When most families go on a summer vacation, they don’t have a political-action committee to pay the bills.Palin's ability to convert PAC donations to personal use is an incentive for her to avoid being considered a candidate for the presidency. Even though use of the PAC's funds for personal use may be legal, doing so creates an appearance of impropriety.
Not so for Sarah Palin, the former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor, who has joined her husband, children and parents in a widely publicized bus tour of East Coast historic sites this week.
The trip appears to be part vacation, part political rally and part reality show. Fuel, lodging and other expenses are being paid for by SarahPAC, Palin’s political committee, which is also soliciting donations online in connection with the journey. ...
... The arrangement is perfectly legal, campaign-finance experts say. SarahPAC is set up as an unconnected PAC, meaning that the usual restrictions on candidate committees don’t apply. Regular candidate committees, for example, are barred from converting campaign money to personal use.
As a result, unless Palin decides to formally explore a possible presidential run, she is free to spend the money raised by SarahPAC for “any lawful purpose” under federal law, experts said. That means it doesn’t matter whether the trip is a holiday, a political event or something in between. (emphasis added)
“Not only can she use SarahPAC for a family vacation, she could use it for her home mortgage payments or anything else she wants,” said Paul S. Ryan, associate legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, an advocacy group focused on election laws. (emphasis added) ...
Sarah Palin's supporters are fond of saying, "She's just like us," or "She's one of us," but how are their vacations paid for?
Eggen's article has more information than what has been excerpted, above; for example, the IRS may consider the PAC's expenditures for personal use to be part of Palin's personal income. If so, she would have to pay taxes on that income.
Update: The IRS has a "Whistleblower - Informant" award.
Update: It is a vacation! '“Thanks for ruining our vacation,” she [Piper Palin] said to our [TIME Magazine's ] photographer.'
Update: The Washington Post also has Piper Palin's comment.