Sarah Palin Soldiers On

One of the main reasons so many members of Congress become lobbyists after they leave office is that there just aren't that many high-level opportunities available to them where they can use what they learned in office. After you've spent a bunch of time learning the ins and outs of Congress, and somebody's willing to pay you half a million dollars a year or more to put that knowledge to use, it seems to make a great deal of sense. But what if at the end of your political career, you've become, to most people, a laughingstock? And what if you're not a lawyer, so you can't practice law, and you're known for being erratic, so no one would hire you to run their interest group, and in truth you have no marketable skills at all? Then you're in a quandary, which is where Sarah Palin found herself four years ago. And you have to hand it to her: she fashioned a post-campaign career that manages to continue on no matter what setbacks she encounters, from getting her reality shows cancelled to getting dropped by Fox News.

At the center of the Palin operation is SarahPAC, which pays for her various activities and is the place where you and I can donate to her if we are so moved. John Avlon perused the PAC's FEC filings, and found something interesting: though Palin spends a lot of time railing against the GOP's consultant class, SaraPAC spends most of its money on, weirdly enough, consultants:

These are the top-line costs of life in PAC era. But the devilish details in expense reports are what makes it really come alive. Palin's chief PAC consultant, Tim Crawford, pocketed more than $321,000 this election cycle in direct payments alone, according to the documents. Aries Petra Consulting was taking in between $6,000 and $8,000 a month for speechwriting and "grassroots consulting"—something that sounds like an oxymoron, but ended up costing north of $160,000. C&M Transcontinental racked up $10,000 a month in management consulting, which is hard to imagine for a PAC whose job is simply to raise money and spend it on candidates. Inside SarahPAC, there were consultants for research and consultants for logistics and consultants for issues and on and on and on. It's hard to find any area where consultants weren't employed.

So when Palin thundered at CPAC that "Now is the time to furlough the consultants, and tune out the pollsters, send the focus groups home and throw out the political scripts, because if we truly know what we believe, we don't need professionals to tell us"—it was a riff written by speechwriters and informed by all tools she tried to diss.

Follow the money in politics and you get a glimpse of the truth. Sarah Palin wants to be a defender of the middle class while chartering $27,000 private plane flights and burning through enough cash on consultants to feed a small village for a year or two. As much as advancing a political cause, SarahPAC seems to be a lifestyle play, propping up an expensive ideological entourage.

If all you take away from this is that Sarah Palin is a hypocrite, you'll miss the larger point. Palin doesn't criticize political consultants because she believes there's something inherently wrong with political consultants. The problem is that GOP consultants tend to be of the opinion that their party should have as little as possible to do with Sarah Palin. About which, by the way, they're perfectly right. But in Palin's world, there are friends of Sarah and enemies of Sarah, and you're either one or the other, no matter what party you belong to. Her consultants are the good guys, because they're on Team Palin.

And without an office to run for or even much of a specific policy agenda—she certainly has plenty of principles, and things she dislikes, but it's not like she's campaigning to pass particular pieces of legislation—Sarah Palin's agenda is, in its entirety, Sarah Palin. When you give money to SarahPAC, you aren't producing some kind of concrete political impact in the larger world, you're basically keeping the Sarah Palin Traveling Medicine Show in business. And for many donors, that's a reason enough to give. It isn't that they think a donation to SarahPAC is the best way to, say get Obamacare repealed. They love Palin, and they want to keep hearing from her. And if she decides to spend their money on a bunch of consultants, I'm guessing they're OK with that. If that's what Sarah thinks is best, then that's what's best.

As I said, you have to hand it to her. I can't think of another political figure who gets people to give them millions of dollars just to go out and promote themselves. Check out this video the PAC just released, in which Palin disses the media (as usual), over a bunch of clips in which media figures talk about how influential she is. It's got great production values, and doesn't mention any policy issues; it's all about Sarah. And I'll bet the people who paid for it like that just fine.


Why is Sarah Palin even involved? Since she quit her post in Alaska, she hasn’t run for public office but acts like a politician who calls her constituents “fans.” What exactly does she do other than essentially proposition her self and image to the highest bidder? Sounds like Sarah is America’s highest paid escort! See how down and dirty she’ll get for the money at

I say, good for her. She's fleecing people who deserve to get fleeced. If I could manage to keep a straight face, I'd try it myself.

***and in truth you have no marketable skills at all***
What absolute nonsense. Just another hit piece against Palin, trying to convince people that everything in the world is okay just so long as The Ruling Class keeps destroying the Constitution and ripping us off. Sarah Palin is the Real Deal and she speaks the truth. Period. She wasn't railing against all consultants in general, only the moderate elitists who've ruined the Republican brand. People like Karl Rove have only a 1% success rate with his candidate's endorsements versus Palin's 75%. The woman is smart, influential, and CONNECTS with people whom deeply care about this country. She is a threat to the status quo. Hence, the four years of non-stop bashing from the GOP Elite, the DNC, Hollywood, overpaid consultant talking heads on television, and yes, major media. Well guess what? She is still standing. You have not heard the last from Sarah Palin.

I love the conclusion Paul Whitman comes to. "Sarah Palin's agenda is, in its entirety, Sarah Palin."

"When you give money to SarahPAC, you aren't producing some kind of concrete political impact in the larger world, you're basically keeping the Sarah Palin Traveling Medicine Show in business. As I said, you have to hand it to her. I can't think of another political figure who gets people to give them millions of dollars just to go out and promote themselves."

Paul I know you are not that stupid. So the only conclusion one can come to is either you didn't watch the video, you don't have a clue who was in that video. Or like most LOW-Information Voters on the LEFT, if we are not talking about POTUS, then politics is too insignificant to concern me. Regardless of the reason your conclusion is SAD. To say Palin spends her time just building up her own image, is like saying Mother Teresa was in it for herself.

For one second do any of you on the LEFT think if Palin felt she wasn't making a difference she would be doing what she is doing? What is in it for Palin, just to have her name out there? I understand completely if you are FoxNews and/or a member of the Republican Establishment, the threat Palin brings (if she ran 3rd Party, the Republican Party would be finished), so I understand why they would do everything they possibly can to destroy her. First they tried the debasing (anonymously if they thought it would work), then they stopped her from speaking, then finally they refuse to bring her name up, even though she clearly has the largest following on the political RIGHT. We wouldn't be reading about her or talking about her if she wasn't.

This is just another article by a writer who is either clueless (because he doesn't do his homework) or a hit job by someone whose allegiance is to the Republican Party. Palin has as many options as any leader in politics, and better opportunities to succeed than nearly all others. Those that don't believe this are listening to the wrong voices. Check out those crowds in the video, that should clarify my message.

"For one second do any of you on the LEFT think if Palin felt she wasn't making a difference she would be doing what she is doing? What is in it for Palin, just to have her name out there?"

Didn't you even READ the article? MONEY is what is in it for Palin! She is making a living. She is a con, a grifter. She doesn't have to actually work for a living. She can just be what she, and people like you think are cute, and the money flows in. It's fine with me if you want to waste your money supporting this woman, but at least understand what she is doing.

Paul Waldman, as you outlined some of Jon Avlon's findings in the bowels of SarahPAC's 2012 FEC report, perhaps neither of you were aware of these two items:

A total of $38,182.84 was paid by SarahPAC over the year's time to an Anchorage AK law firm by the name of Clapp, Peterson, Van Flein, Tiemessen & Thorsness LLC.

The mix of personal business and PAC business in Palinworld boggles the mind. But as Palin herself once famously said, "...I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can't."

1) Thomas Van Flein was Sarah Palin's personal/family attorney during the height of the so-called Troopergate scandal, when she was charged with an ethics violation in her vendetta against her former brother-in-law, AK state trooper Mike Wooten.

Van Flein left the Palin employ in 2010 to work for Paul Gosar (R-AZ), one of Sarah Palin's recipients of campaign money, one of her endorsements, and one of her "wins". He started out as Gosar's legislative director, soon to be promoted to chief of staff.

See also Texas attorney Malia Litman's take on the Van Flein to Arizona move, and what it portends in her estimation.

2) John J. Tiemessen is currently Sarah Palin's lawyer.

Tiemessen also represented Palin in her defense against Juneau AK activist Chip Thoma in his suit against her, and represented Palin 2010 endorsee Joe Miller, the Teaparty candidate who lost his US Senate bid to write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski.

Also, there's a SarahPAC payment 8/13/12 of $4,559.00 to a company called Pie-Spy LLC, 1140 W Parks Hwy, Wasilla AK for "bus repair, gas, lodging, tolls".

As this Huffington Post article outlines,

"Sarah Palin is the owner of a small marketing business called "Pie Spy" that was founded during her last few months as Alaska governor, according to financial records... Pie Spy is described as a business involving "Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities" in documents filed with the Alaska Department of Commerce. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the LLC's address is that of Palin's [former] Anchorage lawyer Thomas Van Flein."

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