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    Bob Barr Leadership Fund out of gas?

     

    The Bob Barr Leadership Fund, once among the largest political action committees in Georgia, appears to be just about out of cash.

    Looks may be deceiving, though. The committee’s fate, treasurer Paul Kilgore said Tuesday, is “to be determined. … I think they want to keep their options open.”

    Barr (right), a former U.S. attorney and four-term congressman, had been raising close to $1 million a year, through telemarketing and direct-mail appeals to conservative donors.

    But, federal election records show, the fund raised just $56,000 in the last nine months. The committee had $4,473 in the bank as of March 31.

    Reports show it made no payments for office rent or telephones in March. Its only expenses in March were $2,064 to Professional Data Services LLC and Win Right Data LLC, consulting firms operated by Kilgore.

    The fund became largely inactive when Barr decided to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president last spring. He got 0.4 percent of the vote in November.

    Barr established the fund while he was still in Congress as a tool to distribute money to like-minded candidates and causes. Relying on his reputation as one of the House prosecutors in President Clinton’s impeachment trial, Barr continued raising money through the fund after his 2002 defeat for re-election.

    Fund-raising material boasted that the committee had played a “tremendous role” in helping conservative Republicans defeat liberal Democrats running for Congress.

    But the committee gave only 3 cents on every dollar raised to candidates for federal office, and 2 cents to state and local political hopefuls, according to an analysis last year by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    The fund plowed 78 percent of its money back into mailing lists, telemarketing and other fund-raising costs, the newspaper’s analysis found. The rest was spent on administrative costs, including meals, air travel and limousines, and a salary for Barr’s son Derek.

     

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