Archive for Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Alaska funded Palin kids’ travel

October 22, 2008


— Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.

The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.

Alaska law does not specifically address expenses for a governor's children. The law allows for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.

As governor, Palin justified having the state pay for the travel of her daughters - Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7 - by noting on travel forms that the girls had been invited to attend or participate in events on the governor's schedule.

But some organizers of these events said they were surprised when the Palin children showed up uninvited, or said they agreed to a request by the governor to allow the children to attend.

Several other organizers said the children merely accompanied their mother and did not participate. The trips enabled Palin, whose main state office is in the capital of Juneau, to spend more time with her children.

State Finance Director Kim Garnero told The Associated Press she has not reviewed the Palins' travel expense forms, so she could not say whether the daughters' travel with their mother would meet the definition of official business.


Daytrader23 9 years, 7 months ago

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Bob_Keeshan 9 years, 7 months ago

I can only imagine the response on this board if it were revealed Governor Sebelius had done the same.$21,000 in only two years. Brilliant.

AjiDeGallina 9 years, 7 months ago

I think Palin is not up to the task of being a heart-beat away.Her family is in disorder, she has no experience and her thoughts are loony.That being said, I would prefer attacks be on her credibility, on her posiitions.I could care less if she got some per-diems while staying at her house or if her kids went on trips, I am more worried about how she can effect America with her politices...and I find those real issues to be frightening.But all candidates come with sin...Bad donors, bad friends, small errors or over payments here and there and really it means nothing...I want a debate on substantial issues, not trivial drama.

bad_dog 9 years, 7 months ago

ralph, I doubt that selling a state owned plane will prevent any governor from flying to sporting events. They'll just go commercial. To me, the question is whether there is enough state authorized business to justify the purchase and upkeep of an aircraft. If it makes economic sense to own one then do so. If not, go commercial like the rest of us. Due to the geographic dimensions of Alaska as well as its distance from the lower 48, it would seem they could have made a case to justify keeping their aircraft. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt on that issue. I'm not real enamored, however, with her 5 night stay in New York at $707 per night for she and Bristol (plus almost $1,400 in additional airfare for Bristol), in order to attend a 5 HOUR conference. To me, this just screams "junket" for both Sarah and Bristol.There are also questions whether these paid expenses were taxable income that was not reported on the Palin's returns.Here's a link to a more detailed version of the above article.

temperance 9 years, 7 months ago

beatrice - That's a great image. I'm picturing Stacy & Clinton throwing out half of her boot collection. It's a soothing thought. Did you think this question was as hilarious as I did?: "How much may Obama undo Bush's hard work the past eight years re-establishing our global military dominance?"wa huh?!? The US military has never been stretched so thin and our "global military dominance" has never been weaker. The largest terrorist attack on American soil occurred on Bush's watch. Bush's decisions have put us in debt to foreign nations for billions of dollars. He's shattered our reputation around the globe. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing Obama undo all that "hard work."

beatrice 9 years, 7 months ago

She is corrupt, and has abused her powers as governor. She is married to a secesionist who hates America - literally, and she constantly talks of small-town values but apparently doesn't think one should look or dress like they come from a small town. $150,000 from the RNC for a new wardrobe -- nice. Or, what Cindy McCain calls "half an outfit." Thank goodness this is all being discovered and will soon be over.

ralphralph 9 years, 7 months ago

Free tip: Want to be more productive?Take a look at the use of the Kansas Governor's luxury aircraft. Ask yourself, and your friends if you have some, why our Governor needs a plane. Can't she make her own way to the Jayhawk games. This is not a partisan jab, as I would expect Kansas will have governors from either party in the coming years, and that governor will be jetting off to ball games and such on our dime. Sell the plane.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 7 months ago

For Palin, the VP nomination is a win-win situation. Even if she loses the election, she's become a full-time wingnut celebrity, which is about the only thing she's really qualified for.

Jaylee 9 years, 7 months ago

to my understanding this is pretty standard practice in political office. kids are part of politics. she turned a lot of people off with it, but also endeared oodles with her soccer mom quotes and im sure the same is true with her having brought her children to a political surprise, and in all reality, there are infinite other issues more important than these monies' misallocation. my biggest complaint about the situation is that she ALWAYS AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALWAYS tries to play up what a presidential-worthy decision it was to have cut back on state travel expenses for the governor, the most often stated example being her selling the previous governor's personal jet.for all lacking skills in theory of deduction, it could be assumed that the money made selling the plane went, in theory, right back into the governor's travel fund. making that sarah palin staple statement a blatant lie.anyone think THIS is a bigger issue than the content of the article?i do.

staff04 9 years, 7 months ago

"Bush's hard work the past eight years re-establishing our global military dominance"When was it ever questioned prior to Bush, Tom?I don't think it has been questioned until we bumbled through the Middle East chasing boogeymen instead of going after the terrorists that attacked us.In the meantime, is military dominance more important than the respect of our worldwide neighbors? (Respect that prevented wars?)At any rate, if you want to debate this, maybe you should write another blog. This article is about Palin's questionable use of taxpayer dollars.On the subject, if the state allows it, this isn't news. If the state doesn't allow it and she manipulated reports to skirt the rules, then it is news.

bad_dog 9 years, 7 months ago

PapaB, I assume if you receive a "per diem" you are receiving a flat rate of reimbursement for each day you incur out of pocket expenses in the name of your employer. Whatever the arrangement with your employer, if they are providing you with X dollars per day or per meal, that is a benefit they provide to you and you are entitled to payment per those rules. If you spend less, you pocket the difference; spend more and it comes out of said pocket. Nothing wrong with that.While I can't address the nature of the agreement between you and your employer, I do know a little about incurring expenses in the performance of state business.As noted above, I do take exception to Palin's trip to NY; dragging Bristol along for a 5 hour conference and spending 5 nights in a $700 + per night hotel. Not only that, but add an additional $1,400 for Bristol's airfare. Bristol's attendance at this 5 hour conference wasn't essential to Gov. Palin's performance of her duties as a representative of Alaska, nor was their extended stay on the back of Alaska taxpayers. It's just wrong and she knew it as evidenced by her amendment of the expense forms by adding "First family invited" or whatever other self-serving BS she dreamed up. While there may not be a specific Alaskan law prohibiting taking children on official business, how is spending 5 nights in a NY hotel an expense incurred in the performance of offical state business, even though she did visit Mayor Bloomberg. That strikes me as token justification for an additional day, at best. It still doesn't justify the expense associated with bringing Bristol as an expenditure incurred in the course of performing official state business. If she wants to bring her kids along great. I have no problem with that as long as it doesn't intefere with the performance of her official duties. Using these functions as an opportunity to provide entertainment and mini vacations for her family at state expense is wrong. If she does receive reimbursement for these expenses, it appears taxation as income is a viable issue. Her conduct should be above reproach and avoid the appearance of any impropriety. It significantly fails that test IMHO.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 7 months ago

"Keep reaching! This woman scares the hell out of the left."She's scares the hell out of a lot of people on the right, too. Probably those with the cognitive skills to recognize that the job of president does take a minimum level of competence and qualifications, as the current resident amply demonstrates.

Fatty_McButterpants 9 years, 7 months ago

I think it is hilarious to see the Republicans trying to deflect & redirect. Palin stayed for FOUR NIGHTS at a luxury hotel in New York City, courtesy of the taxpayers, when she only had "official business" there for FIVE HOURS! That's wrong! Don't you know that? If your kid gets busted for cheating do you try and justify it because another kid did it as well?? You've gotta love flexible morals.

PapaB 9 years, 7 months ago

I have a confession. Sometimes I eat for less than my per diem and keep the difference on business trips. I also charge my company per diem for breakfast, but it's served for free at the hotel. I also intentionally drive my own car on business trips even though renting a car would be cheaper for my company, just so I can pocket the mileage money. It doesn't really bother me because it's all allowed. It does make a difference when everyone does it and there's no rule that implicitly denies the action. If everyone does something and no rules are placed against it, then I have no problem with it. If the state of Alaska believed it was a big enough problem, their legislative branch would have made some rules against it.

Confrontation 9 years, 7 months ago

Palin should have child protective services looking into the treatment of her new baby. That poor kids is up at all hours of the night, just so mommy can show it off to her anti-woman buddies.

beawolf 9 years, 7 months ago

She never assumed her "travel" expenses would come under scrutiny. Like many politicians, she was trying to dip into the taxpayers pocketbooks as much as she could.

feeble 9 years, 7 months ago

Jaylee (Anonymous) says:"to my understanding this is pretty standard practice in political office."=================================Then why try and cover it up? Isn't transparency a watchword in today's politics? From the story: "Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business."She had records altered to conceal the nature of her travel and her families involvement in that travel. Honestly, I feel bad for Alaska. Between Stevens and Palin, Alaska's dirty laundry is in the open for all to see.However, I think this story pales in comparison to the story released by the AP yesterday on Palin's real energy policy: "send US resources overseas"."The Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate has pushed the federal government to allow a liquefied natural gas plant to continue exporting to Asia - the only such plant in the United States that sends the product overseas.""If America is really so short of energy that we need to drill in national wildlife refuges and other sensitive areas, why should energy supplies, sitting in U.S. terminals, be sent back out of the country simply because these energy companies can get a higher price from a foreign buyer?" Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said. aside from Alaska, there is no domestic production.So while the United States imported 771 billion cubic feet of natural gas last year from Trinidad and Tobago, Algeria, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Qatar, Alaska is expected to export 100 billion cubic feet to Asia over the next two years." reason is Alaska gets to tax those exports, so Alaska grows fat while the lower 48 go cold. Alaska then cuts checks to all citizens out of the Alaska Permanent Fund, including the Palins.

beatrice 9 years, 7 months ago

"Isn't that even more disturbing that we have to stand by and twittle our thumbs while he fritters away at what to do about a global crisis."Imagining things that haven't even happened. Funny. I'll bet you that during an international crisis, he won't sit and read "My Pet Goat." Why didn't Sarah Palin do her wardrobe shopping at Wal-Mart, like everyone else in small-town "real" America? I'll bet she could have gotten just as many outfits, and probably saved $146,000. I can imagine the shopping spree. The What Not to Wear people were there, saying "No, Sarah! Put the camoflauge jacket down. You really don't need one for every day of the week."

sdinges 9 years, 7 months ago

There are a lot of a shenanigans going on with politicians in our country. Why is it that people only care when the news is talking about someone from the party they don't support?It's standard for a sitting president to bill the tax payers for his trips to support candidates around the country. It's standard for a governor to have an expensive private jet and invite all his/her friends to sporting events in it. It's standard to bill the state for a spa vacation with your daughter. It's standard to load down a financial bail out with pork.It's standard to waste our money, then claim there's not enough. That does not make it ok. For anyone. Stop trying to justify it and recognize it for what it is - robbery.

sdinges 9 years, 7 months ago

Beatrice - I'd like to point out that Cindy McCain does not bill the state for anything. What she does with her own money is her own business. It really has nothing to do with this topic.

beatrice 9 years, 7 months ago

Tom, are you suggesting that McCain isn't using a plane to get around? Please. He and Cindy used a plane to get around Arizona -- "the only way to get around the state," as I recall Cindy saying. You are just upset that Obama found a way to get around the big advantage the Republicans always have because of their ability to use GOP funds in paying for ads, which run much deeper than Dem party funds (you can decide if this is because of the GOP ties to lobbyist or not). Either way, Obama was able to level the playing field by not taking public funds. temp, on the question of "How much may Obama undo Bush's hard work ..." hopefully the answer is, completely.Why must Palin shop in big cities if she thinks big cities aren't part of the "real America"? I think Cindy McCain is a bad influence on her.

black_butterfly 9 years, 7 months ago

Sarah Palin is just plain tacky. Since when is a red leather jacket (reminiscent of Michael Jackson's thriller jacket) and tight black skirt appropriate for any woman her age, let alone a vice president? Is this really who we want running our country? John McCain doesn't look like he has more than two or three good years left. If Palin is left to run this country, all of you who are supporting McCain/Palin will suffer just like everyone else because you are not in the right income bracket! What is Palin going to do for the country if she is left to run it? She would rather spend more time putting down Obama than talking about the republican platform. She is so wrong on so many levels. Some of you are so against Obama that you would rather see the country sink even further down than see him as president. It's sad. It's suicidal. And for those of you making this about race, Obama's mother is a Caucasian woman, so he represents both races, not just one. Stop letting race get in the way of your clear thinking. Obama is not about helping a certain race of people, he is for ALL people. If McCain was the best candidate for the job I would be voting for him. McCain is not a bad person (although he spent more time during the debates trying to discredit Obama than addressing the questions presented to him), he's just not the best person for the job (of the two), plain and simple. The fact that Sarah Palin is his running mate says volumes about his judgment. Mrs. McCain and Mrs. Obama are both classy, respectful looking women. Sarah Palin just doesn't get it. She is corrupt, dishonest, has questionable parenting skills and should NOT be the next vice president!

Tony Holladay 9 years, 7 months ago

Sometimes it hard to find a sitter and you just have to take the kids. :)

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