From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage --
The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint that the Republican National Committee and Gov. Sarah Palin broke election law when the RNC bought all those clothes for Palin and her family during last year's presidential campaign.
The FEC found the clothing purchases were "coordinated party expenditures" the RNC is allowed to make to benefit the campaign.
The complaint was filed by the Washington, D.C., group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. CREW argued the clothing expenditures (which it figured at $144,731) violated the ban on personal use of campaign funds, but the FEC disagreed.
Here's the response from CREW:
"In effect, the FEC is claiming its hands were tied and it could not penalize the RNC or Governor Palin.
This means that the FEC will allow political parties to buy candidates whatever they want at whatever cost, and that the candidates and their families may keep these purchases. Despite the fact that Governor Palin and the RNC claimed the clothing would be donated to charity, it is not clear this ever happened, and in any event, according to the FEC, the law does not require it. Notably, this past March the FEC asked Congress to enact legislation to extend the personal use prohibition to all political committees, including party committees and leadership PACs. Unsurprisingly, Congress has yet to act."
I've contacted Palin and the Republican National Committee for reaction (as well as asking whatever happened to those clothes).
Click here to read the FEC decision.
UPDATE -- Looks like the Republican National Committee is continuing to ignore questions on the clothes, although I'll post if that changes. But click below for the statement that SarahPAC spokeswoman Meg Stapleton sent out to the media.
Here's the statement from Stapleton:
"We are pleased to learn that all the purchases and decisions made by senior campaign staffers, and paid for by the RNC and returned to the RNC, were all done according to the law. The clothes in this campaign were treated just like the many stages upon which the Governor stood and the hundreds of lights used to illuminate them; all were used during the campaign and returned upon its conclusion. It is difficult to reconcile the obsessive reference to clothing on the campaign trail with any legitimate political issue and that leaves the unsettling conclusion that Governor Palin is the single national political figure who is critiqued on policy, family and clothing. When people start asking details about the personal effects of other candidates, then maybe the double standard will be eliminated."