From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage --
Sarah Palin is still dealing with fallout over those designer ensembles and accessories the Republican National Committee purchased for her and family members during the campaign.
RNC filed its latest financial disclosure forms late last night, covering mid October through November. They show spa expenses and shopping trips for additional "campaign accessories" from dozens of stores in cities throughout the nation.That includes Toys "R" Us ($151.71), the shoe store Aldo ($431.24), Saks Fifth Avenue ($4,542), Neiman Marcus ($2,952), Victoria's Secret locations in Philadelphia and Cincinnati ($148.37) and Home Optics in Chugiak ($561), where an aide ordered her antireflective glasses before the VP debate (they're prescription, and it appears she still has them.)
This is an addition to the previously reported $150,000 in clothing and accessories purchased by the RNC. (The McCain campaign said $50,000 of those were immediately returned).
The reports also show fashion stylist Lisa Kline & Co made nearly $55,000 from the RNC for her work on the campaign. The McCain campaign also paid salaries combining over $110,000 for the two months that Palin's makeup artist and her traveling hair stylist were with the campaign.
Palin referred questions on this to Meg Stapleton, who was her Anchorage spokeswoman and "Truth Squad" member during the campaign. Stapleton said she isn't working for Palin or the state at this point, but is helping out as a volunteer.
Stapleton said an RNC lawyer told her the latest reported vice presidential "campaign accessories" from mid October through November add up to about $16,000 (NYT figures it at about $23,000.) Stapleton also made this statement:
"Governor Palin is focused on her duties as governor of the state of Alaska.
With that said, news reports concerning purchases of services and accessories are disappointing considering Governor Palin did not authorize the expenditures made on behalf of the vice presidential campaign. The Governor was not consulted about these immaterial and inconsequential decisions as she was busy focusing on the substantive areas of the campaign and running the state of Alaska. The decisions reflected in this disclosure are financially poor decisions made by campaign staffers hired by the campaign and not the Governor. The Governor expected judicious decisions to be made and they weren't.
She is absolutely appalled at the news and the amount of money reportedly spent on the vice presidential campaign. To this day, the Governor has not seen a list of expenses for the campaign and its staff, and she does not know who benefitted from all the expenditures reported.
"The campaign has now ended and Governor Palin has moved forward and is concerned with tackling the challenges confronting the people of Alaska."
Campaign staff made many of the latest charges billed to the RNC, including Palin campaign chief of staff Andrew Smith, and Palin staffers like Bixie Nobles and Kristi Pulsfort.
Newsweek had cited anonymous sources saying Palin directed campaign staffers to buy her stuff, something Palin denies.
The RNC said the purchases "have been returned, inventoried, and will be appropriately dispersed to various charities."
The noise over the clothes doesn't seem to be hurting Palin among Republicans. A new CNN poll says Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are the favorites among Republicans who might be competing in the party's 2012 nomination for president.
The poll of Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters shows 67 percent would either be very likely or somewhat likely to support Palin if she decided to run for the nomination four years from now. That's more than any other of the candidates listed (including Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Charlie Crist and Bobby Jindal.)
Huckabee came in second with 65 percent, although two percent more Republicans said they'd be "very likely" to support him than Palin. The poll has a sample size of 460 Republicans and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 points.