Bob Murphy accuses Brad DeLong of making up some of his facts in this post.
I doubt Brad DeLong is privy to the records of American Crossroads, but he claims some familiarity with consulting fee structures. I have no familiarity. But I do have google. Searching for "political consulting profits" came up with this as the first hit. It says:
"A survey of federal spending reports by The Huffington Post, the most comprehensive of its kind this year, shows that the top 150 consulting companies -- media, fundraising, digital/social, direct mail and others -- have grossed $465.76 million so far in the 2011-12 electoral season, out of a total of $1.24 billion spent."
I'm no accountant and I don't know how these things are usually reported. Is that $1.24 billion spent by campaigns or spent by the consultants themselves? Is the relevant number (the one Brad is referring to) gross margins or net income (I'm assuming the $465 million includes operating costs)? I'm no accountant - I don't know these things. You guys fill me in. But it seems to me Brad is making a statement that could very well be gleaned from familiarity with the industry, based on these numbers. It might even be a conservative figure.