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Sarah Palin raised $1.6 million for PAC this year

July 15, 2011|By Melanie Mason
(Jeff Fusco, Getty Images )

Sarah Palin's political action committee raised more than $1.6 million in the first half of the year, it announced Thursday.

The federal PAC spent nearly the same amount -- $1,591,520 -- in the same period. Of that, $65,000 went to candidates and almost $20,000 was donated to the Young America's Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes conservative values. In February, Palin gave a speech at a Ronald Reagan centennial celebration in Santa Barbara hosted by the organization. A spokeswoman said at the time that Palin had waived her speaking fee for the event.

Details of the PAC's donations and spending are available at the Federal Election Commission's website. Major expenditures include her One Nation bus tour, which attracted a burst of media attention during its East Coast stops at historical sites in late May.

The PAC's spending consist mostly of expenses necessary to maintain a political operation: fundraising and policy consultants, extensive travel, and administrative costs. But a few unconventional items underscore Palin's high-profile persona: a nearly $14,000 bill for a "bus wrap" to adorn her tour bus, for example, and almost $6,000 paid for a "tour of the Holy Land" in March, where she met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palin also paid more than $3,000 to her parents, Chuck and Sally Heath, for "correspondence and card mailing" in early January.

In all, Sarah PAC finished the reporting period with $1.4 million cash on hand.

The group's take more than doubled the amount it raised during the first half of 2009, the last year in which there was not a federal election. The PAC was particularly active in the 2010 midterm elections, raising more than $3.5 million that year  and contributing more than $460,000 to candidates.

"We at Sarah PAC are very pleased and grateful for the tremendous support that Governor Palin receives from everywhere across our country," said Tim Crawford, the group's treasurer, in a statement.

Crawford said that the group got more than 36,700 contributions from over 24,000 contributors.

Palin told Fox News' Sean Hannity Wednesday night that she would likely reveal her intentions on launching a presidential campaign late August or early September.

Matea Gold in the Washington bureau contributed to this report.

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