MSNBC contributor Karen Finney has a piece in The Hill questioning the propriety of Sarah Palin’s use of SarahPAC money to pay for her and her family’s “vacation” around the east coast. The trip has been treated by the press the same way it has been treated by Palin’s growing campaign machine: like a political trip, replete with meet-and-greets, on-the-road pop-ins and photo ops with key Republican politicians at iconic locations. Of course, as Finney points out, Palin’s explanations of this as a family vacation fly in the face of what political contributions to her PAC can and should be used for. Finney writes:
Given that Palin has so emphatically stated that this personal family vacation is not related to any political purpose, is it criminally fraudulent — federally punishable as mail or wire fraud — if the PAC funds, reasonably contributed for political purposes, are unlawfully converted for personal use?
This is a great question and an incredibly reasonable one for reporters to ask.
Finney thinks Palin is showing poor judgement by using PAC money for a family vacation which is masquerading as a presidential campaign testing-the-water trip which is masquerading as a family vacation. I disagree. Palin can answer as she has already – by being deliberately obtuse while performing linguistic gymnastics in response to reporters questions. She can tell her supporters on Facebook and Twitter that these questions are simply the LAMEstream media out to silence her. And she can probably assume that neither the FEC nor the Department of Justice will investigate if she is illegally using PAC money for personal gain, despite the fact that John Edwards is about to be indicted for using unreported political contributions for personal gain. In a sense, Palin has no real reason to not be coy with her purposes and her accounting because she has generally immunized herself from scrutiny from the press and from Democrats (at least to the extent that she does not accept their frame – how voters take her is a different question).
Originally posted at AMERICAblog Elections: The Right’s Field