Hockey Moms and Neiman Marcus

Remember all that talk from the Republican talking heads about John Edwards’ $400 haircut?

Remember all that talk from Sarah Palin about how she’s “just like you?” One of the “good ol’ girls” from rural America? You know, hockey moms and minivans and lipstick and all that stuff?

Remember all that talk from the Republicans about the Democratic Elitists? You know, those “limousine liberals?” Yeah, they’re not like us, are they? With their fancy suits. They don’t care about us, they don’t know us. Now, John McCain and Sarah Palin, they know us. Heartland America. We’re talking Wal-Mart, Home Depot and… Neiman Marcus?

Yep. Turns out the RNC spent $150,000 on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe.

Is there any reason she couldn’t have gotten her clothes at Wal-Mart? K-Mart? Old Navy? JC Penny? You know, places the rest of us non-elitist working-class folks shop?

The expenses include $75,062 spent at Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis and $41,850 in St. Louis in early September. The committee also reported spending $4,100 for makeup and hair consulting. The expenses were first reported by Politico.com.

Wow. $4100 for makeup and hair consulting? Seriously? John Edwards might as well have bought a Flowbee if we’re talking comparisons.

So why did the RNC and not McCain’s committee pay for the accessories?

The 2002 campaign finance law that bears McCain’s name specifically barred any funds that “are donated for the purpose of supporting the activities of a federal or state office holder” from being used for personal expenses including clothing. A quirk in the law does not specifically mention party committees, however.

That doesn’t mean the expenditure would not be subject to a challenge before the Federal Election Commission.

Lawrence M. Noble, former general counsel at the FEC, noted that as a coordinated party expense, the clothing purchase could be considered a contribution to the campaign.

“And if it was a contribution, then it could not have been used for buying clothing,” Noble said. “I don’t know how the FEC would come out on that question.”

As expected, the “former” John McCain spoke out about this sort of thing.

“The use of campaign funds for items which most Americans would consider to be strictly personal reasons, in my view, erodes public confidence and erodes it significantly,” he said on the Senate floor in May 1993.

The McCain campaign says they will now donate the clothes to charity after the election is over.

Should the ticket win, the emperor and empress apparently will have no clothes.

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