Reading Between the Lines of an Excuse
Here’s a story you probably already heard.
The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.
According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.
The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.
The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.
The cash expenditures immediately raised questions among campaign finance experts about their legality under the Federal Election Commission’s long-standing advisory opinions on using campaign cash to purchase items for personal use.
But hours after the story was posted on Politico’s website and legal issues were raised, the campaign issued a new statement:
“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,” said McCain-Palin spokesperson Tracey Schmitt.
The campaign’s position is that Palin couldn’t dress herself appropriately for the high profile position of someone campaigning to be VP, so they shelled out some dough. That makes sense, having “the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign” doesn’t. It raises three possibilities about the McCain camp’s views:
1. If Palin becomes VP, she won’t be appearing in public so she won’t need the nice threads any more
2. At the time of these purchases, the McCain campaign felt that McCain had no chance of taking office, which meant Palin wouldn’t become VP, and thus could go back to dressing herself at her (or Alaska’s) expense again.
3. She’ll be needing nice outfits once she’s VP, and she’ll be getting all new ones.
I have a hard time believing the McCain campaign considered either options 1 or 2. Which leaves 3. Which leaves the need for a whole new wardrobe. Which has to be paid for by someone. I wonder who the McCain campaign believes is going to pay to replace those outfits…
Rdan here: And to think I was going to put this chart up today. (hat tip for our friend noni mausa). I hope Nieman’s provided more than three or four dresses…a purse can run over $500. However, perhaps the economic problems today have not extended to a segment of our citizens.