Huckabee Sanders Dropped $19K on a Lectern, Raising a Ruckus

Some are calling it 'PodiumGate,' though it's not a podium
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
Updated Oct 10, 2023 4:22 AM CDT
Sarah Huckabee Sanders' $19K Lectern Raises Eyebrows
FILE - Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks, Feb. 7, 2023, in Little Rock, Ark.   (Al Drago/Pool Photo via AP, File)

It's being called "PodiumGate," though technically it's LecternGate, because it was a lectern on which Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders spent no less than $19,029.25, according to the receipt posted on X last month by a liberal blogger and lawyer that set off the controversy. As the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports, things spiraled from there, and now one state senator is calling for a legislative audit, which Sanders says she welcomes. Among the questions floating around the strange purchase are why the lectern cost so much and why it was purchased from a Virginia-based events management firm with political ties to Sanders rather than from a manufacturer (similar lecterns can be found online for significantly less), the Arkansas Advocate reports.

Also not clear is why the state Republican Party didn't buy the lectern and donate it to Sanders. Instead, a state credit card was used (Sanders' communications director says this was an accounting error) and it was only after the purchase made headlines that the state GOP reimbursed the governor's office for the lectern. (A lectern, for those wondering why this shouldn't be called PodiumGate, is the thing you stand behind; a podium is the thing you stand on.) The CEO of one company selling a similar lectern for around $7,500 tells the Wall Street Journal that it's possible that if Sanders' version was customized enough, the cost could reach $19,000. The state's Legislative Joint Auditing Committee could decide this week whether to audit the purchase. (More Sarah Huckabee Sanders stories.)

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