Should U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard choose to run for re-election next year — or for some other federal office — she’s already got $2 million to spend.

That’s according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission, which cover the first three months of 2017.

Gabbard, who has long been talked about as a candidate for higher office, spent tens of thousands of dollars on audio and video equipment during the reporting period. The 2nd Congressional District representative also spent $12,000 on a Texas-based political consultant with ties to Bernie Sanders.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who represents the 1st District, reported having $256,000 on hand.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard hugs supporter on the second day of the Hawaii State Democratic Convention held at the Sheraton Hotel. 29 may 2016.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard at the Hawaii State Democratic Party Convention in May. Her recent FEC filing suggests she is focused on more campaigns. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hanabusa’s biggest expense was repaying a $200,000 loan she made to herself during her 2016 campaign, when she ran for a seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Rep. Mark Takai. Her late entry did not give her much tine to raise money for the race, which she won handily.

According to the first-quarter filings, Gabbard raised $169,000, and Hanabusa $42,000.

Most of Gabbard’s money came from individuals, mostly small contributions from people living on the mainland. Most of Hanabusa’s came from political action committees, and in larger amounts.

Cameras, Video And Advertising

Gabbard’s campaign spent a lot on video and audio companies.

They include Hawaii Camera of Honolulu, B&H Photo Customer Service and Adorama Inc. of New York City, Gotham Sound and Communications of Long Island, DC Camera of Fairfax, Virginia; and Prompter People of Campbell, California.

The money paid for things like “camera equipment rental to film multiple day campaign events,” according to the filing.

Revolution Messaging of Washington, D.C., was paid $38,000 for internet advertising and services, while Campaign Finance Group of D.C. received $7,000 for fundraising consultation.

Gabbard’s husband, Abraham Williams, often records her public events, such as a town hall in Kailua on Saturday. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

And Batrice & Associates of Dallas received $12,000 in just two months for strategic political consulting.

A company executive, Rania Batrice, worked on Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Prior to that she worked for former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat who hired Batrice as his Iowa coordinator in the same election.

Gabbard’s other notable expenses include air travel and hotel rooms.

Her husband, Abraham Williams, was paid $694 for “video equipment rental for filming campaign event,” $211 for “batteries, tools and other miscellaneous video accessories”; $2,428 for “video, audio and computer storage equipment”; and $2,262 for “camera equipment rental and travel expenses.”

That last payment appears to be reimbursement for the couple’s controversial trip to Syria in January.

Former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, center, who is running for the 1st Congressional District seat is greeted by her supporters with lei after arriving at her campaign election headquarters, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Honolulu. Photo by Eugene Tanner
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa greets a constituent on primary election night. Eugene Tanner/Civil Beat

Hanabusa spent money on fundraising consultation, too — $9,000 to Fiorello Consulting of Falls Church, Virginia.

Her other big expenses were $28,000 to Honolulu’s Anthology Marketing Group and $43,750 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for 2018 races.

Hanabusa’s name has been mentioned in some political circles as a possible challenger to Hawaii Gov. David Ige.

If she were to run for state office, she could not use federal campaign funds.

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