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No Palin cash to candidates in targeted districts

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin addresses the crowd of during a stop of the Tea Party Express on Boston Common in Boston, Wednesday, April 14, 2010. Charles Krupa / ASSOCIATED PRESS
/ Source: Politics Daily

Sarah Palin put the bull's-eye on 20 U.S. House races on her last month, but didn't donate to favored candidates in those districts during the first quarter of the year.

Although her SarahPAC took in $400,000 in the first quarter and had more than $900,000 in the bank, it gave only $7,500 to candidates between January and the end of March, plus an additional $2,000 to two other PACs. None went to Republicans in the races she targeted.

Instead, she gave to $2,500 to Wisconsin House candidate Sean Duffy, $2,000 to Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul, and $1,000 each to Florida House candidate Allen West, Illinois House candidate Adam Kinzinger and Idaho House candidate Vaughan Ward. SarahPAC also donated $1,000 each to Iraq Veterans for Congress and Combat Veterans for Congress, both political action committees.

Palin announced her list of 20 targeted House candidates (three are retiring) on March 23, the day President Obama the health care reform bill. On the Facebook post, Palin cited the "government takeover of health care" and vowed "to reclaim the power of the people from those who disregarded the will of the people."

"We're paying particular attention to those House members who voted in favor of Obamacare and represent districts that Senator John McCain and I carried during the 2008 election," she added, and invited readers to go to "and join me in the fight."

Since its inception, the PAC has raised more than $2.5 million and spent more than $1.6 million. According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, SarahPAC spent $402,460 in the first quarter of 2010.

So what did she spend her money on this year?

Consultants: Almost $243,000 went to consultants, including almost $45,000 to PAC treasurer Timothy Crawford (some of it for expenses), plus $21,500 for legal services. NorthStar Strategies took in $50,000, and Orion Strategies $30,000. Consulting services included media strategy, fundraising, candidate research and grassroots coalitions.

Travel: More than $42,000 went to travel, including more than $7,300 to de-ice private planes. Destinations for Team Palin included New Orleans, Cincinnati, Dallas, Phoenix, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis.

The PAC spent more than $31,780 on postage and more than $25,000 on Internet fundraising.

Even photographer Shaelah Craighead (Laura Bush's White House photographer) took in more money than Sarah PAC gave to candidates, earning $11,596 for photography.

Meanwhile, some of the targeted candidates benefited from Palin's ire.

First-term Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.) earned a bull's-eye after she switched from a "no" to a "yes" vote on health care reform. She also ranked among ActBlue's top 10 fundraisers for March. Markey's campaign spokeswoman told The Coloradoan in Fort Collins that more than $355,000 of the $505,000 Markey raised came during the final two weeks of the first quarter:

"We got calls from people furiously mad at what Palin put on her Facebook page," Markey spokeswoman Anne Caprara told the Coloradoan. "Frankly, she can send out solicitations any time she wants."

ActBlue, a Web site that acts as a conduit for Democratic candidates, reported that a few groups organized to raise money for candidates targeted by Palin.

While Palin didn't donate to any of the challengers in races she's targeting, some may have benefited from backlash against the health care bill.

One of Markey's potential GOP opponents, Colorado state Rep. Cory Gardner, took in $272,898 during the first quarter. Most of that came in the last few weeks of March, said campaign consultant Mike Ciletti.

"This was our best quarter yet," Ciletti said.

There just wasn't any cash from Palin's PAC.