Summit Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom 15th Annual Spring Kick Off, in Waukee, Iowa, Saturday, April 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina addresses supporters in Irvine, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
WAUKEE, IA - APRIL 25: Former business executive Carly Fiorina speaks to guests gathered at the Point of Grace Church for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition 2015 Spring Kickoff on April 25, 2015 in Waukee, Iowa. The Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, a conservative Christian organization, hosted 9 potential contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nominations at the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
TIFFIN, IA - APRIL 24: Former business executive Carly Fiorina (L) poses for a selfie with Ashlynn Dale at the Johnson County Republicans Spaghetti Dinner at Clear Creek Amana High School on April 24, 2015 in Tiffin, Iowa. Fiorina is considered a potential contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Chair of the American Conservative Union Foundation Carly Fiorina speaks about the 'War on Women' on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, March 16, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16: Chair of the American Conservative Union Foundation Carly Fiorina speaks speaks during a forum on Capitol Hill March 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. Ms. Fiorina spoke about what she calls the War on Women in politics. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18: Carly Fiorina, former CEO of the Hewlett-Packard Company, speaks at the Heritage Foundation December 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. Fiorina joined a panel discussion on the topic of 'And Now for a Congressional Growth Agenda'. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
IRVINE, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and former head of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina kisses daughter of Kristin Vellandi, Coalitions Director of the Carly for California campaign, Raquell Vellandi, 9, after she conceded defeat to her rival Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) during news conference at her Irvine campaign headquarters on November 3, 2010 in Irvine, California. Boxer, the democratic incumbent was re-elected to her senate seat and California's attorney general, Jerry Brown was elected California�s governor replacing Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Former Hewlett Packard CEO, California Republican candidate for US Senate Carly Fiorina answers a question as she debates US Senator Barbara Boxer, D-CA, who is in the NPR studio in Washington DC, at the Mohn Broadcast Center in Pasadena on September 29, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Pool / Anne Cusack (Photo credit should read ANNE CUSACK/AFP/Getty Images)
GARDEN GROVE, CA - NOVEMBER 4: Former Hewlett-Packard chief executive officer Carly Fiorina announces to the media her candidacy for U.S. Senate at Earth Friendly Products on November 4, 2009 in Garden Grove, California. Fiorina will face off against Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) for the Republican nomination and if won, challenge Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer. Fiorina battled a nine-month bout with breast cancer and lost her hair during chemotherapy treatment. (Photo by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 6: Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina delivers a keynote address at the 2004 Oracle OpenWorld Conference on December 6, 2004 in San Francisco. The annual technology conference runs through Thursday December 9, 2004. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 7: (L-R) HP CEO Carly Fiorina takes a photo with musician Gwen Stefani during Fiorina's keynote address at the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show January 7, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 1.5 million square foot electornic gadget show runs through January 9 and is expected to attract over 120,000 attendees. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(FILES) This file photo shows Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (L) and Compaq CEO Michael Capellas (R) answering questions during a press conference announcing the merger of their companies 04 September 2001 in New York. The combined US 87 billion USD merger is in doubt after the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the biggest share holder of Hwelett-Packard stock, voiced its opposition to the union. AFP PHOTO/Doug KANTER (Photo credit should read DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 18: Carly Fiorina, Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, talks about HP technology in outer space with NASA during her keynote address at the COMDEX Fall 2002 computer technology trade show November 18, 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada. COMDEX, one of the largest conventions of it kind, is in its 23rd year. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
TAIPEI, TAIWAN - JUNE 12: Carly Fiorina, president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, speaks on 'Invent/Reinvent: Strategic Imperatives for the Internet Era' following the opening of the three-day World Congress on Information Technology in Taipei 12 June, 2000. The forum draws some 15,000 IT company executives from worldwide incuding Microsoft head Bill Gates. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STEVEN WANG/AFP/Getty Images)
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Politics has a well-known revolving door, with candidates often rehiring consultants, strategists and vendors as they move from one campaign to the next. But for Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina, that might not be so easy.

Twelve of about 30 people who worked on Fiorina's failed 2010 California Senate campaign, most speaking out for the first time, told Reuters they would not work for her again. Fiorina, once one of America's most powerful businesswomen, is now campaigning for the Republican nomination in 2016.

The reason: for more than four years, Fiorina - who has an estimated net worth of up to $120 million - didn't pay them, a review of Federal Election Commission records shows.

On the campaign trail, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO has portrayed herself as a battle-hardened business leader who possesses the best financial skills among fellow Republican presidential hopefuls. But some former staffers on her Senate campaign are now raising questions about that portrayal.

Federal campaign filings show that, until a few months before Fiorina announced her presidential bid on May 4, she still owed staffers, consultants, strategists, legal experts and vendors nearly half a million dollars.

FEC records show, for example, that her former campaign manager Martin Wilson was owed $80,500; legal counsel Ben Ginsberg $60,000, and the widow of California political adviser Joe Shumate, who died during the final month of the campaign, at least $30,000.

Ultimately, Fiorina paid them. Fiorina's campaign declined to give reasons for the delay, which was first reported in the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I'd rather go to Iraq than work for Carly Fiorina again," said one high-level former campaign staffer, who asked not to be identified, citing disclosure restrictions in his contract.

It's not common for campaigns to end in debt but not extraordinary either, said Trevor Potter, a Republican former FEC chairman. Usually wealthy candidates pay off the debts themselves "as a matter of honor and reputation because they feel badly about vendors who are stuck with these debts."

Even so, one Fiorina Senate campaign worker who was owed money, California fundraiser Ann Kramer, said the time it took for her to get repaid didn't trouble her. "I don't fault Carly at all," Kramer said. "I love Carly." Kramer said she is now helping Fiorina fundraise for her presidential bid.

Neither Fiorina's campaign, nor the fundraising group Carly for America, a Super PAC affiliated with Fiorina, responded to requests for comment about the former staffers' complaints, though Fiorina presidential campaign spokeswoman Anna Epstein said that the money was "owed by an entity - Carly for California. Not owed personally by Carly."

WHAT ABOUT CLINTON, OBAMA?

Leslie Shedd, Carly for America's spokeswoman, said: "As is common with many campaigns — including both Barack Obama's re-election in 2012 and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008 — there was some leftover debt with Carly Fiorina's Senate campaign in 2010. However, this issue has been resolved and the campaign debt has been paid off in full."

At the end of her 2008 presidential bid, Clinton owed $12 million to nearly 500 staffers, consultants and vendors, according to campaign finance website Opensecrets.org. FEC documents show Clinton paid off the bulk of her leftover debts by the third quarter of 2009.

Clinton did continue to owe money, about $845,000, to one firm, that of her pollster Mark Penn, which her campaign steadily chipped away at over the course of the next three years, the records show. As secretary of state, Clinton was banned from fundraising to clear the debt, but both President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton helped fundraise the money.

The Clinton campaign and Penn's office did not respond to requests for comment.

Obama's 2012 re-election campaign ended with $5.6 million in debt. As of April, $2.3 million of that is still on the books, FEC records show. Obama's campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

BILL STILL UNPAID

One consulting firm who did work for Fiorina's joint fundraising committee, East Meridian Strategies, said it has not been repaid the $9,000 the committee still owes it for a bulk mailing it did.

"I can confirm we have not been paid," said firm partner Jon Seaton, who is working on Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's presidential bid.

Emails reviewed by Reuters show that Fiorina's campaign finance manager, Joanne Davis, acknowledged the debt and said it would be paid.

Davis did not respond to requests for comment. Sarah Isgur Flores, deputy campaign manager of Fiorina's presidential campaign, said, "That's odd because that debt didn't show up on any FEC report for years, which they could have contested at any point. And now - 3 years after the committee has been terminated by the FEC - they are claiming they are owed money."

The FEC declined to comment.

A number of former campaign workers said they were upset that Fiorina paid them only once she had decided to run for president. They also complained that around the time she lost her campaign, Fiorina repaid herself $1.2 million of the $6.78 million she had loaned her campaign.

Another source of pique: nine months after she lost the election, Fiorina paid $6.1 million for a 5-acre (2. hectare) waterfront estate in Virginia, near Washington, D.C. The house has no mortgage, property records show.

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