Buying of the President

Published — May 4, 2015 Updated — April 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm ET

12 things to know about Carly Fiorina


Update, April 27, 2016: Sen. Ted Cruz announced that Carly Fiorina would be his vice presidential running mate were he to win the Republican presidential nomination. Fiorina decided to end her own 2016 presidential bid on Feb. 10.

When Carly Fiorina formally announces today that she’s seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, she’ll also seek to reverse a string of professional and political losses.

During 2005, Hewlett-Packard’s corporate board ousted Fiorina as the company’s chief executive. In 2008, she served as a top adviser to Sen. John McCain, who couldn’t win the White House. And when Fiorina herself ran for the U.S. Senate in California, incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer defeated her by a comfortable margin.

But Fiorina’s nothing if not a fighter. She’s amassed considerable wealth and clout during a storied tech and telecom industry career. She’s become a best-selling author and television personality. She’s also beaten breast cancer.

Here’s more about a business icon who wants to become the first woman to lead the nation:

  • Through Dec. 31, Carly Fiorina’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign owed a collective $486,418 to numerous creditors. The campaign finally settled its debts before terminating on March 9.
  • If Carly Fiorina becomes president, she’d earn peanuts ($400,000 salary per year) compared to the $10.7 million in total compensation she got during fiscal 2002 as Hewlett-Packard CEO.
  • While CEO, Carly Fiorina regularly contributed money to Hewlett-Packard’s PAC, which in turn donates to Democrats and Republicans evenly.
  • Carly Fiorina’s 2008 tax return, released during her 2010 U.S. Senate bid, pegged her household income at more than $2.75 million. U.S. Senate disclosures put her overall worth between $27.7 million and $121 million.
  • During her failed 2010 U.S. Senate run, Carly Fiorina personally infused her campaign with about $6.8 million.
  • In 1998, Fortune declared Carly Fiorina the most powerful woman in business — edging Oprah Winfrey. She’d top the annual list until 2004.
  • Whither tech? Retirees and people employed by financial investment and real estate interests composed Carly Fiorina’s top financial backers during her 2010 U.S. Senate bid.
  • Incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., spent several million dollars more than Carly Fiorina during their 2010 race and beat her by 10 percentage points.
  • In June, Carly Fiorina formed the Unlocking Potential PAC, a super PAC that raised about $1.87 million during 2014. In February, she formed another super PAC, Carly for America.
  • Bankrollers of Carly Fiorina’s Unlocking Potential PAC include WWE executive Linda McMahon and oilman T. Boone Pickens.
  • In 2014, Carly Fiorina’s Unlocking Potential PAC spent six-figure sums to advocate for now-Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Cory Gardner, R-Colo. — and against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

Image sources: AP

Sources: Center for Public Integrity reporting, Hewlett-Packard, Federal Election Commission, Los Angeles Times,, Security and Exchange Commission

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