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The Numbers Behind Palin's Facebook Strategy

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, July 12 2010

One set of numbers jumps out from Sarah Palin's campaign finance reports, filed with the FEC last night, and that's some $22,000 paid by Sarah PAC over the last three months to the firm Aries Petra Consulting.

Why that's relevant: Aries Petra is helmed by Rebecca Mansour, described by Politico's Ken Vogel as "a Los Angeles screenwriter and political neophyte whose creation of the popular cheerleading blog Conservatives4Palin endeared her to Palin’s inner circle and led to her being hired to help manage Palin’s Internet presence, including her closely watched Facebook page."

Having Aries Petra on continued, fairly high-priced retainer -- the company got $6,000 a month from Palin's PAC in April and May for "Consulting Internet, Message," and $10,000 in June for "Grassroots/Communication Consulting" -- probably isn't going to do much to tamp down the rumors that it's Mansour really driving Palin's high profile on Facebook, where the former Governor's 1.8 million fans and long notes on foreign affairs, social policy, and legislative battles often get her much notice in the press. I haven't had any luck immediately tracking down Mansour for comment yet; Aries Petra doesn't seem to have a website.

Other major online expenses for Palin include $35,000 for "internet and credit card fundraising" over the last quarter to the Austin-based Upstream Communications, and $6,000 to Aristotle for software and fundraising compliance help.