We won't know the final tally on the Republican Party's Sarah Palin fund-raiser until the party files its financial reports. But I did a little checkup on some numbers going around in various reports.
My source had said the facilities charge would be in the $50,000 range. A Verizon Arena spokesman said its charges probably would be roughly $35,000 -- $20,000 for the floor and bowl rental (it would have been $13,000 just for the floor) and most of the balance for the catered meal. But that won't be the whole charge for putting on the event at Verizon, the spokesman said. Lighting, sound and staging (and they were significant at the star-spangled affair) were done by outside contractors. The event was advertised on radio and ticket brokers will take a charge for ticket sales. My source said Palin was paid $75,000 as a speaking fee and an unspecified amount for charter jet transportation and other expenses.
Previously, the RPA said it sold 300 $500 reception tickets (good for a couple's attendance) and 800 $175 dinner tickets. Some people bought tickets to both events. Those sales were handled by the Republican Party of Arkansas. General admission seats to watch the event ($20 to $65) were sold through Ticketmaster and all tickets used last night were run through a scanner. The spokesman said 1,255 general admission tickets were counted by scanner. So that would seem to put total attendance somewhere around 2,500 to 2,600, unless I"m missing something, not the 5,000 mentioned in various press accounts. RPA Chairman Doyle Webb, who put the gate receipts at $400,000, still hasn't returned my call.
UPDATE: Chase Dugger, Republican Party executive director, did return my call. He says my attendance and spending numbers are pretty close to the mark (except that he is still prohibited by contract from discussing Palin's fee.) Dugger, who noted that Palin outdrew Hillary Clinton's appearance for the state Democratic Party, said the party expects revenue of about $400,000 and expenditures of about $250,000, for a net of $150,000. No, this net doesn't include the cost of that recent payment authorized by the GOP Executive Committee for Party Chairman Doyle Webb. Dugger wouldn't disclose details of that, but he said it should not be characterized as a pay raise or bonus. Rather, it was a payment to make up for reduced pay to Webb during a period when party finances were stretched, he said. He also said the payment was less than the $90,000 mentioned to me by my source.
In other news, Dugger said the party is committed to putting all legislative candidate filing fees this year in a fund strictly to spend on those races. You may recall some controversy in the Huckabee era about spending of election year funds. I'm still thinking the GOP is heading for some substantial legislative pickups in 2010. "Imagine," said Dugger, "if the state Senate had 13 Republicans when it convened in 2011."