Palin's PAC reports raising $730,000

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">A fan, unseen, asks former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, right, to sign a baseball before the New York Yankees faced the Tampa Bay Rays in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Sunday, June 7, 2009. &#40;AP Photo&#47;Kathy Willens&#41;</span></div>
July 13, 2009 4:31:52 PM PDT
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's political action committee raised nearly $733,000 in its first five months, according to a report filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission. Receipts totaled $732,867.70 in the period between Jan. 1 and June 30, including contributions as high as $5,000 from some individuals.

An estimated $200,000 more has poured into the SarahPAC committee since the former GOP vice presidential candidate announced July 3 that she will step down as governor July 26, said Meghan Stapleton, her personal spokeswoman.

Stapleton said about $1.2 million has been raised between SarahPAC and a fund set up to help Palin pay more than $500,000 in legal debts stemming from multiple ethics complaints filed against her.

"What this tells me is that there is an overwhelming level of grass-roots support for the governor, and that Americans see her as a powerful figure for promoting conservative values," Stapleton said.

Palin, who is believed to be eyeing a 2012 run for the presidency, launched SarahPAC in late January, saying the goal was to help support candidates for federal and state office.

Aides at the time said the committee would help political activities going forward for Palin, who gained instant fame when she was named as John McCain's running mate last year.

SarahPAC reported spending more than $276,000 and said it had nearly $457,000 cash on hand.

Among expenditures, $5,000 was paid to Friends of John McCain and $5,000 went to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as a campaign contribution.

The largest payout was to Solutions for fundraising services. Payments totaling more than $106,000 were issued through late June, even though the Republican consulting firm withdrew from its Web development role with SarahPAC in April. Stapleton said the company agreed to stay on through the reporting period to help with the transition.

Stapleton received a monthly salary of $8,000 through her Anchorage-based public relations business, IzzyLene Consulting.

Also listed was a $4,683 payment to Stapleton's husband, Eric Steenburgh. Stapleton said she had borrowed his credit card for travel expenses for her and Palin when the governor traveled to Washington, D.C., for a high-profile political dinner at the elite Alfalfa Club.

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