Huffpost Politics

Sarah Palin PAC Funding Tea Party Candidates, Raking It In

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JUNEAU, Alaska — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin raised more than $1.2 million for her political action committee during the last quarter, giving $93,500 to conservative candidates and causes ahead of the looming midterm elections in which she's played a major role.

The financial disclosure, filed Tuesday by her SarahPAC, shows the 2008 vice presidential candidate and potential 2012 presidential contender spent a total of about $1 million during that time. Much of it – more than $255,000 – went to consultants in areas including coalitions, media, international affairs and finance.

Palin, who has said repeatedly that her immediate focus is on the midterm elections and on helping elect candidates she considers "commonsense conservatives," gave money to 15 candidates, including $10,000 to U.S. Senate hopefuls Christine O'Donnell of Delaware and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

She contributed $10,000 to Joe Miller, a tea party favorite in her home state who upset U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary and is seeking to turn back Murkowski's write-in candidacy in the Nov. 2 election. He received his first $5,000 during the primary, and it showed up on Palin's previous filing.

The Federal Election Commission allows for PACs to give up to $5,000 per candidate committee per election.

Other candidates getting money included U.S. Senate hopefuls Marco Rubio of Florida and John Hoeven of North Dakota, each with $5,000; Sharron Angle of Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky.

Palin also gave $10,000 to the Iowa Republican Party, donations that coincided with her unity speech at the party's largest annual fundraiser last month.

Her fundraising exceeds that from the previous reporting period, which covered April through June. Then, Palin reported raising about $865,800 and giving at least $87,500 to candidates.

For the latest reporting period, PAC Treasurer Tim Crawford said SarahPAC received an average of $50 from more than 21,000 contributors. He said he wouldn't read anything into the spending on consulting – Palin's last report showed her spending more than $210,000 on consulting. He said he was writing additional checks to candidates "right now. ... There's more coming."

Palin's report shows she ended the period Sept. 30 with nearly $1.3 million on hand. Crawford said it's up to Palin how much of that she plans to tap before the election. "It's there for what she wants," he said.

(This version CORRECTS the total for consulting.)

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