Who needs foreign tourists? Luxury chains have Palin!
The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 since late August to outfit Palin and her family in the fanciest of duds from department stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus, says politico.com.
The financial disclosure records, included under the line item “itemized coordinated expenditures,” show RNC expenditures at Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York of $49,425.74 in September. Based on Saks’ September comparable-store sales of $273.2 million, Palin accounted for .018 percent of sales.
The RNC also spent $75,062.63 during one September trip to Neiman Marcus, says politico.com, which would represent .012 percent of Neiman’s September comparable-store sales of $406 million.
Hefty primping expenditures on the campaign trail are nothing new. U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY, received guff for her expensive custom-made pantsuits, which cost upward of $6,350 each.
The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on Palin’s hair and makeup, and made $295 in purchases at high-end children’s stores Pacifier and Steiniauf & Stroller Inc., according to politico.com.
Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign, said there are plans to donate the expensive clothing to charity after the campaign.
“With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses,” Schmitt said in a statement.
Sales at luxury department stores have suffered in recent weeks as the slowing economy and global financial crisis took a toll on even affluent shoppers, and the strengthening of the dollar deterred foreign tourists who had given high-end stores a boost in previous quarters.
Palin’s new wardrobe raised tax questions. If the clothes are donated right after the election, Palin could make the case that she never actually owned them and they were more like costumes or uniforms used for work, a tax expert said. But anything she keeps could be considered a payment and its value could be taxed.
Generally clothing required for work that cannot also be used outside the workplace, a nurse’s uniform for example, is a deductible expense. Any clothing that can be used off the job as well as on the job cannot be deducted.
(Additional reporting by Donna Smith)