Sarah Palin dominated headlines in the media last week when she endorsed current GOP front-runner Donald Trump in what may have been one of the more bizarre speeches ever given in the political arena.
With her endorsement, Palin has returned to the stump, stirring up enthusiasm for her candidate of choice and hitting fundraisers left and right.
But the fundraising Palin participates in often lines her own pocket rather than being utilized in an effort to get the candidate she endorses into office. In fact, an email sent by Sarah Palin’s own PAC, called Sarah PAC, flatly stated that Palin needed the money she is trying to raise for herself.
“In order to get Sarah to political events to support endorsed candidates we need your help to fundraise her travel,” said the email from Sarah PAC after her “historic” Trump endorsement.
And Palin could afford to be honest about what her Super PAC is attempting to do because it is all perfectly legal – and Palin is not known for travelling cheap.
For example, when she was part of the Saturday Night Live 50th Anniversary Special, she spent $4,563 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
And according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports, Sarah PAC spent $16,062 on a private charter in Jackson, Wyoming, followed by an expenditure of $3,855 on a car and driver in New York, and racked up a bill of $4,364 at La Playa Hotel, located in Naples, Florida.
And that was all in just the first six months of last year, long before Palin came out to endorse Donald Trump and hit the presidential campaign trail.
For the record, Sarah PAC purports to exist solely in order to “help elect principled, conservative leaders” of Palin’s choosing, and apparently, that sort of work does not come cheaply.
According to the FEC, in 2015, only $35,000 of the total $825,556 raised (of which $493,507 was raised in the first six months) actually went to federal candidates and causes in the first half of last year. $25,000 went to actual candidates for federal offices, and an additional $10,000 went to the Navy Seal WFF Family Foundation, which is a charity supporting the families of the Naval special forces.
But other than that $35,000 “investment” into conservative candidates and causes, it appears the rest of the funds raised for the Sarah PAC went elsewhere.
One glaring example is that $36,000 of the $38,000 spent on speechwriting went to a company called Aries Petra Consulting, LLC, which is owned by Rebecca Mansour, a longtime aide to Sarah Palin. That averages to a total of $6,000 a month being paid for speeches that often leave the public baffled and confused rather than enlightened or invigorated.
“[We] can afford no retreads or nothing will change with the same people and same policies that got us into the status quo. Another Latin word, status quo, and it stands for, ‘Man, the middle-class everyday Americans are really gettin’ taken for a ride’ …That’s status quo, and GOP leaders, by the way, y’know the man can only ride ya when your back is bent. So strengthen it. Then the man can’t ride ya. America won’t be taken for a ride, because so much is at stake and we can’t afford politicians playing games like nothing more is at stake than, oh, maybe just the next standing of theirs in the next election.”
Palin also spent a large portion of Sarah PAC funds on consulting firms, despite the fact that she often harangues her fellow politicians for using consulting firms. Recently, she said, in reference to GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina that she should “not let any high-priced consultants who run [her] campaign mold [her] into something that’s not politically correct and kind of middle-of-the-road on some issues.”
And it seems as if Palin understands firsthand how some consulting firms are, indeed, high price, as her PAC reports that $121,250 went to “consultant logistics,” including payments to Palin adviser Andrew Davis, Naples-based Grey Strategies, and North Star Strategies out of New Orleans. An additional $80,500 went to Timothy Crawford, the treasurer of the PAC for “consultant, fundraising and compliance,” and Andrew Davis received payments totaling $22,500 for “consultant research.”
The spending patterns of 2015 are not new. In 2014, Sarah PAC raised $2.8 million, yet only $205,000 of the proceeds went to the candidates. There are no reports as of yet on what Palin has raised for Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency or what percentage of the totals will be spent on the actual candidate rather than covering Sarah Palin’s expenses.
[Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Stringer/Getty Images]