The conservative Iowa Family Policy Center is trying to raise $100,000 to bring former Alaska governor Sarah Palin to speak at its banquet next month. But according to GOP leaders in the state, the move would “represent a striking departure from customary practice in the first-in-the-nation state” because most White House hopefuls have “paid their own way to boost their party and presidential ambitions.” Other conservative groups in the state say they would never pay Palin to come speak:
— “If somebody tells me they want me to pay an appearance fee, it tells me they’re not very serious about running for president,” said Ed Failor, Jr., president of Iowans for Tax Relief and an influential GOP insider.
— Steve Scheffler, the president of the Iowa Christian Alliance and a longtime GOP activist, said his organization would also never ante up. “We certainly wouldn’t do it, even if we had the money.”
— Tim Albrecht, spokesman for the conservative, Iowa-based American Future Fund, said his group “has a policy not to pay speakers to come to Iowa,” and, like Failor, hinted at what those guests get in return. “We are proud to host conservative leaders from across the country, providing them an audience across the state and nation to share their conservative vision,” Albrecht said.
The Iowa Family Policy Center insists that the $100,000 isn’t for a speaking fee, but “only to secure a venue, pay for lighting and promote the event.” Palin has not given any indication that she’ll attend anyway.