If the difference between a Hockey Mom and a pit bull is lipstick, Gov. Sarah Palin may also want to throw in “and $150,000 in expenses.” It turns out that the lipstick is paid for by the Republican National Committee. This week Palin has been hammered by disclosures that she spent $150,000 of campaign money on clothes and make-up. In the meantime, another report has disclosed that she used state funds in Alaska to pay for the travel of her children — including changing records to indicate that they were on official travel despite the fact that the event organizers did not invite family members.
When Palin called for a return to “small-town values,” she did not mention that she value shops at places like Neiman-Marcus.
Palin’s use of campaign funds includes bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74. They also cover to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including a whopping $75,062.63 spree in early September. The RNC also paid for $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.
Other expenditures: Barney’s New York ($789.72); Bloomingdale’s New York ($5,102.71); Macy’s in Minneapolis ($9,447.71). They also include purchases at Pacifier, a top notch baby store, and Steiniauf & Stroller Inc. as well as $4,902.45 was spent in early September at Atelier, a high-class store for men.
The RNC strangely objected that, with so many people out of work and struggling, it is wrong for the media to raise questions over a candidate spending the equivalent of the annual earnings of six citizens on make-up and clothes: “With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses. It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign.” How exactly does one give back lipstick to charity?
What is most interesting is that the Palin camp appears to have knowingly played on a loophole in the campaign financing law — the type that McCain has criticized. Under federal law (that McCain supported), a campaign cannot purchase such items for Palin. However, they used the RNC account and the law is unclear on a committee forking over such personal benefits. Since McCain opposed such expenses for campaigns, he would presumably be opposed to the same practice by a party committee. Clothes and cosmetics is not the original purpose for such solicitations. Due to the current loophole, the only difference between the McCain campaign and a PAC is lipstick.
This follows a story on the use of Alaskan funds to take the kids of such trips as watching their Dad in a race. This also included the governor attending a five-hour conference and staying with her 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel. click here.
Cindy McCain was attacked for wearing clothing and jewelry worth an estimated $313,000. However, she paid for the clothes and I did not view it as a legitimate criticism. She is rich, let’s get over that. Palin, however, is being accused of using state and campaign funds for personal purposes — a vice all too familiar in the small town of Washington.
For the clothing story, click here.
For the travel story, click here.