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$150,000 designer clothes Palin said "not true"

>> Saturday, October 25, 2008

VP candidate calls herself "frugal," insists she did not accept wardrobe from RNC and "that is not who we are."
Of the $150,000 spent by the Republican National Committee on clothing for the vice presidential candidate, $50,000 worth of clothes was returned immediately after the national convention, $50,000 worth hasn't been worn yet and $50,000 is being used by the Palin clan.

Sarah Palin told FOX News on Thursday that some of the clothes that were ill-fitting or just bought to be tried and possibly worn were returned right away.

Everything that "could be returned was," she said. Another third of the clothing remains unwrapped and packed in the belly of the vice presidential candidate's campaign plane and the rest is being worn.

Republican aides say the purchases were necessary because the family was whisked out of Alaska without notice, then scattered across the country for campaign activities not least of which was a week of convention appearances.

"Those clothes are not my property," Palin told FOX News' Sean Hannity. "We had three days (at the convention) of using clothes that the RNC purchased."

Palin added that she knows how to make a dollar work for her appearance.

"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. It is ... not 5th Avenue type of shopping," Palin said, adding that the RNC purchases will either be returned or go to charity.

RNC officials would not explain why this explanation is surfacing days after the purchase appeared in news stories, advisers declined to answer. They did describe much of what Palin wears now as bought "off the sale rack from Macy's."

News of the purchases of designer clothes, largely from upscale Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, contrasts with the image Palin has crafted as a typical "hockey mom."

McCain was asked several questions on Thursday about the shopping spree -- and he answered each one more or less the same way: Palin needed clothes and they'll be donated to charity.

He said his wardrobe was not purchased by the RNC. Asked Wednesday who had paid for the suit he was wearing, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden told WSLS-TV in Roanoke, Va.: "I pay for my suits. I pay for all of my own clothing."

Also on Thursday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a private watchdog group in Washington, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Palin, the Republican National Committee and several political operatives alleging that the purchase of clothing for Palin and her family violates Federal Election Campaign Act.

The law prohibits a candidate for federal office from converting campaign funds to personal use. CREW notes that FEC regulations make clear the prohibition applies to clothing but also provide that donations by candidates to charity are not for personal use. CREW argued this exception might apply to Palin's clothes but doesn't appear to apply to clothes for her family.

Palin, who is John McCain's vice presidential running mate, told The Chicago Tribune in an interview posted on the newspaper's Web site Thursday night that she finds a double standard in the questioning.

"I think Hillary Clinton was held to a different standard in her primary race," Palin said. "Do you remember the conversations that took place about her, say superficial things that they don't talk about with men, her wardrobe and her hairstyles, all of that? That's a bit of that double standard."

"It's kind of painful to be criticized for something when all the facts are not out there and are not reported," Palin said.
[The Associated Press contributed to this report.]

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