[UPDATED] Did Sarah Palin Break Campaign Finance Laws During Visit to Lauderdale Airport?
In March, a political action committee for Sarah Palin twice [SEE NOTE BELOW] spent $7,321 to deice her private jet after it had landed at a Fort Lauderdale aiport, according to Federal Elections Commission reports cited in this Huffington Post article.
Problem: There is no need to deice a plane in South Florida. Not even during this season's relatively cold weather.
In fact, Greg Meyer, a spokesman for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, told me, "Our airport has no deicing equipment -- why would we need that in Fort Lauderdale?"
That's a question for the former governor of Alaska. But given what we know about Palin, we can make a few guesses.
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Maybe a former veep candidate who resides in icy Alaska has a superstition
about getting her plane deiced, even when it's parked in a tropical location like this one. Of course, that doesn't quite explain why she'd have it deiced twice. If a plane's been deiced once, there's no ice to remove in the second go-round. And it's not like it could have developed ice on a day that reached 78 degrees and didn't go below 58.
A more sinister explanation: Someone involved in the Palin PAC -- maybe even Palin herself -- is stealing from its coffers. If so, she could run into trouble with the FEC.
A more comical explanation, and the one that I'm pulling for: A South Floridian who works at the airport told Palin that her plane had to be deiced -- and she believed him. In fact, she fell for it so easily, the airport worker couldn't resist going back a second time to see if he could make another seven grand for deicing the plane.
It's not clear whether Palin landed at the regional airport or at the executive airport; I'm trying to reach the spokesperson for the latter. But Meyer told me it's very unlikely that that airport has deicing equipment either. "There'd be no need for it."
NOTE: There are disparities in the reporting in the HuffPo article and other accounts of the deicing. For instance, this article in Hotline says that the company that deiced the plane is based in Fort Lauderdale -- not necessarily that the plane was deiced here. In addition, I contacted that company, Air Partner, a moment ago. A representative who called me back told me that Air Partner charters aircraft all over the world and though the represenative wouldn't say where the deicing of the Palin plane was performed, she did say "The charge is valid; we had really bad weather and had to deice the plane several times." The representative, who refused to give her name, said that the company's treatment of the Palin plane was "none of your business."
In addition, there are varying accounts of whether the Palin PAC paid for two deicings or if the one deicing was listed twice.
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