The people at SarahPac are now working hard to stop a private citizen and Sarah Palin supporter from raising money for her defense.
In just a few days the "official" Sarah Palin Legal Defense Fund was to be unveiled. Or as a spokesperson told me on April 5, "A legal defense fund should be up and running soon so keep your eyes out. I don't have the details to reveal now. The fund is a grassroots effort led by Alaskans, and many Alaskans and Americans have contacted us to inquire how they can assist."
But a similar "grassroots effort" led by a Texan beat her to it.
Clayton Paslay, a Texas businessman, did everything right. He contacted Sarah Palin's attorney, he filed all of the proper papers with the federal government and he announced his Sarah Palin Defense Fund yesterday with a new website.
This is what a spokesperson from the SarahPac told me about the fund yesterday -
"It is legal. It's just not the official one. Please tell people that the official one is soon to come. Again, we do not know that donors will comply with our terms and guidelines which are very strict - we may end up needing to contact every single donor to ask the questions that we will be asking. However, we appreciate any and all assistance! Thank you."
Today that same spokesperson is telling the Associated Press and other media outlets that it is not a legal defense fund and Sarah Palin can't accept the money.
Here is the statement from Meghan Stapleton of SarahPac:
"The continuing generosity of Alaskans and Americans is overwhelming as many reach out to assist Governor Sarah Palin and her family with their legal bills.
However, the official legal defense fund for Governor Sarah Palin has not been formed and the Governor cannot accept monies for those obligations from any other entity than the one in formation. Numerous federal and state laws to need to be abided by and the official legal defense fund will have very strict donation guidelines.
We thank everyone interested in helping the Governor. The best way to assist her will be through this official fund which will launch later this month."
Palin Family Spokesperson
Poor Clayton Paslay, a good man who is just trying to do the right things and gets caught in a buzz saw. Clayton never intended to give the money to Sarah Palin. He wanted to pay the attorney directly, for tax reasons.
The thing that surprises Mr. Paslay the most is that no one from SarahPac ever contacted him. When he tried to contact someone from SarahPac, they wouldn't respond.
Paslay tells me he did get a call from an attorney who identified himself as being in the "Sarah Palin camp" who insisted he take the site down. But since there was no way of confirming that the attorney was really affiliated with Sarah Palin, Clayton said "thanks, but no thanks."
Sarah Palin's personal attorney, Thomas Van Flein, told Clayton Paslay today that a trust fund will be set up in Alaska for the "official" defense fund and Palsay said, "Fine. I'll just send the money I collect to the trust fund." The response was - "we'll get back to you on that."
So now Clayton Paslay is in limbo, but he is not taking his site down. "I will work things out with SarahPac." Paslay says. "But as of right now, no one has contacted me from that orginization."
It is starting to feel like the SarahPac wants to quash this poor guys efforts for for all of the wrong reasons.
I hope it all works out for Clayton Paslay, whose heart was in the right place, but when it comes to politics and money - that's not good enough sometimes.
Says Clayton, "I still support Sarah Palin though. I think she is getting a raw deal and want to help."
And now it looks like Clayton Paslay is getting a raw deal too.
*****UPDATE***** Meghan Stapleton and Clayton Paslay have finall talked but nothing really was resolved. Clayton is keeping his site up ad will be on MSNBC tomorrow at 9:15. In the meantime, Thomas Van Flein has sent an email to Paslay saying he can't use Sarah Palin's likeness for his site. Is this really happening?