A new financial report filed Sunday evening showed Sarah Palin’s political action committee has taken its fundraising to a higher level – and suggests that she has begun building a more sophisticated political operation in place of a bare-bones organization powered mostly by her rock star status and scrappy on-line presence.
The report, filed with the Federal Election Commission, shows that Palin’s political action committee raised more money in the second quarter of this year – $866,000 – than it had in any previous three-month stretch since Palin formed the group in January 2009.
In short, for the first time since the 2008 campaign when she was the vice-presidential running mate to GOP presidential candidate John McCain, Palin is supported by a political operation befitting someone considering a presidential run.
Sarah PAC, a so-called leadership political action committee, relied largely on small donors for its fundraising haul between the beginning of April and the end of last month, according to the report, which shows more than $1 million in the bank at the end of the quarter.
Though the stated purposes of political action committees like Sarah PAC are to boost like-minded candidates through contributions and appearances on their behalf, it’s become common for prospective presidential candidates to use such committees to pay for political staffs and travel before formally declaring their candidacies – as well as to collect chits by contributing to potential allies. Several of Palin’s potential rivals for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination – including Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Haley Barbour of Mississippi and former Govs. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas – have their own PACs, and some have multiple committees in different states.
Most of their reports are due this week, though a spokesman said Pawlenty’s Freedom First PAC raised more than $700,000, while Romney’s field-leading Free and Strong America PAC, which reports monthly, had raised more than $1 million in April and May alone. Of the bunch, only Barbour had filed a second quarter report, which showed that one of his committees, a Georgia state committee called Haley's Leadership PAC quietly created late last year, pulled in nearly $70,000 from April through June, largely through a fundraiser last month that drew some big Republican names to a trendy restaurant in Washington’s Glover Park neighborhood. (Continues at Politico)