Tales from the Trail

Who needs foreign tourists? Luxury chains have Palin!

October 22, 2008

palin11.jpgAlaska Gov. and hockey mom Sarah Palin, who’s not only John McCain’s vice presidential pick, but a luxury fashion maverick.

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.

The RNC spent only $789.72 at Neiman-owned Barneys New York but dropped $5,102.71 at Bloomingdale’s, which is operated by Macy’s, said politico.com, a website that tracks political news.

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) 

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Comments
26 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Lets be honest here, If you report on this tripe should you report on what each camp spends…Lets see 604 million and over half a million spent on Obama’s wife to dress during the entire time…She the wife of a candidate vs. the Vice Presidential Candidate on the ticket? Lets just be fair and Balanced!

Posted by Again | Report as abusive
 

Too bad they couldn’t buy her some brains.

Posted by allforchange | Report as abusive
 

Let’s be honest. This stinks to high heaven. Did the clothes have to be so “high-end”? Is the loophole going to fixed?

Posted by mike | Report as abusive
 

John McCain how can I get my donation money back that I contributed to you. I did not contribute money for Sarah Palin and her families wardrobe. I would like a refund.

Posted by nevermind | Report as abusive
 

@Again: Politico, which broke this story, *did* report on each camp:

“A review of similar records for the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee turned up no similar spending.”

The issue isn’t merely how much was spent, but where the money came from: funds donated to the RNC. Presumably, some of those donors might object that their money has been spent to clothe and coif Ms. Palin.

Posted by nlc1 | Report as abusive
 

Now now, House Rules. Remember that any news that hurts McCain, helps the nation. That’s you and me.

Palin was packaged and touted you’re basic everyday “if you’re stupid you’re like me” hockey mom. I’ll grant you it was sort of a vicious religio-nut aerial dog-shooting version of a hockey mom, but a hockey mom. But that jars with the $150K makeover that most beer swilling hockey moms simply can’t compete with.

Obama was said to be a celebrity. Nuff said, fancy cloths.

But, I’m a back to basic conservative guy:
Obama: Smart
McTweedle and P’dumb: dumb.

Vote for the schmart guy I sez — they do better on average.

Posted by GaryB | Report as abusive
 

You’re missing the point, Again. It’s not just that the money was spent, although for someone who is trying to empathize with Main Street, she sure likes spending lots of money most of us don’t have on expensive clothing. It’s that the RNC paid for it with donations. What candidates and their spouses buy with their own money is another issue. (Though Republican supporters had no problems making an issue of Senator Edwards $400 haircuts when it was his own money. Not that there’s a double standard there… of course not.)

Posted by Kim P. | Report as abusive
 

What an idiotic blunder. The GOP should be scrambling to fire the idiot who authorized this and figuring out how to apologize to (if not repay) the individual donors who thought their gifts would be used for something most substantive than an expensive wardrobe for a candidate who’s already shown a willingness to spend other people’s money in questionable ways.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive
 

The sad reality is that when you only have someone nice to look at on the ticket and that’s their only asset, I seems justified to “invest” in the look. So much for “hockey mom” and “six-pack Joe!”

Posted by Tim D. | Report as abusive
 

It doesn’t matter how they dress her up she is still the maverick pitbull that cannot be trusted. I wish we could admire her ambition but once she signed on the dotted line…running her state like a Saudi Arabian mafiosa…spouting off hatred of her fellow Americans. Shouldn’t she be wearing a hockey jersey? Oh, that’s right no “real american” hockey moms want her on their team.

Posted by danger | Report as abusive
 

As far as she goes, McCain’s shameless mysogyny not withstanding, I think this whole VP nomination has been nothing more than another opportunity for Mrs. Palin to participate in beauty pageant. The whole wardrobe and makeup thing sounds like prep for her run at Miss Alaska, just a bigger scale. This time she gets to share her views on the American stage and do her catwalk on the tarmac of the airports at cities nationwide. She couldn’t pull her last competition off and never got over it. Hmmmm….do you suppose it’s a real good idea for failed ex-beauty queen who still lusts for the glamorous life to be next in line for the presidency of this country? Christian my you -know-what. Jesus would tell her to go and sin no more.

Posted by Lucie J | Report as abusive
 

too bad Mccain could have certainly saved $150K.. but in other thought he (or we !?) would have missed the opportunity of looking at Russia from Palin’s window…

Posted by Mark the Middleclass | Report as abusive
 

If Hart Shafner and Marx made a custom women’s suit as well as Mr. Obama’s men’s suit, this would not be an issue. The issue is that women are expected to be fashionable and to compare Palin’s to Mrs. Obama’s frocks is ludicris. I personally dislike everything Palin has wornm but understand how it happened. I would rather see her in one of three custom Armani suits and one of a dozen silk blouses and this would be moot!

Posted by HLH | Report as abusive
 

I just adore this Sarah Palin. How I wished I could have been with her. Shopping for all those clothes. Talkin bout nails and thongs and all that nice stuff. Oh! and baby clothes too. They’re so cute you know with all the fuzzy stuff and… Is America high or something.

Posted by kenny | Report as abusive
 

@ “Again”… can’t help but laugh at you.. you fool your RNC donation is used for Palin’s boot polish.. not her money.. YOUR MONEY.. WAKE UP..

Posted by Mark the Middleclass | Report as abusive
 

So wait let me get this right….

Palin has spent RNC donations on her and her family’s wardrobes….

She was found to have abused her power as Governor, even though she managed to not break any laws….

She’s not 100% sure what a VP does….

And yet she wants the VP to have MORE power…..

Yeehawww now she’s a MAVERICK!!!! I just gotta jump on her bandwagon now!!! Lemme go get my hooch!

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive
 

So much for reforming government.

Posted by joan Pa. | Report as abusive
 

The point is, Palin talks about being a down-home kind of woman. A down-home kind of woman does not wear such high-end kind of clothes!

Posted by mholland | Report as abusive
 

i hope sarah palin runs in 2012. that will pretty much guarantee and democratic win.

Posted by gromit | Report as abusive
 

And the GOP was talking about Edwards $400 Haircut? Isn’t that nice, it can only get better if she gets into the White House right? Then she can be like Condy, and go Shoe Shopping while natural disasters are happening like in Louisiana.

Posted by solsenz | Report as abusive
 

Mccain was a major part of the spending bill for elections. I guess he forgot to tell us about all the loopholes. Like the candidate cant spend campaign money on personal items, but the Pacs, RNC and DNC can. This sounds like this was another BS law to make the politicians look good. Who hired Tracey Schmitt, as a spokes person. They both should be let go. How can she say with a straight face that they will donate the clothes to charity. I guess the people in Alaska who go to the Salvation Army are drooling to get something worn by Palin. Tracy goes on to talk about all the important things going on in the country why talk about clothes. Does she realize that the amount spent on the clothes could feed a family for 6 to 12 months. People are loosing jobs, going hungry and are cold, and this lady does not think spending that amount is important. No wonder McCain is doing so badly. The people working for him are out of touch as he is. What they spent on hair clothes etc. is the pay for 3 middle class workers for a year. Duh!!!!!!!

Posted by Ogel | Report as abusive
 

‘I said thanks but no thanks for that closet to nowhere …’ from a hockey mom to a designer tart – inappropiate and debasing.

 

Meanwhile, Barack Obama Walks Holes In His Shoes, Then Re-Soles Them

http://wonkette.com/403705/meanwhile-bar ack-obama-walks-holes-in-his-shoes-then- re-soles-them

Posted by sharkcellar | Report as abusive
 

Pretty funny they don’t even trust her to dress herself, yet they are supposed to be Mavericks! I guess small town apparell and style is better left at home than brought out on the campaign trail.

I guess she is supposed to get support for being good looking and well dressed. We are supposed to totally forget what comes out of her mouth. Pandering for the vote and she claims she is not a celebrity . . . Too much fun.

Posted by Carolyn B. | Report as abusive
 

She’s your everyday hockey mon, right. How many people do you know that spend 150k in 5 weeks on cloths. She campains on no earmarks,overboard speading,ETC and does an end run,not the first time. First,Troopergate,then the airfare fraud (for her family) and now this. Eventhough little,in real dollars, it really gives you insight into the REAL Palin.Fraud with a smile.

Posted by Lester | Report as abusive
 

It is a nice gesture to say the clothing items will be donated to charity — which means a big tax write off! — but, in these dire financial times is grotesque for a candidate (and FAMILY) to be furnished clothing from Neiman Marcus and other high end stores. I will feel the same if the dems use political contributions for extravagent clothing. Belt tightening should start AT THE TOP. The GOP could have chosen to be role models, instead of hypocrites. I wish all camps would sober up and start acting more like they really understand the budgets of Joe and Josephine Plumber.

Posted by BeaPractical | Report as abusive
 

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