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Sarah Palin’s PAC raises just over $1.6 million

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Ryan J. Foley AP Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin greets a child in downtown Pella, Iowa before attending the first public screening of "The Undefeated," a documentary about her rise in politics. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin raised just over $1.6 million in the first half of 2011 through her political action committee, SarahPAC, an amount that suggests she has not ramped up her fundraising for a presidential campaign.

Palin has also spent about $1.5 million so far this year, mostly on political consultants, travel and direct mail, ending up with $1.4 million on hand.

Because she is not a candidate, Palin can file disclosure forms bi-annually rather than quarterly. PAC contribution limits also are twice as high as candidate contribution limits — $5,000 instead of $2,500.

The money was raised for her political action committee, so it could not be used in the 2012 presidential race should Palin run. It’s more a measure of supporter enthusiasm and political clout.

So does $1.6 million say anything about her political ambitions or viability? Not really.

SarahPAC raised $3 million in 2010. In 2009, Palin raised about $2.1 million, but mostly in the six months after she resigned as governor. So her fundraising isn’t going down, but it’s not increasing in a way that would suggest she has ramped up her operation in preparation for a campaign.

Palin has yet to get very involved in any elections this cycle; she has donated $65,000 to thirteen House and Senate candidates. She also gave $18,700 to the Young America's Foundation. Also noteworthy: the contributions Palin made came on June 29th, the day before the books closed.

While the numbers aren’t bad, they are eclipsed by what some other Republican presidential candidates raised for their PACs in the first quarter of the year, before they shifted focus to campaign fundraising. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney raised $1.9 million for his Free and Strong America PAC in just the first quarter of 2012, and he gave $400,000 to various candidates and conservative causes in the first three months of the year. Rep. Ron Paul raised $1 million for his Liberty PAC in the first quarter. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) topped Romney in the first quarter with $2.2 million altogether — $500,000 for her PAC and $1.7 for her re-election campaign (money that can be used in the presidential race). She gave $13,500 to other candidates so far this year.

“We at Sarah PAC are very pleased and grateful for the tremendous support that Governor Palin receives from everywhere across our country,” Tim Crawford, treasurer for Sarah PAC said in a statement. “Sarah PAC more than doubled the amount we raised as compared to the same time period in 2009. We received more that 36,700 contributions from over 24,000 contributors.”

Palin has continued to hint at a possible 2012 campaign, recently telling Newsweek, “I believe that I can win a national election.”

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