I'm still working out my thoughts concerning what actionable offenses Sarah Palin may have committed by perpetrating the birth hoax. I'll get back to that soon.
But, related to that, I wanted to get a sense of how financially responsible SarahPAC has been. And guess what: SarahPAC has been breathtakingly piggish in spending donors' contributions on its "operating expenses," a category that includes such costs as fundraising, promotion of the PAC's mission, and staff salaries. Here's how it looks graphically:
This is astonishing. The purpose of a political action committee, according to Wikipedia, is "to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation." And how much did SarahPAC spend in that fashion? A nickel or less out of ever dollar. The "or less" qualifier has to do with how we count that 1 percent in the "other" category – more on that in a minute.
What are normal expenditures? The Southern Poverty Law Center took the Minutemen PAC to task in 2009 for its piggishness regarding operating expenses, saying:
But while the Minuteman PAC spent $1.7 million during the last election cycle (as of Nov. 24), less than 9 cents of every dollar went to help candidates — either directly through contributions or indirectly through advertisements and mailings supporting or opposing specific candidates. By contrast, nine similar PACs spent, on average, nearly four times as much —about 34 cents of every dollar — on contributions to federal campaigns and on materials calling for the election or defeat of particular candidates.
So PACs typically spend about third of their contributions on the purposes that justify their existence – advancing political candidates, causes and the like. (And even that strikes me a pretty paltry.) The Minutemen got spanked for spending about a quarter of that percentage. But SarahPAC takes the Minutemen to school, spending only about half as much as they did out of each dollar contributed.
So where is the fat in SarahPAC's spending? Well, some consultants are very pleased to serve Sarah. By my math, over a quarter of a million dollars – $260,718 – went to folks listed as consultants or to the closely related "scheduling" category. In fact, there were "logistics consultants" in addition to folks doing scheduling – how do those differ?