Remember how much fun Republicans had tarring and feathering John Edwards with this?
If that was fair game (I thought at the time – and still do – that it was quite silly) then Sarah Palin and the Republican National Committee just handed the Democrats a whole caseload of ammunition.
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.
Politico asked the McCain campaign for comment, explicitly noting the $150,000 in expenses for department store shopping and makeup consultation that were incurred immediately after Palin’s announcement. Pre-September reports do not include similar costs.
Somehow, I think a six-figure shopping spree for a personal makeover is not what Republican donors had in mind when they wrote out their checks. Expect the Democrats and the late night comedians to pounce on this.
Update: Marc Ambinder quotes Republicans, GOP donors and an RNC staffer who are disgusted with the expenditures, although not surprisingly all of them are on background.