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Palin Per Diem, Travel Expenses Scrutinized

POSTED: 09:08 AM ET, 09/ 9/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin used a government "per diem" allowance to charge the state for more than 300 nights spent at home (graphic) and spent another $43,490 on travel for her children and husband, The Post's James V. Grimaldi and Karl Vick report today.

Many of the trips (graphic) were to ferry her children and husband from their hometown of Wasilla to the state capital of Juneau, which is 600 miles away, The Post reported.

Palin's spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, said the expenses are not unusual, noting that each of Palin's five children could have claimed a per diem expense and that Palin often did not seek out reimbursement for meals.

Palin has spent far less on travel than her predecessor, former Gov. Frank Murkowski, who spent $463,000 on travel in 2006. Palin spent $93,000 last year, records show.

The GOP vice-presidential candidate has used her relatively cheap travel expenses (and her decision to try selling Murkowski's $2.7 million corporate jet on eBay) as a testament to her frugality. The New York Times noted, however, that the jet didn't sell on eBay and was later sold to an Alaskan businessman at a $600,000 loss.

By Derek Kravitz |  September 9, 2008; 9:08 AM ET Post Investigations
Previous: Michelle Obama's Hospital Job, Part III | Next: The Daily Read

Comments

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Surprise, surprise. Another corrupt republican talking one way, acting another.

Posted by: ched | September 9, 2008 9:35 AM

Does this mean she's corrupt, but less corrupt than Murkowski? Did he charge the state for travelling his family?

Posted by: SteveH | September 9, 2008 9:49 AM

Let's see her tax returns. Did she pay taxes on the extra "income"?

Posted by: interconti | September 9, 2008 9:52 AM

I don't know how legitimate claiming the per diem was but per diem is not income and is not taxable.

Posted by: Alan | September 9, 2008 9:57 AM

This woman has NOT been well vetted, and the more we learn, the more we need Obama to win. Should that not happen, God save America if McCain is elected (and let's hope he survives a term) -- Palin is that rare combination of being inexperienced...an idealogue...stubborn in her views...and dangerously out of touch with mainstream America.

Posted by: myles spicer | September 9, 2008 9:58 AM

I don't know enough about the per diem practices in AK to actually make a judgement yet but I do think selling the plane was a good move and so it sold at a loss, what plane or car sells for the original sticker price? So it did not sell on ebay, but it was posted on ebay. (no lie there) as for the per diem while home, I know from visiting a governor's mansion in SC many years ago they had a fancy chef, complete with servants, butler, etc. My guess would be the food was part of the deal too. So if in fact she is buying and cooking her own groceries and claiming a per diem its still saving the people of AK and lot of money. Obviously she is being much more frugal than her predecessor. Not sure how this makes her corrupt. Check into every governor's budget/expenses in the state and see what you will find.

Posted by: vicky | September 9, 2008 9:59 AM

In response to: "This woman has NOT been well vetted, and the more we learn, the more we need Obama to win," I must point out that Obama has been vetted and found to be nothing more than a Marxist race hustler. I fail to see how that qualifies him to be President of the United States.

Posted by: Barb | September 9, 2008 10:09 AM

This is nothing but the liberal media's love affair with Obama at work again.

These two rerporters might as well be on Obama's payroll. And their attacks won't work because the media has been largely discredited.

www.notwrightforamerica.com has some good posts on the real agenda of these leftie reporters.

Posted by: Gypsy Man | September 9, 2008 10:10 AM

Are we so desperate? This "corrupt" politician reduced travel expense compared to her predecessor by 80%...and that's a negative?

Posted by: Dan | September 9, 2008 10:10 AM

Only in LeftyLand could saving the taxpayers over $300,000 be evidence of corruption. Only in the hyperpartisan could this be considered bad behavior!

Posted by: Brooks A. Mick | September 9, 2008 10:13 AM

The Post's (and all news gatherers) is to put the information out there for the public to view. They have done so.

Given the information, if you find it damning, or find it irrelevant, that's fine. But, for pity's sake don't scream at the news people for gathering news.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 10:25 AM

This is pretty simple: How can you charge the state a per diem when you're staying in your own home? It looks like she charged the AK gov't $60 a day for putting her up in her own house. If it's not illegal, and it may not be, it's certainly unethical.

Posted by: SteveH | September 9, 2008 10:41 AM

the scrutiny she has been put under right off the bat is such a contrast to Obama. For instance he lied about his knowledge of Rev. Wright's views. He touted the man as his mentor and family friend and yet had no idea of his views, even though there were cds for sale of the speeches. Later he had to back down and change his story. I agree Palin has some "stuff" that she needs to talk about to the press, but none of it amounts to much and stories such as this show that the media is going to cling to anything they can to discredit this woman

Posted by: vicky | September 9, 2008 10:45 AM

Looks like this may be the Non Story of the year., But It does put Palin in a good light in a stormy media cycle. Has anyone else seen this story that Palin might be pregnant again? http://www.veeppeek.com

Posted by: Pezit | September 9, 2008 10:49 AM

Looks like the media and left-wing smear
merchants have a list of things that they
can possibly stretch into something
damning. They seem to roll one out just
about every day, get as much mileage out
of it as possible, then roll out the next
one.
Why hasn't the media put Obama under the
microscope? There's enough dirt in that
character's life to plant a garden in.

Posted by: TomW | September 9, 2008 10:55 AM

Regarding the sale price of the aircraft, someone might want to explain to Kravitz the concept of "depreciation." When he sells his car after owning it for a few years, does he really refer to that as selling it "at a loss"?

Posted by: Tom T. | September 9, 2008 10:56 AM

Yeah you forgot to ask about her scandals and her alledged affair. http://www.hotpres.com

Dont forget about those. Seems to me Hillary clinton didnt have nearly this much baggage.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 10:57 AM

the best question on this page is did she pay tax on this extra income. I suspect that may not have been done

Posted by: mick | September 9, 2008 11:24 AM

They have a home video of Palin talking bad about someone at http://www.mccanes.com

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 11:28 AM

Wait a minute... She was staying at her house 319 days out of the 20 months that she has been governor? So, for over half of her term, she was out of the office? When did she work? Will she be full-time if she's VP or will her calls be forwarded to Wasilla?

Sounds similar to George Bush and his record setting amount of vacation - just shy of 500 days.

More of the same.

Posted by: Norts on MN | September 9, 2008 11:32 AM

Has anyone seen where Palin couldnt even quote the Amendments, http://www.theveep.com

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 11:55 AM

This "investigation" was done under the auspices of the WP's investigative unit started by Bob Woodward of Watergate fame.

Now we have this "story". Seems like our standards for investigative journalism have sunk to new lows.

Mr. Woodward, they are not doing you proud.

Posted by: Bobby T. | September 9, 2008 12:07 PM

Hillary and Bill have scads of controversy swirling around them, way more damaging than this,its just business as usual for them and their colleagues.

I still contend most governors get food/meals prepared and purchased for them so if she is taking a $60 per diem in place of that she is saving tax payers a ton of money. To feed a family of 6 plus for $60/day is pretty good. I am sure if she had a chef and someone buying her food it would be at least 2 to 3 times the cost.

Posted by: vicky | September 9, 2008 12:36 PM

While this practice may be legal and allowable it is certainly shaky and doesn't indicate 'reform' simply because your predecessor was worse.

It was a personal choice to stay at home rather than in Juneau. She should not be paid for it, especially since she works 45 minutes away at a government office in Anchorage. (A typical commute in this area.)

I'm interested in knowing more about her husband sitting in on official business meetings.

Posted by: MrsJones | September 9, 2008 1:12 PM

So lets see if it is just a little corruption that is ok. Who knows what Palin would do if "God" told her it was ok and at this point we all know she talks to "God". Why is she is staying at arms length from real questioning? If somebody else did bad "stuff" that makes it ok. That logic astounds me! Is a corruption prone soccer mom the best this country can offer, even is she does wear lipstick.

Posted by: IronWoman | September 9, 2008 1:26 PM

What a surprise.. no not really! A woman who ran Wasilla into a debt of $20 million starting with NO debt, what are 312 nights of per diem charges on the taxpayers? Having been a moderate Republican, Sarah Palin helped to put me over the edge. So thank you for that - I really needed an extra push but Secret Sarah managed to do that within a week! Her divisive, arrogant and empty words are too much to handle for me and Obama has become a very attractive option to me. As for the media, I feel Sarah Palin has NOT been scrutinized by them AT ALL - how can she if the McCain campaign shields her greatness from national media. I'm not sure what I'll do in November but for sure I'm not supporting the ultimate anti-change, bad judgement ticket of John McCain & Sarah Palin! Right now I'm just very very very disappointed!

Posted by: Susan | September 9, 2008 1:36 PM

Are you people really outraged because she accepted legitimate reimbursement for her job according to the laws of the State of Alaska? Or are you just outraged that she has is better pay/benefits than you?

Would you personally give up $16,000 per year you were entitled to just to save tax payer money? If so, please write a check to the government to help pay off our debt.

She got rid of the governor's personal chef and private plane in exchange for flying coach and have her family cook for itself. You guys are outraged that she didn't cut more?

Have Obama or Biden ever once cut back their own perks or compensations even a little bit while in office? Maybe they have, but I have yet to hear of it.

Posted by: JS | September 9, 2008 1:58 PM

Keeping your head in the sand is a sound was to decide on Palin's qualifications. She has none. Would anyone in their right mind what this person to be next in line to be president and a world leader. She does espouse great hallow rhetoric. I want substance I have heard nothing of substance from her except attacks. She thinks like a child, if you continue to lie maybe Mom will forget the truth.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 2:25 PM

The purchase of the infamous "jet" was highly unpopular in Alaska and was one of the reasons Murkowski was the MOST unpopular Gov in AK history. The same goes for his other spending habits. The decision to sell although the right decision wasn't a brave or tough one to make. It was the decision Palin HAD to make. As for per diem. I don't know any state employee (other than the Gov apparently) who is allowed to claim per diem while staying at their own residence. If its so smart and cost effective why hasn't Palin pushed to make it policy? Maybe she'll want to work from home when she is VP. That would save money too.

Posted by: Alaskan | September 9, 2008 2:56 PM

This sounds like a big non-story. Depending on whether you like Palin or not, you can make the story sound any way you want. For example, if you are predisposed to slant the coverage against her, you would word the story exactly as the Post has done here.

Or, if you want to tell all of the facts, you'll explain that it was legal to claim per diem in her circumstance, and that overall, she still saved the state money. But, if you did that, you wouldn't have a hit piece, would you?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 3:00 PM

I charge my clients $20/day for mileage expenses and I sleep at home at night. We also expense a lot of food. It's allowed by the law and it isn't unethical. You can either itemize your expenses or charge per diem.

Spousal travel reimbursement is also legal. There are limits over which you are taxed at you marginal income tax rate for these travel expense, but it is often overlooked.

This is MOST LIKELY another baseless attempt at a smear. Keep trying, you'll find SOMETHING. Everybody has skeletons in their closet. Just apply the same scrutiny to your allies (Karl Barack Marx Obama) and your enemies (Palin), lest the American Public lose faith in the validity of your reporting.

As for criticizing Palin on her qualifications for the job: stop. If you're going to do it, apply the same standard to Big O. He has every bit as little experience and qualification to be Pres as Palin. At least Palin has run a large organization (city government, State government). It's ridiculous to call Obama qualified for President and Palin unqualified for VP. It's equally as ridiculous to say Palin is out of touch and Obama is not.

Posted by: RockyR | September 9, 2008 3:07 PM

Oh, yes, her per diem for working from home is a terrible scandal. From the WaPo (elsewhere--http://snipurl.com/wapo-palin-perdiem [www_washingtonpost_com] )

"The popular governor collected the per diem allowance from April 22, four days after the birth of her fifth child, until June 3, when she flew to Juneau for two days. Palin moved her family to the capital during the legislative session last year, but prefers to stay in Wasilla and drive 45 miles to Anchorage to a state office building where she conducts most of her business, aides have said."

So, after Trig was born she worked from home instead of soaking the people of Alaska for a non-working governor while on maternity leave, Big, Stinking. Deal.

Most of the context of the Palin travel/per diem expense claims can be found in the WaPo article cited above, but one has to read a few hundred words beyond the lede to find them, and thagt, mof course, is terra incognito the vast population of subliterate America will rarely venture into.

Posted by: David | September 9, 2008 3:17 PM

Good Grief! Can't you folks please fact check anything????? If you read Alaska's State policies, Palin has followed them precisely. There is no scandal here at all. Get a grip, people!

Posted by: MM | September 9, 2008 3:21 PM

What would Jesus do?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 3:24 PM

Murkowski paid too much for the jet in the first place, so any reasonable sale price is going to be lower. That bit isn't Palin's fault, it is Murkowski's.

Posted by: Mike | September 9, 2008 3:26 PM

Anybody bother to read the Alaska per diem policy? Most of your comments represent ignorance.

Posted by: Steve | September 9, 2008 3:47 PM

Thank you Steve!

More non news that the liberal media will blow up for ratings!

Posted by: Dan | September 9, 2008 3:58 PM

Sarah Palin may be breaking US tax law. Let's see her tax returns!

Generally, amounts employers pay employees to reimburse them for substantiated business expenses are not subject to income tax or employment tax. For reimbursements for expenses for meals and other incidentals associated with business travel, employees get this exclusion for reimbursements for each day of travel up to the federal per diem rates without having to actually substantiate the amounts of the expenses. However, if an employer pays expense allowances that exceed the federal per diem rates, the excess amounts are subject to income tax and employment tax if they are not repaid to the employer, unless the employee actually substantiates all of the expenses covered by the per diem allowance.

IRS Link - http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=164208,00.html

Posted by: McClum | September 9, 2008 4:14 PM

The IRS has not ruled to my knowledge for per diem being paid to someone and their family who is actually being paid to live at home.

Posted by: McClum | September 9, 2008 4:21 PM

For those that discussed depreciation. "at a loss" means selling for less than the market price (which included depreciation). Hence, depreciation is not an issue.

Now, if the newspapers are using the term wrongly, that is a different story, however as the term is commonly used, selling at loss means selling below market price.

Posted by: sario | September 9, 2008 4:55 PM

Per diem is for the main stream America money you get to offset travel expense while traveling on business. I do not know of any business who pays you when you work at home then give you a per diam while you are working at home. The operative word, reimburse for travel expense. If you are determined to make it not fraud then Alaska needs serious help. The IRS should investigate just as it would any other citizen! Oh this a governor. What will she do if she gets to Washington? Oh I know just like George Bush think she can write her own laws, constitution, and an American religion.

Posted by: IronMike | September 9, 2008 5:23 PM

He has written his own laws, constitution, and established a religion!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 5:25 PM

I've approved expense reports for a living (for a Fortune 500) Here's how expenses are paid. If you don't pay extra, they don't pay extra. PERIOD. This is standard. Anything else doesn't fly, it's just like an insurance claim if you don't pay something or owe something, they don't pay (there's a whole clause w/wording that covers every angle). Palin did not actually pay out anything over and above her normal expenses and therefore should not have been allowed to claim expenses she did not incur. A mortgage on her house is something she would have paid regardless of her travel.

But here's the thing..........

People who are in the position to claim expenses are employed at a level that the employer has trust in the employee to put the company first and usually paid at a level that they do not need to cheat and will only do so out of greed or disregard. Palin's job goes beyond that in that she is employed to SERVE the state with integrity. People get fired everyday for fudging expense reports it's an area your job performance can't save you, companies take it very serious why shouldn't a state. It speaks to her sense of entitlement and judgment and it's not good.
I don't care what the old governor did.

Posted by: Lynn | September 9, 2008 5:40 PM

The WaPo says "taxpayers" were charged for per diem and travel. Maybe the reporters can be a bit clearer, since there's no State income tax, no State property tax, and no State sales tax, and no State excise taxes to the public, exactly who are the taxpayers referenced here?

Posted by: DP | September 9, 2008 5:47 PM

Wow, this is the one of the largest collections of ignorant comments I have seen. Only one of the above comments, bothered to look at the example which WaPo linked to in the article above. The example they provide is not an expense listed under lodging (i.e. she did not expense sleeping at home like she would a hotel).

There are a myriad of valid reasons for her to have spent $60 in her official capacity related to the funeral that is listed. If the above example is typical of the remaining "at home" expenses she was reimbursed for, this author is either lazy in not checking facts or intentionally slanting the facts to attempt to make Palin look bad. In either case, this journalist, Derek Kravitz, has just lost credibility with me.

Please people, if your going to argue your opinion, do it intelligently. Then I can respect you, even if I disagree.

Posted by: really? | September 9, 2008 5:53 PM

Posted by: OpenSecrets | September 9, 2008 6:04 PM

Posted by: OpenSecrets | September 9, 2008 6:04 PM

Posted by: OpenSecrets | September 9, 2008 6:04 PM

really? Take another look at the link, the first expense report says "Lodging-own residence" but then was changed (date unknown). If it is for anything other than per diem lodging then a receipt must follow indicating exactly what the expense is for. Hence per diem rates, these are used only for no muss no fuss expensing without question otherwise there are questions. There is no doubt the expense report was changed, it's in black and white. I find it wild those for McCain/Palin will excuse away ANYTHING even if it's in black and white...
I think you are being way too harsh. I guess we all see what we want, I'm just speaking as a professional in this area.

Posted by: Lynn | September 9, 2008 6:08 PM

Sarah Palin stated she put the jet on Ebay. Ebay is an auction site, if she did not get bids or not meet the reserve, then the item doesn't sell. It is not a lie to for her to say she put an item up on Ebay. Plenty of people put stuff up each day that doesn't sell. Truth is, she did put the item on Ebay, she just didn't sell it..ie no bidders and sold it another way. Another lie Obamaites! Look into ACORN, Look into Tony Rezko. "Show me your friends and I can tell what type of person you are." Obama is a scary person. Check out what he really believes. Check out ACORN and look at the settlements they've paid out for voter fraud. Check out Rezko and Obama's infamous land deal. It pays to have corrupt friends. I think Obama is the one who wasn't vetted!

Posted by: OlbermannSucks | September 9, 2008 6:38 PM

LOL so ole Mr Hair Plugs for men has charged the US Treasury $32,250 just this year for Amtrak tickets. His charge over the last 10 years has topped $200,000. This story on Sarah started out as a story on how she has saved the state tons of money by the Anchorage Daily News and like any good investigative left wing bottom feeding no story journalist the WP and API turn it on its head. Keep it up you are just making more and more undecided decide she is "The One"

Posted by: skykiing_239 | September 9, 2008 7:34 PM

Is total nonsense. If she had moved into
the Governors mansion full time, it would have clst Alaskans much more just in permissible moving allowance. A SAVINGS.

Next- daily meals for a family of 5 at the
in the Capital at home.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York by living at home saves NYC lts of money.

A nothing story except that she has saved the state lots of dollars.

Posted by: jim | September 9, 2008 8:23 PM

There's even more new stuff coming out. Find the MSNBC interview with Shannyn Moore of Alaska Progressive Radio (I think).

Legislators wore yellow buttons that read, "Where's Sarah?" This was because she wasn't there much, opting to spend most of her time in Anchorage rather than Juneau. Hmmm...smacks of 'Crawford,' eh?

And this per diem thing...jeez...and she's running on the "I fought corruption" platform. How many will continue to fall for this stuff. She has been full of it from the word go. What a shame and a sham.

Posted by: steve | September 9, 2008 8:36 PM

Oh, and the "chef" was never fired. She was 're-titled' but continued to cook for the kids. As Keith Olbermann put it, they're simply creating a story and hoping that if voters hear it enough, they'll believe it. It's shocking how much of it is either a twist of the truth or an out and out lie.

Posted by: steve | September 9, 2008 8:39 PM

I agree that Barack Obama may not be the most experienced candidate BUT he will bring a fresh new perspective. Do you really want a 72 yr old man to "change the country"? McCain is a war hero and an admirable man- but he needs a cabinet spot in the Obama/Biden whitehouse, not the presidency! I think there is a lot more hidden prejudice out there than anyone wants to admit and THAT may be the reason we end up with a McCain/Palin whitehouse. God help us all!

Posted by: evanj | September 9, 2008 8:43 PM

Oh, and what bothers me the most about the 'chef' thing is that she continued to cook for the kids! The kids! So, when they're listening to their mother give a speech, claiming to have fired the chef, they are hearing her lie and they know it. What do they think this is teaching them? Win at all costs? You are inherently 'better' than other people, so it's okay to cheat because you deserve it? No Mother of the Year Award here. Don't get me wrong. I'm a dad and am not perfect, BUT I do everything in my power to see that he treats people with respect and expects the same of others, is truthful, and sees every human for their innermost potential...it may not be a religion, but it sure seems better than whatever she's thinking.

Posted by: steve | September 9, 2008 8:45 PM

No, he's not the most experienced candidate, but we've all seen what 'experience' has done in the White House. He has something else - integrity, smarts, and good intentions. Aside from possible racially based voting decisions, which I don't think is THAT huge, is the fact that the McCain campaign continues to lie, both on the campaign trail and in commercials - over and over and over again...and people hear it. It really doesn't matter if it's true. I hear people saying the mantra, "She fought the old boys network. She fought corruption, she STOPPED the bridge to nowhere...etc." They believe it all at face value. And many don't care to know more. They've seen what they need to see and that's it. Depressing.

Posted by: steve | September 9, 2008 8:50 PM

Seems like she found a way to profit legally in office. She 'fired' the personal staff to get the money herself for transportation. Per Diem or *actual* expense? Usually one can profit on a per diem.

Posted by: KnitOne | September 9, 2008 8:56 PM

Did you hear the Rove now admits he's advising the McCain campaign? Like we didn't already know that. It's exactly like the last Bush race. Lies over and over and over, smiling all the way, and trying to butcher the opponent...with MORE LIES. At least when most Dem's (except for some extreme cases, of course) butcher someone, they use facts.

Posted by: steve | September 9, 2008 8:57 PM

A previous Governor made a ruling that no one may take a per diem when they're staying at a home they own.

Posted by: stevea | September 9, 2008 8:59 PM

And another thing...here we goooo...

Palin has pronounced nuclear, "nookyooler" twice that I've seen. I know she's like Bush, but jeez.

Posted by: steve | September 9, 2008 9:03 PM

Lynn,

I understand what you are saying, but my point is that there is no actual proof that the money was taken "for nights she spent at home" as the article states. I agree that the words "Lodging - Own Residence" were removed in the Amendment, but this does not mean it was sinister. It could have been an innocent mistake or just a description of her location.

I'm sure many will call me a Republican shill for assuming her innocence, but this just isn't really proof of anything. The line item also states she attended a funeral. It is only an assumption that she did not have other valid expenses to which her per diem could have applied while staying in her home town.

I also understand that a receipt must be attached if the expense is itemized, but the article did not say one was not attached nor does it say whether that would even be produced. This is just a non-issue unless you make a lot of assumptions. I certainly doubt any of the candidates would bring it up.

Posted by: really? | September 9, 2008 9:08 PM

The liberals are getting nervous, I love it,
sara Palin is great
We love her .

Posted by: Sue | September 9, 2008 9:23 PM

Surprise, surprise. Another corrupt republican talking one way, acting another.

Posted by: ched | September 9, 2008 9:35 AM

Surprise, suprise, another lefty ignoring real corruption in the Obama campaign to focus on imaginary "corruption". Clean up your own house before scrutinizing someone elses.

Posted by: Stink Mcheadcheese | September 9, 2008 10:07 PM

What I don't understand is how Republicans are able to get low and middle income people vote as if they are rich millionaires. It goes against logic when the Democrats simply want to raise taxes on those with income above $250,000 (aka those who can afford it)and provide policies so that the majority of the people in the country can prosper instead of suffer.

This spending issue is yet another example of how they don't practice what they preach when it comes to themselves.

Posted by: sam | September 9, 2008 10:26 PM

Do you guys really think she was properly vetted? Obama has been vetted daily, ever since he announced his candidancy. No real dirt was ever found, so they went to every person with a bone in a closet that he has spoken to. In my opinion, simply speaking/associating with Karl Rove by McCain/Palin should be an issue. After all, he barely escaped prison.

Posted by: marva | September 9, 2008 10:30 PM

While this raises serious questions about Gov. Palin's character and moral fitness for office, we should be careful not to rush to judgment in either direction. However, we do need to know whether Gov. Palin is a person we can trust not to put her self-interest ahead of our interests.

The arguments that this does not matter are silly. Especially irrelvant is whether Gov. Palin did or did not save money for the State overall. One of the oldest excuses of white collar criminals is that they made so much money for the company that they were entitled to steal some of it. This is about character, not money.

What DOES matter is the evidence of Gov. Palin's state of mind when accepting the "per diem" money. The best independent evidence is going to be the extent to which she paid taxes on the per diems.

If Gov. Palin honestly believed the per diems were a form of compensation only nominally related to travel expenses, she likely would have paid income tax on all such payments (both Juneau and Wassila). This would be the best case for exoneration.

However, if Gov. Palin knew full well that the per diems were for travel expenses (and thus that taking them was at least questionable while in Wassila), she will have failed to pay income tax on some or all of the money. The worst case scenario for her is if she failed to pay taxes on ANY of the per diems, because that is almost like a double fraud. By that I mean that (1) leaving the payments off the tax return would show that she knew the per diems were non-taxable travel payments, and yet she took them anyway even when in Wassila, and that (2) she failed to pay taxes on the Wassila "travel" money even though she was not entitled to exclude the income. She could not have done both of these things together without knowing she was committing fraud in taking the payments, signing her tax return, or both.

The ambiguous case will be if she paid taxes on the Wassila payments but not the Juneau payments. This would indicate that she was thinking about the difference between compensation and travel expenses, but somehow was able to rationalize taking travel expenses when not travelling, while following the income tax rules at the same time. This might fall short of fraud, but it is not a compelling case for honesty either. In the ambiguous case we would need more evidence to figure out what she was thinking by accepting this money, and the answer would always be viewed through a partisan lens.

For the sake of the country, I hope we have one of the two clear-cut scenarios (and thus, a pretty clear answer) rather than the ambiguous one.

Posted by: JLC | September 9, 2008 10:38 PM

McCain made a whopper of a mistake, to speed date this woman, propose and never check her seedy past? She doesn't believe in science, thinks the world is 5,000 years old, wants to control other women's bodies and what books are in the library, and she doesn't believe global warming exists. To top it off, she thinks God willed the war in Iraq, has a knocked up daughter showing her lack of control in her own household, and LIES every day about her original position on pork barrel spending and NOW we find out she charges the people in her own State for nights that she spends at her own home?

What does this say about the man who wants to lead our country? The 72 year old man with more risk of dying during his first term than any other president?

Even if Obama were straight out of college, he would be a better President with his intelligence than McCain would be with his kind of ineffective and corrupt track record or his fundamentalist little sidekick.

Posted by: independent | September 9, 2008 10:40 PM

take a look at the form, there is nothing under lodging, she didnt bill for staying at her own home, she billed MEALS and incidental expenses, do you think maybe traveling from her own home might cost her a little ( and a little LESS than staying in a hotel? Lets see , baby sitter, legitmate incidental expense of having to travel, meals on the road , yup, tools, suits being pressed, all this is legal. And a lot less than most people charge. nice try though you must be pretty desparate.

Posted by: duh | September 9, 2008 10:48 PM

It's like the Obama media stooge cartel is gathering in a dead-end canyon with an ample supply of kool-aid.

These guys make idiots of themselves and keep coming back for more.

In 12 days, Sarah Palin has neutered the entire Obama stooge cartel and has Obama grasping at straws while holding on to the ropes. And she's only given one speech repeated a few times. Amazing.

She is qualified to be vice-president and president. Within 12 days she has the entire Obama camp cooking their own gooses. Putin would be a pushover.

Posted by: JOHNinKANSAS | September 9, 2008 10:48 PM

She should be impeached, not elected. What a wield place alaska is. The father had sent his daughter to the senate. Now the governor claimed per diems at home.

Posted by: SH | September 9, 2008 10:53 PM

actually its the reporters that were not well vetted. while they try to imply that Sarah was billing for nights stayed at home, the per diem has nothing to do with lodging. Its meals and incidental expenses. Nothing unusual about being reimbursed for dinner when you are away from home during normal meal hours due to business requirements. Its really suprising they didnt bother to read the graphic they posted.

Posted by: jg tx | September 9, 2008 11:17 PM

Not only do we have each party trying to smear each other, we have the media forcing their way into the game. Why doesn't everyone just grow up here and start talking about how "great they are" for the country instead of attacking each other. We reprimand our own children for telling lies and using racial and sexist attacks. Why do we allow people running for leaders of the free world do it. I for one have higher expectations of people we hand such great power over to.

Posted by: Dave | September 9, 2008 11:26 PM

Once again the Washington Post trying to do another smear job. Not ever politician is Nixon and not everything is Watergate. This gets old.

Posted by: smb | September 9, 2008 11:30 PM

Is this the best the media can do on this woman? How about putting the same resources to Bill Ayers and Rev Wright. It only took the media months to figure that one out.

Posted by: Leo Grapevine, Tx | September 9, 2008 11:40 PM

What? Sarah CHOSE to have her work office hundreds of miles away from the state capitol where she has a governor's mansion in Juneau provided and occupies it. Then she has a private house in Wasilla where she CHOOSES to stay when she wants. Then she bills the taxpayers to pay her for staying in her own private house in Wassilla. Wow! Wish I had thought like Sarah when I worked for the government. I could have set up a sweet deal like this for my self and retired with a second pension in cash. I am so jealous. What a dummy I was. Yep, she sure is smart. But then she had her predecessor to emulate...only she sucked up a measly $93,000 instead of hundreds of thousands for which she labeled him corrupt. I guess that makes it OK. If I ever get caught in a scam in the future I will just say I did it less than my predecessor so he is the corrupt one not me. Man, I have got to keep my eyes open watching Sarah. If she can watch and learn, cut in on the action and then stab her teachers in the back to assume the mantle of squeaky clean...well, my goodness, Sarah, MY HERO!! Down with Cheney, I have just begun to worship at your feet and look for further instruction. I have hope...and here I thought I was going to die old and penniless. I have hope now. Thank you, thank you, Sarah. I was never going to go for that Obama anyway...I have known only one community organizer that was ever a worldwide success...they called him Jesus. He succeeded even though a more qualified and experienced governor cut short his career...they called him Pontius Pilate. Yes, indeedee , nothing like a highly qualified, experienced governor...I am forever your disciple Sarah, teach me, teach me.

Posted by: P. Jurado | September 9, 2008 11:40 PM

in response to "duh"

ok, let's pretend you are 100% right. I repost my statement without any reference to the controversial spending issue that this article was originally about. So now what? How do you now respond? You actually think it is desperate for people who are trying to protect all of us from the potential nighmare of this woman coming close to being the President to share thier opinions?


McCain made a whopper of a mistake, to speed date this woman, propose and never check her seedy past? She doesn't believe in science, thinks the world is 5,000 years old, wants to control other women's bodies and what books are in the library, and she doesn't believe global warming exists. To top it off, she thinks God willed the war in Iraq, has a knocked up daughter showing her lack of control in her own household, and LIES every day about her original position on pork barrel spending.

What does this say about the man who wants to lead our country? The 72 year old man with more risk of dying during his first term than any other president?

Even if Obama were straight out of college, he would be a better President with his intelligence than McCain would be with his kind of ineffective and corrupt track record or his fundamentalist little sidekick.

Posted by: independent | September 9, 2008 11:51 PM

Lets get to the facts, Alaska state capital the city of Juneau is only accessible by plane or boat yes its 600 miles from our largest city Anchorage. Also us Alaskans prefer to have our Governor in our major city so she can be accessible. our previous governor had the state pay for an apartment in anchorage. Lets not mention all the state legislators get per diem also including the dems that live in Juneau city. Palin is saving us alaskan taxpayers money by not living in the Juneau governor mansion. If this is all your crack team of sophisticated big city drive by media can come up with HA HA HA.

Posted by: Danny Wasilla Alaska | September 10, 2008 12:16 AM

Unbelievable. Are all of you really that dense?

To the person who stated "I approve expense reports for a living". Really? I find that hard to believe. Did you even look at the linked expense report? Did you notice that in the cost column there was no cost submitted for Lodging? Maybe because she was "at home"!!!! She is only collecting the Meals and Incidental Expenses rate which is perfectly acceptable, she is NOT BILLING FOR LODGING. In case you didn't know per diem is calculated by the addition of the lodging MAX allowance and the M&IE MAX allowance. The reason she entered it there is to tell you that. Obviously this also must have been too difficult for an AK government accountant to understand so she went back and removed it.

Posted by: Obamanation | September 10, 2008 12:44 AM

I guess that she just couldn't say: "Thanks, but no thanks" for getting a per diem to live at home. If she saves Alaska money by not staying at the Govenor's mansion, maybe it should be put on ebay.

Posted by: TunneyLeeKingLaw | September 10, 2008 1:00 AM

Alaskans have been pushing our representative to move our capitol Juneau city for years (witch can only be reached by plane or boat & is snowed in 1/2 the winter) to our most populated city, Anchorage. The Governors mansion just happens to be in Juneau city but 95% of Alaska's business is done in Anchorage city. Governor Palin is saving the taxpayers money by living in her own home and driving herself to work every day. Our legislative session in Alaska is only 90 days for lawmakers to spend in Juneau the rest of the time is spent back in Anchorage. The Governor is not going to stay hanging out in Juneau city away from the majority of people. This story is so full of holes its sunk.

Posted by: Danny Wasilla Alaska | September 10, 2008 1:42 AM

If the Post had done real journalistic research, instead of digging frantically for the liberals to find "dirt" on Governor Palin, they would have learned that she actually saved the state money by claiming the per diam by staying in Wasilla and not moving her family to Juneau during legislative sessions.
Which BTW you DUMB ASSES is ONLY assessable by AIR, those are 600 AIR miles!(or boat if you have 6 days)
Airfare to the capitol in this small market garners large fares. During the time span mentioned those fares ran anywhere between $600 round trip to $800! That would include paying for her family too. There is a Governors Mansion in Juneau that was able to also be mothballed and SAVE THE STATE EVEN MORE MONEY!
this Governor has more ethics in her little finger than this paper has collectively!

former Obama supporter

Posted by: Julie Feminist | September 10, 2008 2:22 AM

If the Post had done real journalistic research instead of digging frantically for the liberals to find "dirt" on Governor Palin. They would have learned that she actually saved the state money by claiming the per diam while staying in Wasilla and not moving her family to Juneau during legislative sessions, which BTW Juneau is ONLY assessable by AIR (weather permitting), those are 600 AIR miles!(or boat if you have a week)
Airfare to the capitol in this small market garners large fares during the time span mentioned ran anywhere between $600 round trip to $800
this Governor has more ethics in her little finger than this paper has collectively!

former obama supporter

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 2:28 AM

There are Alaskans who believe that the governor of the state should live and govern from the state capital. There is a governor's mansion in Juneau for her and her family, being paid for by the state, that she is choosing not to use. There is no legitimate reason for her to be living in and governing from Anchorage. She should not be charging the state to live in her own home. In addition, it's double dipping to then charge the state to transport her children to Juneau the few times she actually comes here.

Posted by: Barbara Mitchell | September 10, 2008 2:55 AM

She didn't charge for living in her own home! The Per Diem was for travel BETWEEN her home and her office in Anchorage.
Don't pretend you KNOW what most Alaskans believe.
Unless your an Alaskan which I can tell you are not(can you find it on the map? no it's not off the coast of California!)don't go around telling poeple what "Alaskans believe"
Alaskan voted to MOVE the capitol back in 1980 and want their Capitol.
here is what Alaskans believe
"There are Alaskans who believe"...
1) their Capitol on the road system
2) the Capitol should be accessible to the majority of the population.

Moose hunting
gun toting
hockey playing
Alaskan Girl Kickin' Ass

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 3:20 AM

There were some confusing points in the full article, which caused some of the posters to compare apples to oranges. Palin charged 312 days per diem during her 19 months in office while staying at home. 19 months is approximately 600 days, so she charged this per diem about half of her term. Later, the article says that she began charging just before the birth of her 5th son in April until June. There's something unclear there - that's only 60 days out of the 312 that she charged, and the source of much confusion above.
Looking at federal tax code, a person is not allowed to deduct traveling expenses to and from a primary job - only from job to job locations. I'm sure in the minds of most people, per diem should work the same way. After all, half of Los Angeles's population travels 45 miles one way to work each day, and I'm quite sure the majority are not paid a per diem travel allowance for that commute. So Wasilla to Anchorage back to Wasilla seems like a commute to me - not a valid traveling expense. Likewise, per diem is universally understood to be for expenses occurred when someone has to maintain two residences and is NOT living at home. I can understand Palin asking for per diem when she has to remain in Anchorage past business hours for meals or appearances related to her role as governor, at least as regards the cost of meals, because the implication of living in one's own home is that you will be able to eat at least some meals there.
Todd Palin's travel expenses to Alberta and some other locations for his own "stuff" seems an absolutely inexcusable use of those kinds of funds.
My overall impression is that there is a BIT of a story here - not a huge scandal, just another chink in the armor of someone who claims fiscal responsibility and frugality, but doesn't apply those rules to herself.

Posted by: greg | September 10, 2008 3:48 AM

What I found most disturbing about the graphic showing the reimbursement for home lodging was the line right under it. The event she attended was described as a "Black community meeting"

Posted by: ninasmom | September 10, 2008 6:06 AM

As an undecided voter, although voted Republican most of my life until 2004, I want to know more about someone who is in line to be president. What Palin got reimbursed for was legal, but doesn't make it ethical. Alas, all politicians are the same and take advantage of their position.

Posted by: Mary | September 10, 2008 6:31 AM

o.k. so because the last guy spent more....that makes it fine. so hitler killed more than ted bundey so ted did nothing wrong?

Obama was vetted by the party which nominated him and he made a choice for vp which was in the country's best interest (if God forbid something were to happen to a young Obama)

McSame's choice is just plain wrong! he knows he could potentially die of old age in office and he can't honestly say he thinks she is the very best person out there to step in. He put winning ahead of the security of our country....jerk!

Posted by: not-stupid | September 10, 2008 6:36 AM

When a person recieves a goverment position by whatever means that intitles the person to living quarters, this location then becomes the person's home base. If for whatever reason the person does not wish to exercise his/her right to those quarters, the cost of living and travelling to the home base now becomes a personal expense that is should not be covered by the goverment.

Posted by: C. Bisson | September 10, 2008 10:56 AM

Scandal scandal she saved Alaska 90% over her precedessor! Why not 99? Why not 100? Why wasn't she paying the state to work for them?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 12:01 PM

Governor Palin's selection has once again divided America as seen by these comments. I am a democrat but this post has nothing to do with the issues facing this country. I pray that we can move beyond this irrelevant discussion to have a discussion about the best path on the two most important issues of this election: (1) the war in Iraq and on terrorism more broadly; and (2) the economy. These bloggers do no favors for the American people when they raise these issues.

Posted by: Nick | September 10, 2008 12:24 PM

I just had a thought...would S. Palin put nukes on eBay to save money?

Posted by: IronMike | September 10, 2008 3:10 PM

Ok which one of you if you bought a 2006 Porshe would expect to sell it today 2008 for the same you bought it from. Of course, the plane was sold for less. To spin that any other way shows your true color -- its not about the truth its about getting Palin.

Posted by: J.Sunstone | September 10, 2008 3:12 PM

It was appraised. Do you know what that means. It was sold for LESS than the appraised price! Late means a loss.

Posted by: IronMike | September 10, 2008 3:37 PM

As much as she's made about driving her own vehicle for work, I wonder if anyone's looked into mileage reimbursements.

Many states provide a per-mile reimbursement, seperate and apart from per diem, for employees driving thier own private vehicles for official business. Depending on that rate, and present gas prices, this can result in a comely profit to the employee. (I've seen over $200 for a single day trip) If, on the other hand, an employee drives a state vehicle, there is no reimbursement. The employee only gets the actual out-of-pocket cost for the gas put into the vehicle, and more often then not, they charge the gas on a state credit card resulting in zero out-of-pocket.

If Sarah Palin was billing for mileage on her own car every single day, I'd say that she raked in a few thousand more than what is currently reported for the per-diems.

The fact that she was charging the state to provide $40k worth of meals and travel her husband and 5 kids is a disgrace. I can't even imagine that common carrier transportation could cost anywhere near that much.

I'd really like to know WHO she sold the state plane to.

Posted by: EJ | September 10, 2008 4:56 PM

@RockyR: "I charge my clients $20/day for mileage expenses and I sleep at home at night. We also expense a lot of food. It's allowed by the law and it isn't unethical. You can either itemize your expenses or charge per diem."

Do you also receive a SALARY from your clients? Benefits? A pension? That's what the difference is.

Posted by: EJ | September 10, 2008 5:03 PM

Every single public servant in this country knows that it is unethical and wrong to charge per diem for time spent at home. As a minimum, she has undertaken unethical actions. She probably filed false claims for payment from taxpayers. Why the press doesn't absolutely nail her on this is unbelievable. Any low level GS12 government employee caught doing this would be fired and jailed.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 7:19 PM

Sarah Palin is a joke. I can’t believe that people actually are defending her. Do you think I am stupid? Palin was chosen to be a disturbance to the real issues going on with McCain. Just like Obama said "you can put lip stick on a pig, but at the end of the day it’s still going to be a pig" Palin didn’t even give a TV interview yet. So you tell me what is she hiding and why is she so scared to sit down with a reporter. I will tell you why, she can’t answer the tough questions! Also do your research about her speech because everything that came out of her mouth at the RNC was a lie. So please give me a break when you defend this retard!

Posted by: NO McCain/No Palin | September 10, 2008 7:21 PM

What is more disturbing is why McCain found nothing wrong with this behavior. So much for the BS claim about being a maverick and reformer. Same old right wing MO, say one thing but do another.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 7:22 PM

Make no mistake, a vote for McCain means that Sarah Palin will be president. McCain's grandfather died at 61, his father died at 70. McBush has had 8 recurrences of cancer. He's on borrowed time already.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 10, 2008 7:24 PM

Sarah may have been entitled to the per diem for staying at home...my understanding is that they follow the same federal tax code in AK, where payments to stay at home are reportable as additional compensation rather than an excludable business expense. I would like to know how much additional income she reported and if she did not report additional compensation income what is her position and the State of AK's position for excluding the amounts from her W-2?

Posted by: CPA | September 10, 2008 9:18 PM

Palin is as deceitful and corrupt as McBush. They are all one of the same. She is not qualified to be VP of USA and it is obvious after the republicans have somehow kept her from "sounding stupid" by keeping the press away. It will be "oh happy day" when she reveals the real "incompetent" Wasillabilly during the Joe Biden debate regarding foreign policy.

Posted by: Ashley | September 10, 2008 11:56 PM

Oh by the way, does she wear lipstick ???

Posted by: Awinegarten | September 10, 2008 11:59 PM

Looks like we are seeing it again - stick it ot the tax payers to feather a politicians personal nest. Lets hope she doesn't end up in DC the national debt will grow... we can't afford her.

Posted by: Janie | September 11, 2008 12:21 AM

As a union guy, this appears pretty fireable, but we need more facts. To Let me explain.

To the initial defense, "she was saving money compared with Murkowski," the comparison is hardly apt. I mean, he's a professional crook, this looks amateur.

To the substance of the issue - M&I expenses while traveling on government business in Alaska.
See the Alaska Administrative Manual, Section 60.250 at http://fin.admin.state.ak.us/dof/ak_admin_manual/resource/60t.pdf

In it, you will find on page 29, "A traveler must be in travel status at least three consecutive hours during a meal period to be entitled to the M&IE for that meal."

Additionally, for partial travel days, Alaska state employees traveling for 3 or more hours during breakfast are entitled to one M&I rate; for lunch, another; and for dinner, the full $60. I have not reviewed the finance department's 2007 report on executive travel in as much detail as The Post has, but it certainly appears she regularly collected full (and more on some?) for any day when she ate dinner at home is a bright line violation of the standard.

What we don't know is how exceptional this is in practice, and kind of case someone could make to defend what would amount to theft of government resources.

*Is she entitled executive benefits package not discussed in this clear regulation?*

The regulation makes no mention of an exception, appears to apply to all AK government employee travelers, and even includes a clause about special executive branch business-class travel. So it appears she is subject to it.

*Did the HR department verbally explain "this is how we really do it..." for certain (or all?) state employees?*

Unknown - but the "following the bandwagon" and "I didn't know better" defenses are hardly persuasive when we're talking about someone with so much intelligence and access to staff attorneys who can advise on such matters.

*Did she enter an agreement with the state exchanging some more costly benefits for this relatively (but *not* independently) small executive expense category?*

Again, unknown. If she did enter into an agreement around M&I, which is unlikely but possible, she may be in good shape. If this is only her reasoning in hind-sight, it makes no difference in terms of both legality and ethics. The state, presumably, provides the governor with the resources to do her job. If she refuses some of those resources that are less convenient, but steels other resources that are more convenient, the state has still been robbed.

I suppose she could argue travel within Anchorage still counts as travel, but then she'd open up the floodgates for every state employee in Alaska to collect retro M&I for every day work day, retro to at least inauguration 2007.

Posted by: labor researcher | September 11, 2008 2:15 AM

As a union guy, this appears pretty fireable, but we need more facts. Let me explain.

To the initial defense, "she was saving money compared with Murkowski," the comparison is hardly apt. I mean, he's a professional crook, this looks amateur.

To the substance of the issue - M&I expenses while traveling on government business in Alaska - see the Alaska Administrative Manual, Section 60.250 at http://fin.admin.state.ak.us/dof/ak_admin_manual/resource/60t.pdf

In it, you will find on page 29, "A traveler must be in travel status at least three consecutive hours during a meal period to be entitled to the M&IE for that meal."

Additionally, for partial travel days, Alaska state employees traveling for 3 or more hours during breakfast are entitled to one M&I rate; for lunch, another; and for dinner, the full $60. I have not reviewed the finance department's 2007 report on executive travel in as much detail as The Post has, but it certainly appears she regularly collected full M&I (and more on some?) for days when she ate dinner at home, a bright line violation of the standard.

What we don't know is how exceptional this is in practice, and the kind of case someone could make to defend what would amount to theft of government resources.

*Is she entitled executive benefits package not discussed in this clear regulation?*

The regulation makes no mention of an exception, appears to apply to all AK government employee travelers, and even includes a clause about special executive branch business-class travel. So it appears she is subject to it.

*Did the HR department verbally explain "this is how we really do it..." for certain (or all?) state employees?*

Unknown - but the "following the bandwagon" and "I didn't know better" defenses are hardly persuasive when we're talking about someone with so much intelligence and access to staff attorneys who can advise on such matters.

*Did she enter an agreement with the state exchanging some more costly benefits for this relatively (but *not* independently) small executive expense category?*

Again, unknown. If she did enter into an agreement around M&I, which is unlikely but possible, she may be in good shape. If this is only her reasoning in hind-sight, it makes no difference in terms of both legality and ethics. The state, presumably, provides the governor with the resources to do her job. If she refuses some of those resources that are less convenient, but steels other resources that are more convenient, the state has still been robbed.

I suppose she could argue travel within her home town still counts as travel, but then she'd open up the floodgates for every state employee in Alaska to collect M&I for every day work day, retro to at least inauguration.

Posted by: labor researcher | September 11, 2008 2:46 AM

How about ex President Clinton charging alot of money for having the Secret Service staying on his NY property. It was one heck of a bill

Posted by: LG | September 11, 2008 7:55 AM

Now we should look at Biden. Did you know he charges huge amounts of travel expenses to ride the Amtrack everyday? For example, on February 9, 2007, he claimed $376.00 for an Amtrack ticket from Wilmington to Washington. There are lots more. How come the Washington Post isn't looking at him?

Posted by: AWoman1 | September 11, 2008 10:03 AM

don't mix your issues:
@LG - Clinton - get off it. a) old news, b) may be unethical, but not illegal

@ Awoman - If that's a crime, its a problem, but Biden was vetted very deeply so I'd be surprised if it turns out like that.

This issue appears pretty cut and dry - there is a clear state travel policy which lays out specifically when state employees are allowed to collect per diem. She appears to have violated that policy to her own $17k benefit. An AG, federal prosecutor, or even an HR department would have "enough" to investigate the details in any other instance. This is theft we're talking about! People are fired from public and private sector every day for taking this stupid risk on M&I policies.

Posted by: labor resarcher | September 11, 2008 11:53 AM

Please check this site if you want the truth about Palin and McCain. The bridge to nowhere, the plane sale, the pork barrel projects, the Keeting 5 scandel. etc... www.republicansareliars.blogspot.com

Posted by: www.republicareliars.blogspot.com | September 11, 2008 1:28 PM

if palin has 300 nights in her own home, she definitely wasn't in Juneau at the office doing her job as the governor.

WTF was she getting paid to do?

300 nights away from Juneau??

think about how many lost working hours that amounts to???

Being governor of Alaska must be a real PART-TIME JOB, kind of like being a hockey mom mayor of 6000... look at a picture of her mayor's office online...

it was like a small store in a strip mall...that really says it all.

Posted by: frank | September 13, 2008 9:44 AM

The headline of this story should be: Governor Palin Slashes Travel Budget by 80% She didn't break any rules and she didn't seek all the reimbursements she could have, like per diems for her kids. The MSM are trying to bend this into some type of controversy when it is actually a great example of the type of reform and we desperately need in DC.

Posted by: Tom Martin | September 13, 2008 10:06 AM

It costs the state of Alaska $356,500.00, annually, to maintain and staff the Governor’s Mansion in Juneau. That is where the governor of Alaska is supposed to live while serving their term. The State Capitol, and legislature, is about a hundred yards down the street. Governor Palin prefers to live at home in Wasilla, over 600 miles away, and collect per diem, while the state continues to pour money into the empty Governor’s Mansion in Juneau (a third of a million dollars every year). That is not efficient and her pre diem is completely unethical.

http://www.gov.state.ak.us/omb/09_omb/budget/Gov/comp9.pdf

Posted by: Dick | September 16, 2008 12:07 AM

Joe Biden goes home on Amtrak every night Obama said. That is $180.00 per day on the taxpayers. Not to mention what he cost taxpayers by bailing out Amtrak so he could keep his ride home! (Multi millions) So, if I put this on a scale of Sarah Palin's TOTAL travel and per diem of under $380.00 per week, Biden and Obama still lose.

Posted by: Annie | September 16, 2008 2:24 AM

Sarah Palin's job must not have been too difficult if she worked at home 300 days in the first 20 months in office. (There are only 400 workdays in 20 months.) She collected per diem expenses as if she were traveling in behalf of the taxpayers of Alaska while staying home.
She sold the jet since it was easier to take a car to the airport and catch the plane to Juneau. She rarely traveled anywhere else.
I guess being Governor of Alaska was a job you could do from home.....

Posted by: Betsy Ryherd | September 16, 2008 5:11 PM

Okay, I get per diem when I'm out of town for work. What am I missing here? How does she get it for being at home?

Posted by: Cathy, MI | September 18, 2008 4:07 PM

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