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By W. Gardner Selby August 21, 2014

Sarah Palin recaps Rosemary Lehmberg's purchase of 70-plus bottles of vodka over 15 months

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin singled out the Democratic district attorney of Travis County after a special grand jury in the county indicted Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

In an Aug. 17, 2014, commentary on the Fox News website, Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, noted the local official, Rosemary Lehmberg, previously "was busted for drunk driving with an open bottle of vodka in her car after a 911 call reported her endangering others while swerving erratically on the road. The D.A. was smashed -- three times over the legal limit," Palin wrote. "She was a nut job while in custody," Palin said, "disgracefully threatening law enforcement officials and lashing out violently. The D.A. had to be physically restrained. It was all caught on tape.

"The extent of the D.A.'s serious drinking problem was uncovered, evidence included her purchase of 72 bottles of vodka in just one store alone, in just over a year," Palin wrote. "It's reasonable to believe she imbibed elsewhere, too."

We separately checked Palin’s claim in her commentary that Perry was indicted by a grand jury convened by the Travis County district attorney’s office under Lehmberg, finding the statement without factual footing.

And was Palin right that Lehmberg, who has said she plans to serve out her term through 2016, bought six dozen bottles of vodka in a little over 12 months?

That shopping is reflected in documents submitted as part of a proceeding culminating in a judge’s December 2013 ruling that Lehmberg could remain in her position. According to an Austin American-Statesman news story posted online Dec. 7, 2013, the Travis County attorney, David Escamilla, submitted relevant receipts during the civil trial over whether Lehmberg must step down. The receipts, the story said, indicated Lehmberg bought about 75 bottles of vodka in a 15-month period ending in April 2013; no other details about the purchases were available, the story said.

Online searching led us to a document titled "Business Records Affidavit," filed by Escamilla on Sept. 24, 2013, and put online by Austin’s Channel 42, KEYE-TV. According to the affidavit, Kyle Baker, chief financial officer of Twin Liquors, which has multiple outlets, swore that provided credit-card receipts were duplicates of original records. By our count, the receipts, many of them listing Lehmberg as the purchaser, indicate 74 bottles of vodka were bought with a credit card in 38 stops at eight Twin Liquors stores from Jan. 11, 2012, through April 2, 2013. According to the receipts, most of the bottles contained 1.75 liters.

Featured Fact-check

We let the district attorney’s office know about our look at this claim and fielded no comment.

Our ruling

Palin said the Travis County district attorney purchased "72 bottles of vodka in just one store alone, in just over a year."

Receipts indicate Lehmberg bought 74 bottles of vodka at several stores over about 15 months through April 2, 2013.

We rate Palin’s claim, which doesn’t have anything significant missing, True.

TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.

Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.

Our Sources

Commentary by Sarah Palin, "Gov. Perry indicted: Everything's big in Texas, even this B.S.," Fox News, Aug. 17, 2014

News stories, "Prosecutor on the defense: Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg goes on trial for her job," Austin American-Statesman, posted online Dec. 7, 2013;

"Judge allows Rosemary Lehmberg to remain district attorney," Dec. 11, 2013 (accessed Aug. 20, 2014)

Document, "Business Records Affidavit," filed by David Escamilla, Travis County attorney, put online by Austin’s Channel 42, KEYE-TV

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Sarah Palin recaps Rosemary Lehmberg's purchase of 70-plus bottles of vodka over 15 months

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