Opinion: A look at Sarah Palin, fundraiser


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As Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin starts her career on the national political stage -- and joins the frenzied chase for big-time bucks -- she brings a fundraising past to the table that is modest (to say the least).

Campaign finance reports show she raised $1.43 million from 2001 to 2006 -- less than what a winning race for a seat in the California state Assembly easily could cost.


She raised most of her total --$1.36 million -- in 2005 and 2006, when she was running for governor.

Palin has not raised money since becoming her state’s chief executive. Under Alaska law, she cannot troll for dollars until next May, and at that point only if she declares for reelection (though if all goes well for her in November, all that will be moot).

Since John McCain chose Palin as his vice presidential running mate, Times staff writer Ben Welsh, researcher Maloy Moore and data analyst Sandra Poindexter have been gathering data from the Alaska Public Offices Commission’s website. A review of her campaign finance reports shows her biggest single source of money has been the Republican Party: $75,000.

People involved in the fisheries industry — her husband is a commercial fisherman — have contributed at least $70,000.

People listing their business as real estate have donated $46,000. Attorneys accounted for at least $30,000, and lobbyists donated $9,800.

Palin, who favors opening a part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development (a move McCain opposes), has taken about $13,500 from people involved with oil firms.


Although she is a Republican, Palin has friends in organized labor. Unions and self-identified union members have donated $17,000 to her campaigns.

Two days before McCain named her as his running make, Palin attended an AFL-CIO convention in Alaska and signed legislation ...

... putting up $500 million in state money to help TransCanada Corp. research the possibility of a natural gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope, which could cost $30 billion and run 1,700 miles. The legislation includes guarantees of union jobs.

“We see eye-to-eye on a lot of stuff,” said Ron Axtell, vice president of a 1,500-member local of the Laborers Union that has donated to Palin and is in line to receive work on the pipeline. “She is an excellent pick. Most of the people in the state are shocked and pretty jubilant.”

Palin, who has made a practice of assailing Alaska’s political culture of corruption, took $5,000 from people affiliated with VECO Corp., the company at the center of the criminal inquiry of Sen. Ted Stevens, also a Republican.

Palin is not implicated in any wrongdoing in the case.

-- Dan Morain