Politics & Government

Palin's campaign clothing complaint dismissed by FEC

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint over the clothes and accessories purchased for Gov. Sarah Palin and her family on the campaign trail.

The Republican National Committee bought designer outfits during Palin's vice presidential run last fall. Wardrobe and related expenses reportedly ran more than $150,000 and included purchases from Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed the complaint against the RNC and Palin, who has said she didn't authorize or approve of the spending.

CREW argued it violated a ban on campaign money going for personal use. The Federal Election Commission disagreed in a ruling made public Tuesday.

The ruling said the ban applies to money raised by candidates – not to political party expenses.

"The RNC states that it used its own funds to make the expenditures for the clothing and accessories. ... We have no information to the contrary. As such, no candidate funds were converted to 'personal use,' " it said.

Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, argued the commission's decision opens the door for political parties to buy lavish wardrobes for candidates to use, and that contributes to the public's cynicism about politicians.

"It's typical of the FEC to never take on anybody for anything," Sloan said. "It seems like the kind of thing they should have come down on, but they seem to think their hands are tied."

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