(AFP) – Oct 24, 2008
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin insisted she is a "frugal" spender as she denied she had a 150,000 dollar Republican Party clothes budget for her and her family for the White House campaign.
"That whole thing is just, bad!" the 44-year-old Alaska governor told the Chicago Tribune in an interview posted online late Thursday.
"Oh, if people only knew how frugal we are," she said, after political ethics campaigners lodged a formal complaint over Republican National Committee's (RNC) expenditures, which were first reported this week.
Palin said the clothes "were loaned to us during the convention. And I don't think it was anywhere near ... What did they say... $150 grand? It wasn't anywhere near that," Palin said.
"Those are not ours. We give those back, those go to charity or they'll be auctioned off or whatever. That's not even my property. So to be criticized for that, that is not who we are."
With the November 4 election less than a fortnight away, it emerged Wednesday that the Republicans splashed out for Palin -- the moose-hunting governor and self-described "hockey mom" -- after John McCain picked her as his running mate.
The Politico website said designer outfits from such top-end retailers as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, plus hair care and make-up, cropped up as "campaign accessories" in a monthly RNC financial disclosure statement.
"It's kind of painful to be criticized for something when all the facts are not out there and are not reported," said Palin.
She also insisted that she did not accept the clothes as her property, during a separate interview with Fox.
"Those clothes are not my property. We had three days of using clothes that the RNC purchased.
"If people knew how Todd and I and our kids shop so frugally. My favorite shop is a consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska, called Out of the Closet. And my shoe store is called Shoe Fly in Juneau, Alaska," she said.
"It's not -- you know, it's not Fifth Avenue type of shopping. But RNC purchasing some clothes that are all going -- they are either returned or they're going to charity. It's not my property."
In a submission to the Federal Election Commission, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington alleged that the shopping spree was a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act by Palin, the Republican National Committee and RNC "operatives."
"It is ridiculous that the RNC would spend 150,000 dollars to outfit a vice presidential nominee and her family at any time," said the group's executive director Melanie Sloan on its website (www.citizensforethics.org).
"But it is more outrageous given the dire financial straights of so many Americans and the state of our economy."
McCain's campaign has said it always intended to donate the clothes to charity after the election.
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