Wednesday, October 22, 2008

GOP Spends 150 K of Donations on Palin Clothes and Make Up

In the wake of an unpopular financial bailout bill, candidates made hay out of the fact that AIG continued business as usual by sponsoring a rewards junket for top sellers.

In response to growing deficits, Senator McCain has repeatedly cast himself as a pork and perk eliminator, suggesting that the best way to get control of deficits is to cut spending, and saying that he and his party have the discipline and principles to freeze spending enough to reduce deficits without rolling back the Bush tax loopholes for corporations or the so-called "super-rich."

This just in: The McCain campaign has spent approximately $150,000 of campaign contributions on make-up, hair styling, clothing, and "accessories" for Sarah Palin.

I'm tempted to let it go at that because this one spins itself, but...oh, I can't help myself.

The reformers that will "fight" for me and stand up to free-wheeling liberals could think of nothing better to do with the campaign contributions that "real America"ns send them than to send Sarah Palin to Neiman Marcus with a charge card and then off to the Tresame hair salon. [Given her recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, can a guest spot on Project Runway be far behind? I can just see Hedi Klum now..."The winning look will actually be worn by Governor Palin at a rally where she explains why none of you can get married because you're all gay--all of you, if she is elected, will be out...]

The linked AP report about notes that:
Federal campaign finance law prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal
use, but it defines personal use as any expense "that would exist
irrespective of the candidate's campaign or duties as a federal

The Republican campaign argues that spending this campaign money (whether via individual donors or publicly-financed allocations, does not constitute a preach of campaign finance law. (Remember when John McCain was actually one of the guys that wanted to reform campaign finance abuse?)

I guess then that this legal argument boils down to the claim that Sarah Palin would not need a whole new wardbrode and public fund financed makeover if she wasn't a campaign member. I don't know, personally, I tend to think that, you know, being CLOTHED is a personal expense that exists for all of us, not just those of us traveling to real America to sniff about elites.


Peter T Chattaway said...

Politics is theatre, and actors need wardrobes. All the male candidates get to wear designer suits, and it wouldn't surprise me if their parties were putting up at least some of the tab for that. It also wouldn't surprise me if female candidates needed a little more, um, attention than their male counterparts. Maybe not that much more attention, but still. If I were running as an independent, then yeah, I might write off at least some of my clothes, especially the higher-end stuff, as a business expense -- because if I wasn't appearing in public all the time, I wouldn't need to be wearing them.

Kenneth R. Morefield said...

Hi Peter:
Perhaps, but the problem I have with that argument is that the wardrobe should fit the role you are playing. Certainly if I were running as an independent and my role were as successful business person who could run the country as well as I run my business (i.e. Steve Forbes), then I want to wear a power suit. If my role were that of a plucky underdog David standing up to Goliath elites, then I wouldn't want to dress and act just like them.

I think the GOP is stuck on this one because the "everybody does it" argument doesn't fly too well when the centerpiece of your message is "We're not like everybody else" nor when your supposed difference is that you better identify with "real Americans" who are suffering.

Peter T Chattaway said...

Well, for what it's worth, I agree that it looks bad for someone who once made a big deal about how she drives her own car to the Governor's office to suddenly be soaking up lots of other people's money for clothes and stuff. If there's any defense the Republicans can offer, I guess it would be that at least they are spending their own money on this, rather than the taxpayers'.

Kenneth R. Morefield said...

Actually, the McCain campaign accepted public financing, which is in part why the stink. If you accept public financing in an American system, then you have to follow campaign finance laws about how it is spent.

If the McCain campaign had eschewed public financing and run solely on contributions, then it would look bad, but they could certainly argue that our contributers gave us the money to spend as we see fit. Once they accepted public financing, they are not spending their own money, they are spending public money that has been given to them for campaigning. As the linked story mentions one of the restrictions by law of federal campaign funding is that you can't take public financing for your campaign and spend it on yourself.