WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin, the darling of the conservative Tea Party, has raised $1.6 million in campaign donations even though she has not yet said she will run for president and has already spent a huge chunk of the funds, documents showed.
The Federal Election Commission report released Thursday showed the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, had taken in $1.6 million in contributions in the first half of 2011.
But she had also spent $1.5 million, leaving her an estimated $1.4 million remaining in the coffers of her “SarahPAC” committee.
The fundraising is dwarfed by President Barack Obama’s $86 million haul and Republican front-runner Mitt Romney’s $18.25 million over the same period.
Palin’s expenses included $5,794 for a trip to Israel and $5,029 for security during the trip. She also spent $13,708 on her “One Nation” bus tour this year.
Many Republicans are waiting to see whether Palin will officially throw her hat into the ring for the 2012 White House race, challenging Democrat Obama.
A poll this week, put Palin in third place among Republican presidential contenders behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and ultraconservative Minnesota lawmaker Michele Bachmann.