Avlon: Sarah PAC "Somewhere Between A Business And A Racket"


WOLF BLITZER, CNN: John, you discovered it's not so simple when it comes to Palin, money, consultants. What did you dig up?

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's not at all. There's a big irony alert that should be posted over her speech now because in addition to it being a very well-written speech by a speechwriter, what the FEC filings, the Federal Election Commission filings for her PAC, the SarahPAC show is that the vast amount of the money raised and spent in the last election cycle was on consultants. It did not go to candidates.

In fact less than $300,000 went to candidates. She spent more on her top consultant than she did in all the candidates she doled out money to. And really when you look at the fold, there are consultants for every issue imaginable under SarahPAC. When people give money to these political action committees, they think they're getting political action. What they're really doing is feeding a whole subcategory of consulting industry out there, a partisan economy.

BLITZER: What were the consultants doing over there? What were they working for?

AVLON: It is stunning to go through line by line. And you know, if you want to find out the truth in politics, follow the money. It's an old rule and it's a good rule. There are consultants for -- called issue consultants, there are management consultants, there are logistical consultants. Then in addition to speech writing consultants and grassroots outreach consultants. Which sounds like an oxymoron.

I thought the whole point of grassroots outreach is that you didn't need a consultant to tell you how to do it, especially from Sarah Palin's perspective. And then of course the private jets and the typical travel and printing costs that come out of a PAC. Almost $1 million in postage. But the big picture, very little (INAUDIBLE) of the money -- millions that Sarah Palin raised through her SarahPAC ended up going to candidates. The vast majority of it went to consultants.

BLITZER: In her last ad from her PAC, she is portrayed as a GOP kingmaker, if you will. I'll play a little clip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sarah Palin jumped in early and supported Rand Paul. She supported Marco Rubio, Tim Scott, Pat Toomey, Nikki Haley, Deb Fisher, Jeff Blake and myself.

PALIN: The next election is 20 months away. The last thing we need is Washington, D.C., vetting our candidates.


BLITZER: How much influence does she really have these days within the GOP?

AVLON: It's diminished. You can see that just from the money SarahPAC raised, Wolf. But when she decided not to run for president at the end of 2011, a lot of that spigot of money really dried up. But there's no question, Sarah Palin is an influencer, especially in the conservative populous movement. She's very popular among the base. And now she's trying to present herself as this kingmaker, as you said.

The key is, she's simultaneously asking for money for SarahPAC. And that's because they just got $1 million left in this political action committee. So it's a reminder of a great quote by Eric Hoffer, which is all great movements begin as a cause, it become a business, and they end up as a racket, well, we're somewhere between business and racket right now.

BLITZER: John Avlon, doing some reporting for us. John, thanks very much.

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