The story about Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her very, very expensive podium is even shadier than we thought.
For starters, it may not even exist at all!
Yep! Read on…
Last month, the Arkansas governor attracted unwanted attention when she called a special session to overhaul the state’s public records laws. That prompted an enterprising political blogger, Matt Campbell, to delve into Sanders’ sketchy behavior.
After doing some digging, Campbell found state records that show Arkansas purchased a nearly $20,000 podium ($19,029.25, to be exact) just in time for Sanders’ taxpayer-funded trip to Europe this summer.
Campbell’s bewildering discovery put the governor’s office on defense. Sanders’ spokeswoman says the Republican Party of Arkansas used private inaugural funds to reimburse the state, even though the timing doesn’t add up. The state wasn’t reimbursed until mid-September, despite the podium being purchased in June.
While the timeline raises suspicion, newly reported details about the podium purchase indicates there was some real nefarious dealing going on. An anonymous whistleblower claims Sanders’ office improperly altered and withheld public records regarding her spending.
Those records show the podium wasn’t delivered for months. A company called Beckett Events LLC billed Arkansas for the lectern, right around the time Sanders jetted off to Europe for a supposed trade mission.
As it turns out, Beckett Events’ founder, Victoria Beckett, is one of Sanders’ longtime advisors. Social media posts show Beckett and her business partner, Hannah Stone, overlapped with Sanders in France last summer.
That’s fueled speculation that Sanders didn’t spend almost $20,000 on a podium; but rather, a European trip for her and a couple of powerful friends.
Adding to the mystery, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was granted access to the podium in question…which looks very basic.
“You can get the same thing online for a few thousand dollars, so the huge price tag Beckett Events LLC charged the state of Arkansas remains a mystery,” writes the Arkansas Times.
That feeling when even your best-case scenario is that you paid $19k for something you could have gotten on Amazon for less than $4k. pic.twitter.com/LAnEKxjYxC— Matt Campbell (@BlueHogReport) September 26, 2023
Is it like…full of cocaine— Bryn Donovan – Author (@BrynDonovan) September 27, 2023
It’s ugly… looks like a $300 lectern to me.— C.W. Lambert (@InsideTheBig12) September 26, 2023
So what happened here? Did Sanders really treat herself to a taxpayer-funded European vacay, and then attempt to cover up her brazen misdeeds with a fake podium?
Sadly, we may never know for sure. Her travel records are now off-limits for journalists, thanks to new changes in Arkansas’ public records laws.
But on second thought, that might tell us all we need to know.
Love that craftsmanship. pic.twitter.com/y5wlA390EK— Jeff Sobotka (@realjeffmilner) September 26, 2023
Oh, ew. This isn’t a $20,000 lectern. Someone’s either been swindled out of taxpayer money or someone’s lying. I know what my bet is on.— mother nature is a serial killer 😷🏳️🌈 (@buckycapped) September 26, 2023
This doesn’t even look as nice as the example model that they could have purchased for $6000 less. There’s no world where this thing cost $18,475 on its own. pic.twitter.com/WVBAZ2DSuY— Matt Campbell (@BlueHogReport) September 26, 2023
You have got to be kidding me.— Jay Orsi (@JayOrsi) September 26, 2023