Carly Fiorina's unsuccessful 2010 campaign to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was a financial disaster on par with her calamitous run as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Fiorina 2010 left behind half a million dollars in unpaid bills and left staffers waiting for their final paychecks, in some cases for years.
According to the Washington Post's Robert Samuels, Fiorina failed to pay employees the money they'd earned -- including the widow of a close advisor who dropped dead of a heart attack one month shy of Election Day.
"Upon his death, Fiorina praised [pollster Joe] Shumate as 'the heart and soul' of her team. She issued a news release praising him as a person who believed in 'investing in those he worked with' and offering her 'sincerest condolences' to his widow," Samuels wrote.
"But records show there was something that Fiorina did not offer his widow: Shumate’s last paycheck, for at least $30,000," he said.
Shumate's unpaid fees were among the half a million dollars of unpaid debts Fiorina 2010 left behind, even as the former CEO reimbursed herself the $1.3 million she lent the campaign out of her personal fortune.
“Occasionally, I’d call and tell her she should pay them,” said former campaign manager Martin Wilson. "She just wouldn't."
Samuels said Fiorina finally closed out the bulk of the unpaid bills in January of 2015, just in time to announce her candidacy for the Republican nomination for president.
In spite of her extensive fluffing of her credentials during the two GOP primary debates so far, it is widely agreed that Fiorina's tenure at the top of Hewlett-Packard was a veritable bloodbath which sent thousands of jobs overseas, saw company stocks tumble to half their value and set tongues wagging with ugly accusations of corporate spying and underhanded maneuvering against an executive board alarmed at the company's decline.
The Washington Post conducted more than two dozen interview with former Fiorina 2010 staffers, all of whom agreed that the campaign hemorrhaged money and that the former corporate executive's spending habits were wasteful and quixotic.
Samuels said that the bulk of people left in the lurch by the campaign's refusal to pay its outstanding bills were "small businesses with a few dozen employees who did the grunt work of the campaign: building stages, sending out mailers, selling polling data. And at least one is still waiting."
Samuels pointed out that many political campaigns end up in debt, but will often set up payment plans or hold fundraisers.
"Fiorina’s staff members said they asked her to do the same," he wrote. "She declined."