Philip L. Liberatore Jumps From Political Circus to a Real One

The last time we heard from Phil Liberatore, he was seeking the Republican nomination to knock off Rep. Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar) and picking up support from Arizona's controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Obviously having licked his wounds from his June primary loss to the 11-year incumbent, the teabaggy accountant has at least temporarily abandoned the political circus for a real live one.

Philip L. Liberatore Jumps From Political Circus to a Real One

As the ads on the tele inform, Philip L. Liberatore, CPA IRS Problem Solvers is sponsoring the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Barnum's FUNundrum!" shows at the Honda Center in Anaheim July 28-Aug. 8.

Perhaps Liberatore has a thing for organizations run by guys named Chuck Smith.

While running against Miller, whose mostly Los Angeles County-based congressional district includes slivers in Orange and San Bernardino counties, the Liberatore for Congress website noted pastor Chuck Smith , founder of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, "is publicly expressing his admiration" for the candidate.

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No one batted an eyelash on the campaign trail when Liberatore boasted of having been endorsed by Pastor Chuck. After all, the candidate informed he is an ordained minister who gives financial counsel from a biblical perspective.

Check that: the Miller campaign batted an eyelash--and issued a statement from Smith saying he never endorsed Liberatore.

Chuck Smith is also the name of a former top executive with Feld Entertainment, owner of the Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey, Disney Shows on Ice, and other subsidiaries that make it the largest live entertainment company in the world.

For years, Smith had been the right-hand man of Ken Feld, who had inherited the circus when his entrepreneurial father died in 1984.

("The Greatest Vendetta on Earth" on Slate is a fascinating account about how Smith, after he was fired by Feld, revealed a long company campaign of surveillance and dirty tricks against a reporter who had written a warts-and-all piece about the company in a regional magazine.)

Surely the people running Feld now would engage in no such shenanigans--and top hats off to them for snagging the support of Liberatore's La Mirada-based firm.

However, if Feld is also considering using Liberatore's CPA services, they ought to first take a look at their sponsor's campaign financial reports.

Our Spencer Kornhaber astutely observed that Liberatore's last name "is, like, tailor-made for the tea parties. It's liberator plus an E!"

But in courting that crowd, the candidate spent $735,000, raised another $60,000 and change in contributions and, when the smoke cleared, had on hand $1,300--and a $735,000 debt.

Talk about deficit spending!

Miller, who by contrast raised and spent just over $440,000 to once again win his party's nomination (and still has a staggering $880,000 in his war chest--talk about voodoo economics!), received 47.7 percent of the primary vote.

Liberatore came in second out of four candidates with 39.3 percent of the vote.

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