Palin: McCain’s campaign charged me for my own vetting; McCain aide: No we didn’t; Update: She wasn’t billed for vetting, says campaign lawyer

posted at 7:32 pm on November 12, 2009 by Allahpundit

Thus was the first shot fired in the Great McCain/Palin War of ’09, my friends. From Sarahcuda’s book, a copy of which is now in the hands of the Associated Press:

She writes about the “jaded aura” of professional campaign aides and how McCain’s entourage limited her access to the media, leading to allegations – unfounded, she says – that she was avoiding reporters.

And she says that most of her legal bills were generated defending what she called frivolous ethics complaints, but she reveals that about $500,000 was a bill she received to pay for the McCain campaign vetting her for the VP nod.

She said when she asked the McCain campaign if it would help her financially, she was told McCain’s camp would have paid all the bills if he’d won; since he lost, the vetting legal bills were her responsibility.

I’m always suspicious when the media attempts to state her position without quoting her, but assuming that’s accurate, an unnamed McCain staffer will have you know that (a) the bills weren’t for vetting and (b) they couldn’t have paid them if they wanted to.

“That is one hundred percent untrue,” said the McCain official, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity in deference to McCain. “All those bills are from her personal attorney Thomas Van Flein, mostly relating to the Troopergate investigation and other ethics investigations. It is not legal to pay for those investigations out of general election funds, even if the campaign was so inclined.”

Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton would not confirm the accuracy of the AP report.

“The book remains embargoed,” Stapleton said in an e-mail to CNN. “The Governor will appear on Oprah first to discuss the book’s contents.”

Election law is so labyrinthine that I’m not even going to try to research this. There’ll be plenty of expert opinion about it on the wires tomorrow, no doubt, although election lawyers are welcome to send in tips if they have a take. In the meantime, a question: Why wouldn’t Team Maverick pick up the tab, assuming it was legal to do so? The RNC was willing to shell out six figures on wardrobe; a few hundred thousand more to bail her out of a campaign-induced legal quagmire doesn’t seem much to ask. If anything, given the tensions between her and some of the campaign’s staffers, you would think they’d be eager to do whatever they could to make her happy after the election to minimize the risk of an ugly McCain vs. Palin/GOP in disarray storyline.

Follow the first link up top for more details from the book. Turns out that, according to Nicolle Wallace, Katie Couric suffers from low self-esteem. Heart-ache.

Update: Another shot fired.

This senior McCain campaign official says they considered the $500,000 bill from Palin’s lawyer to be exorbitant — plus, even if they wanted to, they couldn’t use their general-election funds to pay for it (remember that McCain accepted some $84 million in federal funds for the general election).

“Everyone thought it was ridiculous,” the senior McCain official tells First Read.

Anyone not think the “senior McCain official” is Steve Schmidt?

Update: Here’s why it’s a bad idea to trust the AP. The line in the blockquote above about how “she reveals that about $500,000 was a bill” has now been revised in subsequent versions of the story to read “she reveals that about one-tenth of the $500,000 was a bill”. In other words, the vetting allegedly cost 50 grand, not 500 grand. Which makes it even odder that the campaign didn’t pick up the tab — assuming it was legally entitled to do so.

Update: Sounds like we have a disagreement over what constitutes “vetting.”

It’s not legal for general election matching funds to pay for pre-emptive legal defense; the McCain campaign did not believe it was legal for GELAC funds — a separate account that paid for fundraising complaince — to pay for the investigations either. But vetting is a poor word to choose. The McCain campaign footed the bill for Art Culvahouse’s investigation of Palin before she was elected. Palin was urged by campaign lawyers to set up a legal defense fund to pay for the investigations and ethics complaints that had nothing to do with her presidential bid.

“I can confirm that she was not billed for any vetting costs by the campaign,” said Trevor Potter, the campaign’s general counsel. “I do not know if she was billed by her own lawyer for his assistance to her in the vetting process, but from the excerpt that has been read to me by the AP, it sounds as if that is what she is describing.”

Without a quote from the book itself, it’s impossible to tell how much of a dispute there really is here.

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I was wondering that the final few days of the campaign. I wondered if McCain had enough info on how bad the economy was and didn’t want any part of it.

rbj on November 13, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Whatever it was – he was beaten months before the vote. Palin was the only one fighting for that ticket. I watched his speeches. He had no fire. The only time he showed passion was dressing down anyone questioning Obama in any way. During one of the debates Obama had a look on his face like he was planning to eat McCain for dinner. I think he lost it when the Press turned on him so viciously. They had him completely snowed. He thought he knew them. He thought they liked him. Anyone that naieve should not have been president in any case. Palin, at least, understood that she was under full assault and by all accounts did not back off. I had doubts about Palin at first but when I saw how she handled the mountain of abuse heaped on her – she got my full respect and support.

BrideOfRove on November 13, 2009 at 2:05 PM

I think you are over-complicating it. By election night McCain was angry that what little energy was generated out of the campaign came from Palin. It was clear many were willing to put up with him only because she was on the ticket and he would have been happier with somebody more like him.

In case you haven’t noticed, McCain is a bitter angry old man.

highhopes on November 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM

I voted for Palin. In the end she was the only one running that I had any respect for.

BrideOfRove on November 13, 2009 at 2:07 PM

I have started a website blog promoting Fred, it is called: 2012-Today and I am pushing Fred on it big…Please come visit the site, contribute with your words and spread the word to everyone so we can convince Fred to run!

walker_ro on November 13, 2009 at 7:59 AM

Nice website.

I LOVE Teh Fred, but man, he blew it last year. I mean he was simply too lazy (for lack of a better word) to run. Very disappointing.

At this point, Teh Fred is more of an emeritus figure. He would make a SUPERB adviser to President Palin.

Teh Fred is doing what he is supposed to be doing, working with his incredibly smart wife, and helping drive the agenda.

gary4205 on November 13, 2009 at 4:28 PM

I think McCain’s staff mishandled both Sarah Palin and John McCain.

Remember Saddleback Forum? That’s the John McCain that his campaign staff should have presented to the voting public.

We all remember the Convention speech by Sarah Palin. That’s the Sarah Palin that McCain’s campaign staff should have presented to the voting public.

McCain’s campaign staff failed.

Phil Byler on November 13, 2009 at 6:35 PM

CNN is not the AP. The AP IS the news. There’s simply no comparison.

Esthier on November 13, 2009 at 9:18 AM

The AP (Associated Press) USED to be the news. They obviously have it out for Palin, whatever the reason. I have watched them do this crap since b/4 the election. They print falsehoods, the lefty blogs pick them up…they retract them…but it is too late by then…everyone is quoting the first article that was WRONG to begin with. This AP here should know this by now and should stop playing their game.

njpat on November 13, 2009 at 7:43 PM

McCain’s campaign staff failed.

I have to say McCain had the biggest part of his own failure. When he Ran to DC and pushed the Repubs to start us on the Bail out wagon, I knew all was lost. I will say looking back, I’m glad he lost. With leaders like that who needs Liberals? McCain is just a tad less Progressive then Obama.
I am against all progressives, Party has no meaning for me.
The GOP just doesn’t have as many progressives. My money and time will go to helping Conservative/Libertarian canadents of any Party.
Palin fits my criteria.

IowaWoman on November 14, 2009 at 2:50 AM

I think he lost it when the Press turned on him so viciously. They had him completely snowed. He thought he knew them. He thought they liked him. Anyone that naieve should not have been president in any case. Palin, at least, understood that she was under full assault and by all accounts did not back off. I had doubts about Palin at first but when I saw how she handled the mountain of abuse heaped on her – she got my full respect and support.

BrideOfRove on November 13, 2009 at 2:05 PM

I agree with you on McCain. The press was his buddy when they needed him to be the GOP candidate.

With McCain nominated, who needs McCain anymore? McCain was there to get Obama elected. McCain fooled them with Palin and picked up a huge percent of the vote, considering his anti conservative, pro amnesty stance, and his gaming the Senate with the other RINOs

McCain [or McCain’s advisers] so hog tied Palin it was pathetic, yet she still collected him a bucket of votes

entagor on November 14, 2009 at 3:17 AM

Sorry, IowaWoman, re your post on November 14, 2009 at 2:50 AM, but McCain did NOT run to Washington D.C, to support the Republican Bush Administration bank bailout (“TARP”). He went to Washington D.C. because it was represented by Paulson and Bernacke that the financial system would collapse unless there was the bank bailout. McCain did not initially say what he supported, and he met with GOP House members who were opposed. McCain has said that he came to support the Bush bailout because of Paulson’s and Bernacke’s representations about hte financial system failing. Dick Cheney has said pretty much the same on this issue. I further note that when it came time to vote on a second release of TARP monies in the final days of the Bush Administration, McCain voted AGAINST that release. Additionaly, McCain has voted AGAINST every Obama bailout bill and every Obama deficit spending bill.

I would, however, agree that what happened in October 2008 did very much matter in the outcome of the election. Coming out the GOP Convention, the McCain-Palin ticket went into the lead in the polls, but then the financial “crisis” hit, creating economic uncertainties that historically have favored Democrats and very much did in the 2008 election. The Bush bank bailout muddied the waters of the difference between the parties on economic issues and obscured the Reaganesque economic message that was delivered by the McCain-Palin ticket on the campaign trial. McCain has always been a fiscal conservative and advocated a cut in the corporate tax cut. Palin was certainly delivering the Reagan talk on economics in campaign speeches. But with the media being so in love with Obama and acting day-in, day-out as propagandists for Obama and with Obama having a 7 to 1 money advantage, Obama was presented as the one who would not increase taxes and may reduce them. At this vantage point, that obviously was a crock of nonsense. I thought it was back then during the campaign, but I also know it was not commonly seen as such.

Phil Byler on November 14, 2009 at 5:31 AM

Now wait a second here?
Your asked to join the campaign
and then you have to pay for your own background check?
with almost 1 billion spent these republical IDIOTS
were trying to stiff palin for another 1 million..

Sheesh no wonder she bailed out..
I would too

veteranoutrage on November 14, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Palin’s Facebook post…..
As you probably have heard, the AP snagged a copy of my memoir, Going Rogue, before its Tuesday release. And as is expected, the AP and a number of subsequent media outlets are erroneously reporting the contents of the book. Keep your powder dry, read the book, and enjoy it! Lots of great stories about my family, Alaska, and the incredible honor it was to run alongside Senator John McCain.

We can’t wait to hit the road and meet so many on the book tour! See you in Michigan first…

– Sarah Palin

njpat on November 14, 2009 at 1:14 PM

PALIN: How many AP fact-checkers does it take to change a lightbulb?

FACT: Palin has gone seriously “rogue” in her facts here. AP fact-checkers are prevented per union regulations from changing lightbulbs.

J_Crater on November 14, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Only through an internal GOP civil war are we going to be able to unseat Obama. *sarcasm*


You’re starting to resemble Huckabee.

scotash on November 15, 2009 at 3:13 AM