Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sarah Palin's PAC Funds Mostly Go To...Sarah Palin

Despite the fact that Sarah Palin has no chance of running as a viable candidate for anything in 2016, her SarahPAC has donated a minuscule amount of money to fellow Republicans. So where has all the money gone? The vast majority of the proceeds has gone to Sarah Palin. Are her contributors aware of this? Open Secrets provides the figures:

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s SarahPAC continued to perform underwhelmingly as a source of funds for other candidates in 2014′s third quarter, a report filed with the FEC this week showed. Out of $1.4 million the PAC had available in the third quarter — $978,000 sitting in the bank at the beginning of the July 1-Sept. 30 period, plus another more than $433,000 raised during that time — SarahPAC managed to donate just $45,000 to fellow Republicans running in the midterms. That’s a little more than 3 percent.

For the two-year 2014 cycle, the former Alaska governor’s PAC, a vehicle that helps her stay in the game amid talk that she may run in the 2016 presidential contest, has raised $2.5 million on top of more than $1.1 million that was in the bank at the start of the cycle. It has spent $2.7 million, with about $150,000 — or 5.5 percent — going to candidates.

That’s right about on par with the PAC’s parsimoniousness in 2012. Of the 417 leadership PACs that made at least one contribution in that cycle, SarahPAC was one of only 19 to give less than 10 percent of its total expenditures to candidates, other PACs or party committees. And it was one of only three of those spending more than $1 million to do so — the others being Rep. Ron Paul‘s (R-Texas) Liberty PAC and Sen. Marco Rubio‘s (R-Fla.) Reclaim America PAC. Paul was a presidential candidate, and Rubio may be one in 2016.

What did SarahPAC spend most of its money on, then, in the third quarter? Many of the same consultants she has used all along — for speechwriting, fundraising, logistics and research. There’s even someone paid to consult on “coalitions.” Travel, presumably for Palin, is part of the equation; a PAC like this is useful for keeping a high profile nationally without having to pay those pesky airline and hotel tabs out of personal funds. And the PAC sent $10,885 to HarperCollins — publisher of all three of Palin’s books — for “books for donor fulfillment.” That wasn’t the only book purchase by the committee: A lump sum of $13,000 was listed as being spent for “lodging, SUV rental, books for donors.”


Richard T said...

I read that the total of her personal donations, which I understood to be for her adult life, amount to several hundred dollars. Such personal commitment.

Jeff Tone said...

Richard, we also saw her personal commitment when she quit her job as governor.

Michael J. Mand said...

This doesn't surprise me. But then again, I wouldn't be surprised if we found the same situation with many on the other side of the aisle. The solution: take money out of politics by eliminating PACs and making public financing mandatory. Political spending is not free speech, unless we accept that some people are allowed greater speech than others. More proof that the Supreme Court is one of the major issues upon which I decide for whon to vote in presidential elections. (How did I get from Sarah Palin to John Roberts in one paragraph?)

Jeff Tone said...

I completely agree regarding the public financing of elections. Money has completely corrupted our political system. Indeed, the more money one has, the more speech one can purchase. If speech can be purchased, it isn't free. The future disposition of the Supreme Court is the most important election question. The current Supreme Court is integral to the corruption we're witnessing.