Is Sarah Palin's political career really over?
Lest anyone forget, Sarah Palin has a PAC with almost $1.2 million cash on hand. She may be out at Fox News, but she's got a lot of money to invest in GOP candidates or, if she opts to run for office again, herself.
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Look at SarahPAC’s website to see what we mean. Right there fronted out is a big thank-you note from new Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. The Cruz campaign got the legal maximum of $10,000 from SarahPAC, and we would not be surprised if the group had promoted Senator Cruz to its own donors, bringing the underdog Texan lots more dough.Skip to next paragraph
Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.
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“The Governor’s vision and the support of patriots like you helped transform my long-shot candidacy into victory on election night,” writes Cruz.
He adds that he’s not the only senator to benefit from SarahPAC support, and cites as evidence Florida’s Marco Rubio, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Nebraska’s Deb Fischer, and Arizona’s Jeff Flake, among others.
SarahPAC has long been an effective fundraiser. It brought in about $5 million in the 2012 cycle, which puts it near the top of leadership PACs in terms of total dollars. The question now is how Palin will use it going forward. In the past she’s spent much of its money on herself.
The invaluable Center for Responsive Politics has crunched the numbers, and it figures that Palin’s PAC donated $298,500 to other federal candidates in the run-up to last November’s election. That’s not a lot in the context of $5 million in receipts. (Palin did steer $5,000 to the Romney presidential campaign.)
It’s true that Palin donated $420,000 to other political committees. But she also used a lot of cash earlier in the cycle to pay for her bus tour, fundraising, and stuff that may fall in the category of “getting ready to run, if I decide to.”
In July 2011, for instance, Palin used more than $12,000 from her PAC to pay for a trip to Israel. Some $5,700 of that went to a tour company that specializes in custom “biblically oriented tours through the Holy Land,” according to the Open Secrets blog of the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of course, Palin’s own electoral future now seems settled, at least for the short term. So it will be interesting to see if she moves to donate a higher percentage of her political cash to other Republicans, or tries to use her donor list to support a low-level, continuing precampaign for herself.
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