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Expenditure records through September indicate that Mr. Cain’s own efforts in Florida have consisted largely of steak dinners there — thousands of dollars worth.

Official campaign leaves void

The emergence of a second independentgroup underscores the big-dollar chaos that has filled a vacuum left by the Cain campaign, which the expenditure records indicate made hardly any of the typical buys for advertisements and merchandise such as stickers. In a new era of outside political groups after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, supposedly independent committees have been established by candidates’ confidants to collect large contributions from donors who have already given the maximum to the campaign.

Mr. Cain instead has been surrounded by strangers’ groups, including those who may sense a payoff.

Draft Herman Cain, RMC and the Justice Foundation have paid tens of thousands of dollars to companies operating out of the Arizona home of Floyd G. Brown, a founder of Citizens United who has been raising money by attaching himself to others’ campaigns for decades. In 1992, campaign counsel Bobby Burchfield told him he was hurting President Bush’s re-election efforts by getting in on the millions of dollars that became available in the campaign season.

“Your group has neither asked for, nor received permission to solicit funds using the name of George Bush,” Mr. Burchfield wrote. “The president strongly disapproves of this misleading use of his name and reputation.”

The other independent group, Americans for Herman Cain, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads and phone calls in Iowa and Nevada in the past two weeks, indicating it is raising significant amounts. Unlike Mr. Bush, Mr. Cain has not weighed in on the presence and histories of the outside groups, and his spokesman did not respond to questions from The Times.

In another matter, Mr. Benninghoff defended in court his “fabricat[ing] various pretenses for retaining” $76,000 in someone else’s funds he was supposed to invest by arguing in a profanity-laced statement that the victim was wealthy.

“Not all fools are poor. We decline to adopt a rule that encourages unscrupulous lawyers to make them so,” the judges wrote.