Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 22, 2008

JEFF LARSON'S OTHER CAREER.... We talked just the other day about McCain having hired FLS-Connect, a robocal firm led by Republican activist and Karl Rove protege Jeff Larson -- the same Larson that Bush hired eight years ago to destroy McCain with scurrilous robocalls.

Today, Larson's name came up in a very different context. Everyone now knows that the Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 on clothes and accessories for the Palin family since late August. But guess who was doing the shopping?

[B]uried in the same FEC disclosure form that revealed Palin's taste for the fine life is the name of the man who appears to have been her personal shopper: Jeff Larson.

Under FEC regulations, the RNC must file what is called a "Schedule F form," which lists "expenditures made by political committees or designated agents(s) on behalf of candidates for federal office." [...] Along with the matching dates and dollar totals, note the "Transaction ID Number," which clearly connects the questionable expenditures with reimbursement payments made to Larson. [...]

What's so incompetent about this from a political tradecraft perspective is that both parties ordinarily take the easy precaution of making sure such embarrassing material isn't obvious to reporters, which they do by routing the payment through a law firm or consultant. Here they neglected to do so.

A different Jeff Larson, perhaps? No such luck. The New York Times confirms that the Republican consultant and robocall-firm executive bought Palin's clothes and was reimbursed by the RNC.

But wait, there's more. Noting the "six degrees of GOP sleaze," Josh Marshall reminds us, "Jeff Larson is not only John McCain's chief robocaller and Sen. Palin's $150k clothes shopper, he's also the guy who's giving that sweetheart rental deal on his apartment in DC" to Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.).


Steve Benen 4:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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I was about to comment that this guy is quite the jack of all trades--master of none, but in fact, his taste in women's clothes is quite good. Maybe he's finally found his calling.

Posted by: CJ on October 22, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, they are getting low on money, so I guess he just has to take on more responsibility for the team.

Posted by: Margaret on October 22, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

The guy has a darling fashion sense, has a man living for little more than pocket change in his basement and gets paid to be bitchy over the telephone. La-ti-da...........

Posted by: steve duncan on October 22, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

You're missing a closing quote there at the end, Steve. All the best, your personal editor.

No, but seriously, you've just got to love this. There is no way to become a cynic faster than to observe the hypocrisy of the republican party in the glorious US of A.

Posted by: Jesse on October 22, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine if Obama had gotten the aQ endorsement, and his wife had spent 150k of DNC money in three weeks. My T.V. -- even w/o being on -- would have exploded.

Posted by: John McCain: Worse than Bush on October 22, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Was there, maybe, a little bit of markup in the price as it passed
from the retailer through Larson? And we're sure clothing was
actually delivered to Palin?

Posted by: Alphonse on October 22, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

I knew Norm went shopping with Sarah!

Posted by: mjm on October 22, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Shopping for Palin?
Does he have a wide stance?
Does he know Larry Craig?
Inquiring minds want to know

Posted by: John R on October 22, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

This could have been a preemptive knife to the back of Sarah Palin's 2012 'Joe-Six-Pack Redux' campaign. Evidently a lot of McCain's staffer's think picking her was a huge mistake and they can't stand her. They feel she is more interested in establishing her name for future gain than in advancing John's chances this year. It does make the campaign look sloppy, but it completely undermines her image as Ms. 'Just like you.'

Posted by: bosn on October 22, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

A man that talented must be in line for White House Chief of Staff, or at least a cabinet position. Secretary of Commerce, perhaps?

Posted by: biggerbox on October 22, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Funny. Joshua Green, who breaks the story at The Atlantic, points out that Jeff Larson is the guy who gave Coleman the steep discount on his apartment. Green isn't even named, but Josh Marshall is credited with 'reminding us' of that fact.

Posted by: smintheus on October 22, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

And the MSM is where? But, Michelle ordered room service with lobsters and Iranian caviar...and cheap champagne. It shows she is interested in the economy and knows where to cut corners.
st john

Posted by: st john on October 22, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

This is off topic, but can someone help me understand a bit more about factcheck.org ?

I have had a couple of conservatives argue with me using findings from this group--including Obama's recent ad about McCain and Medicare.

I need some help to put these heady issues in better context. I'm wondering, is factcheck.org right leaning? Are they taking quotes out of context? Is there another group or website where I can go to learn the whole picture and not just a snapshot? A place that elaborates upon some of the assertions made against supposed "untruths" made by Obama's campaign?

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: don't say the "L" word yet on October 22, 2008 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Palin wardrobe.

How come Cindy didn't just let her have a bunch of stuff?

Sarah as image, no substance. Gotta have the gal look dashing, cement the Palin look.

I mean this is important stuff, the look that is, not the fact that Mr. Larson has got the hots for Sarah!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on October 22, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Next look for Jeff as guest host on TLC's "What Not To Wear."

Posted by: Frak on October 22, 2008 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

But who is Lisa L. Kine? This is the other name that appears on the Schedule F listing the "campaign accessories" for Gov. Palin. I can find no information on this person and am wondering if it's a pseudonym? (The similarity of the name to Lisa Kline clothing seems too coincidental.)

Sam: When ever there is any doubt, there is no doubt.

Posted by: JayDenver on October 22, 2008 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'm wondering, is factcheck.org right leaning?

Well, it's funded by the Annenberg Center.

On the one hand, the Annenberg Foundation funded the Annenberg Challenge, which employed Ayers.

On the other, their money comes from Walter and Leonore Annenberg, the latter of which is a staunch supporter of McCain.


Posted by: gwangung on October 22, 2008 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, looking into factcheck.org's leanings is barking up the wrong tree, anyway. Look at the facts (all of them)--maybe reality DOES have a liberal bias....(it certainly does in biology....)

Posted by: gwangung on October 22, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK


That is 4 years worth of a secretary's gross pay.
She's on the side of them middle class, you betcha.

Posted by: Zli on October 22, 2008 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, she had to look good on the telephone also, didn't she?

Posted by: A pitbull would make a better VP also. That's TWO things. on October 22, 2008 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

First to St. John. You did not read Murdocks retraction. Michelle OBama was not even staying at the hotel he said she was at when she ordered the lobster. They forgot to check their source. Back to $150K for wardrobe... I truly have no idea how anyone anywhere could spend that amount of money on clothes. I am retired from the government and my pension and my social security equals that for 7 years. It is mind boggling. What did she wear as before, sweat suits????

Posted by: Linda Elsen on October 22, 2008 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

On a day the Dow drops 500 points the GOP discloses Governor Palin dropped 150 Benjamins on her threads. Or rather Governor Palin's personal shopper dropped it for her.
If that isn't a big middle finger to the middle class I don't know what is.

After playing dress-up does she get to keep the outfits? Does Alaska have a use tax for out-of-state purchases? Is this Sarah Palin's "John Edwards $400 haircut" moment? If she pays $.15 million for duds what does she pay for her hair? Who's her accountant?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on October 22, 2008 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Make that 1500 Benjamins.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on October 22, 2008 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Michelle OBama was not even staying at the hotel he said she was at when she ordered the lobster.

The derangement of the Free Republic world has responded to this by saying that, well, you don't have to be staying in a room to order roomservice to a suite you're meeting in.

however, Michelle Obama wasn't even in New York on the date of the supposed lobster room service, she was giving a speech in Fort Wayne Indiana.

Posted by: g on October 23, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

I was thinking the same thing as Alphonse. Was this, in fact, a method to funnel RNC money into Larson's pocket without leaving a trace? I really cannot see how it is possible to spend that much money on clothes and leave anything in the store. Where are they going to put all that finery? But then, this is the same question that some kid in a poor neighborhood of NY asked when told that sometimes dinners in restaurants cost over $100 per person. "How much can you eat?!"

Posted by: Texas Aggie on October 23, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK



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