Carly Fiorina’s campaign is pushing back against a published report suggesting the candidate’s tenure running Hewlett-Packard was so bad that no former employee wants to donate to her 2016 White House bid.
Fiorina raised $1.7 million from the May 5 start of her campaign until June 30, the end of the first filing period. However, just two people who contributed during that time identified themselves as Hewlett-Packard executives, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings.
The donations were made by former board member Ann Livermore and husband Thomas Livermore, who each gave $2,700.
A Sept. 30 story in The Daily Beast suggested the dearth of support from employees speaks volumes about Fiorina’s legacy at the computer-technology giant, despite the Republican candidate touting herself on the campaign trail as a fearless and overall successful chief executive at Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005.
“The lack of early financial support from almost anyone associated with Hewlett-Packard is hard to square with Fiorina’s own description of her achievements there,” reads one part of the story.
Fiorina spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Friday that the story is another attempt to belittle Fiorina’s business chops.
“The liberal media is once again showing that they will hide facts and mislead readers as long as it fits their narrative,” she told Foxnews.com.
The story also points out that no contributions were made by Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard’s current chief executive and a former California GOP gubernatorial candidate, nor any members of the company’s senior leadership team and board of directors during Fiorina’s tenure, with one exception.
The campaign points out that most of the $1.7 million raised early in the campaign was in small donations and that listing one’s occupation when contributing is not a legal requirement.
As for HP executives, there are currently no members left over from Fiorina’s tenure and they tend to stay “politically neutral” during elections, the campaign also argued.
“I don’t think it is an issue for her,” GOP strategist Mark Corallo said Friday.
He said Fiorina’s CEO credentials got a big boost in August when former board member Tom Perkins took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times saying Fiorina was a strong steward of HP through the dotcom bust and that he regretted voting to fire her.
“Carly’s vision and execution not only helped to save HP but made it a strong, more versatile company that could compete in the changing technology sector,” said Perkins, co-founder of the California venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Corallo said Perkin’s praise is like gold in the business world and should count for something in the political arena, too.
“The guy is a legend,” he said. “For him to come out and say ‘I was wrong and I’m supporting her for president,’ I think that says more to me than any middle manager at HP giving 50, 100 or 1,000 (dollars) or whatever.”
Fiorina’s time at HP has dogged her politically since her failed 2010 bid to unseat California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.
She led the charge to acquire Compaq, which barely got 50 percent of the board and shareholder approval and has since been pilloried as unwise. And 30,000 people were laid off under her watch.
More recently, primary opponents such as Donald Trump have raised the issue of her business acumen at HP.
"The company is a disaster and continues to be a disaster," Trump said during the Sept. 16 primary debate. "When Carly says the revenues went up, that's because she bought Compaq. It was a terrible deal, and it really led to the destruction of the company."
Fiorina responded by saying that she grew the business from roughly $44 billion to $90 billion and had other successes in the middle of the biggest technology recession in 25 years.
“You can’t fudge the numbers,” she said on the stage. “We went from lagging behind to leading in every product category in every market segment.”
Fiorina’s performance led to a boost in poll numbers. She is now at 11.8 percent, behind Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in the GOP primary field, in an averaging of polls by the nonpartisan website RealClearPolitics.
But it is not yet clear whether her rise will result in a fundraising boon or if more HP employees and executives have opened up their wallets for their former chief executive officer.
The next quarter filings, July 1 to Sept. 30, are due by the campaigns on Oct. 15.