Carly Fiorina

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina still owes nearly $500,000 to creditors from her failed 2010 Senate campaign to unseat Barbara Boxer. (Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

Debra J. Saunders

By Debra J. Saunders
Friday, December 26, 2014

Carly Fiorina is gearing up to run for president. The National Journal reports she already has begun hiring staff.

Fiorina has run for office only once, as the Republican challenger to Sen. Barbara Boxer of California in 2010 — and she lost. Still, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO won prime attention by running and losing. She’s on “Meet the Press” all the time. She’s still rich and still good-looking. (In 2010, Fiorina and husband Frank claimed a combined net worth of $30 million to $120 million.) Insiders think she’s probably running for vice president — if Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Dems’ nominee, the GOP nominee likely will be looking for a female running mate. Or maybe “she’s running for enhanced fame, image and possibly the Cabinet,” opined GOP consultant Kevin Spillane. “There’s really no downside with her running.”

So maybe it isn’t totally crazy that Fiorina is running for president even if she’s never won an election. But it is totally crazy that Fiorina is running for the White House when, according to federal election reports, her 2010 campaign still owes $486,418 to creditors. Who wants a deadbeat for president?

Like the evil George Wickham in “Pride and Prejudice,” Fiorina skipped California owing buckets of cash to her one-time pals. She owes $60,000 to former campaign manager Marty Wilson, who now works for the California Chamber of Commerce, and another $20,000 to his former communications firm. She shorted her lawyer Ben Ginsberg, formerly of Patton Boggs, to the tune of $44,000. She owes $3,750 to a former press secretary, $5,000 to another communications aide and $7,500 to her erstwhile political director. She stiffed political consultant Joe Shumate, who died in 2010, to the tune of $30,000. (Yes, she stiffed a stiff — even though she lauded Shumate as a “trusted adviser and friend” upon his death.)

Shumate put “his heart and soul into this campaign and I would hope that Carly Fiorina would pay his widow the money that was owed him at the time of his death,” fellow creditor and GOP strategist John Allan Peschong told me.

When HP fired Fiorina, she walked away with a $21 million golden handshake. But when Fiorina lost the Senate race, some of her employees didn’t get a handshake. They got a finger.

In Fiorina’s defense, Wilson offered that it’s hard to raise money when so many Republicans already gave her the maximum donation. “The only effective way she could discharge that debt would be for her to write a personal check,” Wilson added. Then again, she can afford it.

To read entire column, click here.