Friday, October 24, 2008

Apparently not: now it's Clothingate

Ah, yes, the piddling $150,000 new wardrobe with which the McCain campaign outfitted dear Sarah and family has prompted an ethics complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington:
According to news reports, the clothing and accessories purchases for Palin and her family included a whopping $49,425 spent at Saks Fifth Avenue, and a $75,062 spending spree at Neiman Marcus.

These shopping excursions violate campaign finance law.

FECA specifically prohibits a candidate for federal office from converting campaign funds to personal use. FEC regulations make clear that the prohibition applies to clothing purchases, such as those made for the Palin family.

The RNC implicitly admitted that the clothing was purchased with campaign funds by stating that it will be donated to charity after the campaign. The RNC also relies on this prospective contribution to explain why the personal use prohibition is not applicable as FEC regulations provide that donations by candidates to charitable organizations are not for personal use. It does not appear, however, that this exception would apply to the clothing worn by Palin’s family, even if it does apply to her own.
Palin is apparently complaining that this is sexist and alludes to the atrocious treatment of Hillary Clinton in the press for her hairstyles and clothing. While I agree with Palin that Clinton was treated badly this way, Clinton wasn't spending political funds for her family's personal wardrobe. The clothes will be going to charity later on, apparently, but still--$150 grand?

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