Turns out Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wasn't the only candidate with donor-financed duds.
At least five candidates used campaign money for clothing, according to a complaint that a watchdog group filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics said the campaigns of Democratic Reps. Loretta Sanchez of California and Rob Andrews of New Jersey, Republican candidates Bill Dew of Utah and William Breazeale of North Carolina and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr each spent hundreds of dollars on clothing.
The group says that violates a ban on personal use of campaign money. Earlier, the group filed a complaint against the Republican National Committee for buying tens of thousands of dollars worth of clothing for Palin, the party's vice presidential nominee. The RNC and Palin have said they did nothing wrong and that all the apparel and accessories were being returned.
CREW's review of campaign finance reports found Dew's campaign spending $1,089 on clothing for him at Men's Wearhouse; Sanchez's campaign spending about $189 on "meeting clothing" for Sanchez and $145 on clothing for an aide; Breazeale's campaign purchasing $1,000 in clothing for Breazeale at a men's store in North Carolina; and $954 in clothing purchased by Andrews' campaign after Andrews' luggage was lost. Barr aide Andrew MacPherson received a $500 clothing allowance from Barr's campaign, a filing with the FEC shows.
Andrews' luggage was lost by an airline in June 2007 while Andrews was traveling to give a speech, spokesman Fran Tagmire said.
"Because he had to dress for his speech immediately, he had to purchase an entirely new set of clothes," Tagmire said in a written statement. "The campaign credit card used to pay for the clothing was reimbursed in total by the airline, which wrote a check for $952.04 to the Congressman on July 20, 2007. The Congressman then endorsed the check over to the campaign account on July 20, 2007. Thus, the campaign incurred no expense for the clothing."
Dew said he wasn't aware he had spent campaign money on clothing until he was contacted Tuesday by The Associated Press and checked with his family.
"I don't remember buying any clothing unless my daughter bought me some ties and charged it to the campaign," said Dew, a former home builder. "I used over $500,000 of my own money on this campaign. ... I don't see anything wrong with using my own money to use on personal things." Dew also accepted contributions to his campaign.
A Barr spokesman said the campaign did nothing wrong. "It was an appropriate expense associated with the campaign," said Russ Verney, Barr's campaign manager.
Spokespeople for Sanchez and Breazeale did not immediately respond to AP's requests for comment. Sanchez and Andrews won re-election last month. Barr, Breazeale and Dew lost their races.