Posted by: shannynmoore | October 21, 2008

Governor Palin Frauded Alaska

I’m reprinting this breaking story from the AP. Having bumped elbows for almost a year with Matt Apuzzo out of Washington DC, I have a tremendous respect for his reporting. I’m working on a thank you note to John McCain for bringing the National Media to the Alaska scene. It is shocking how much went under the main stream radar.

By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE, ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writers Brett J. Blackledge, Adam Goldman And Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press Writers – 27 mins ago

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – 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.

“She said any event she can take her kids to is an event she tries to attend,” said Jennifer McCarthy, who helped organize the June 2007 Family Day Celebration picnic in Ketchikan that Piper attended with her parents.

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.

After Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain chose Palin his running mate and reporters asked for the records, Palin ordered changes to previously filed expense reports for her daughters’ travel.

In the amended reports, Palin added phrases such as “First Family attending” and “First Family invited” to explain the girls’ attendance.

“The governor said, ‘I want the purpose and the reason for this travel to be clear,'” said Linda Perez, state director of administrative services.

When Palin released her family’s tax records as part of her vice presidential campaign, some tax experts questioned why she did not report the children’s state travel reimbursements as income.

The Palins released a review by a Washington attorney who said state law allows the children’s travel expenses to be reimbursed and not taxed when they conduct official state business.

Taylor Griffin, a McCain-Palin campaign spokesman, said Palin followed state policy allowing governors to charge for their children’s travel. He said the governor’s office has invitations requesting the family to attend some events, but he said he did not have them to provide.

In October 2007, Palin brought daughter Bristol along on a trip to New York for a women’s leadership conference. Plane tickets from Anchorage to La Guardia Airport for $1,385.11 were billed to the state, records show, and mother and daughter shared a room for four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House hotel, which overlooks Central Park.

The event’s organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter.

Alexis Gelber, who organized Newsweek’s Third Annual Women & Leadership Conference, said she does not know how Bristol ended up attending. Gelber said invitees usually attend alone, but some ask if they can bring a relative or friend.

Griffin, the campaign spokesman, said he believes someone with the event personally sent an e-mail to Bristol inviting her, but he did not have it to provide. Records show Palin also met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs representatives and visited the New York Stock Exchange.

In January, the governor, Willow and Piper showed up at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood Buffet, an Anchorage gala to announce winners of an earlier seafood competition.

“She was just there,” said James Browning, executive director of Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, which runs the event. Griffin said the governor’s office received an invitation that was not specifically addressed to anyone.

When Palin amended her children’s expense reports, she listed a role for the two girls at the function — “to draw two separate raffle tickets.”

In the original travel form, Palin listed a number of events that her children attended and said they were there “in official capacity helping.” She did not identify any specific roles for the girls.

In July, the governor charged the state $2,741.26 to take Bristol and Piper to Philadelphia for a meeting of the National Governors Association. The girls had their own room for five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for $215.46 a night, expense records show.

Expense forms describe the girls’ official purpose as “NGA Governor’s Youth Programs and family activities.” But those programs were activities designed to keep children busy, a service provided by the NGA

to accommodate governors and their families, NGA spokeswoman Jodi Omear said.

In addition to the commercial flights, the children have traveled dozens of times with Palin on a state plane. For these flights, the total cost of operating the plane, at $971 an hour, was about $55,000, according to state flight logs. The cost of operating the state plane does not increase when the children join their mother.

The organizer of an American Heart Association luncheon on Feb. 15 in Fairbanks said Palin asked to bring daughter Piper to the event, and the organizer said she was surprised when Palin showed up with daughter Willow and Bristol as well.

The three Palin daughters shared a room separate from their mother at the Princess Lodge in Fairbanks for two nights, at a cost to the state of $129 per night.

The luncheon took place before Palin’s husband, Todd, finished fourth in the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmobile race, also in Fairbanks. The family greeted him at the finish line.

When Palin showed up at the luncheon with not just Piper but also Willow and Bristol, organizers had to scramble to make room at the main table, said Janet Bartels, who set up the event.

“When it’s the governor, you just make it happen,” she said.

The state is already reviewing nearly $17,000 in per diem payments to Palin for more than 300 nights she slept at her own home, 40 miles from her satellite office in Anchorage.

Tony Knowles, a Democratic former governor of Alaska who lost to Palin in a 2006 bid to reclaim the job, said he never charged the state for his three children’s commercial flights or claimed their travel as official state business.

Knowles, who was governor from 1994 to 2002, is the only other recent Alaska governor who had school-age children while in office.

“There was no valid reason for the children to be along on state business,” said Knowles, a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. “I cannot recall any instance during my eight years as governor where it would have been appropriate to claim they performed state business.”

Knowles said he brought his children to one NGA event while in office but didn’t charge the state for their trip.

In February 2007, the three girls flew from Juneau to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines. Palin charged the state for the $519.30 round-trip ticket for each girl, and noted on the expense form that the daughters accompanied her to “open the start of the Iron Dog race.”

The children and their mother then watched as Todd Palin and other racers started the competition, which Todd won that year. Palin later had the relevant expense forms changed to describe the girls’ business as “First Family official starter for the start of the Iron Dog race.”

The Palins began charging the state for commercial flights after the governor kept a 2006 campaign promise to sell a jet bought by her predecessor.

Palin put the jet up for sale on eBay, a move she later trumpeted in her star-making speech at the Republican National Convention, and it was ultimately sold by the state at a loss.

That left only one high-performance aircraft deemed safe enough for her to use — a 1980 twin-engine King Air assigned to the public safety agency but, according to flight logs, out of service for maintenance and repairs about a third of the time Palin has been governor.


Responses

  1. Power went/surged to her head as soon as she was sworn in as governor.

    She’s got the makings of a professionally corrupt politician written all over her!

  2. Is she claiming per deim now and since Aug 26? How do we find out this information? I guess spreading the wealth is not spreading the wealth when the “First Family” are involved. And she has the gall to lecture others about Obama!

  3. I just have to ask… are you Alaskans really surprised by all this, or isn’t anyone up there tracking any of this, normally?

  4. It’s been asked before, are her children enroled in public school or some type of educational curriculum?

    So she sells the jet and trumps herself as some new breed of Republican. Then on the down low, charges the state all these hidden perdiems, charges the state all these unnecessary travel expenses for her kids and doesn’t properly account for them oh her tax forms? It turns out her arrogance and air of entitlement is not all that different from Frank the Bank after all.

    First Family? Sounds like BS to me. Sarah family is living the high life on the states revenues. Elected state officials shouldn’t be allowed to use the system to treat their families with travel where they have no real official state capacity to be there.

    If Sarah wants to have her kids with her all the time and not leave them with a nanny for hire or family, she never should have taken the job of governor

  5. Today there was a news story on AOL that wasn’t accessible when I tried to read on, about Governor Palin charging very expensive purchases of her clothing and shoes and items for her children who didn’t even travel with her, including their travel expenses to the McCain Palin campaign, and then only when discovered to have commited this embezzlement she tried to change the itemization.
    She is a thief, a chronic liar and racist and she doesn’t even have a third grade knowledge of the VP’s duties, even three months after she made blunders on national broadcasts. The woman is a dolt, couldn’t even give the correct answer to a Denver reporter on television. She has no knowledge of the US Constitution.

    The woman was awful on SNL and couldn’t even say her lines so she was replaced. She is a wildlife murderer and doesn’t have a third grade knowledge of what causes global warming either. she was determined to be unethical and to abuse her power of office already and continues to commit crimes. Bill Maher was great saying that if there is reincarnation, she should come back as a wolf like those she authorized to be shot from the air and forepaw removed, that should be done to her in the next life. I agree as do the majority of the US population. She is cruel, stupid, ignorant, has audacity, is unethical and dishonest. It reflects badly on John McCain.

  6. If you like huge government, warfare, and tarnishing the American image driving it right into the dirt, going down with the ship, speeding towards idiocracy,etc… then you should vote for Palin/Mccain!

    Trig 2016!

  7. Could you imagine if she were VP, and taking Air Force II up to Alaska just to get moose burgers couple times a week for the kids.

  8. Can you say, “Narcissist”?
    What I am more angry about than anything is the failure of Alaska media to uncover this stuff earlier. I am sick and tired of Queen Sarah’s attitude of “Let Them Eat Cake”, all the while claiming to be “just like us”. Bring this woman back to Alaska to face her constituents that she bamboozled for the last 2 years.

  9. Let’s see if I understand this correctly …….. Sarah
    Palin doesn’t know what the actual constitutional duties are for a Vice President, the RNC spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on her (and her family’s) wardrobe etc, She “hints” that Barack Obama is a terrorist, communist, traitor etc, She thinks that only certain parts of the United States have “Pro-Americans” living there.
    On the local CBS affiliate tonight, they showed a house once owned by the McCains – 13 bedrooms, at least 23 large flat screen tvs, pool, guest ramadas, racks for 1,800 bottles of wine, a fountain – 11,000 square feet – which goes on the auction block at the end of this month. Target price is 12 million dollars.
    Maybe “Joe the Plumber” can afford to buy it.
    Now I understand how the McCain/Palin team can identify with us “common folk”. They just laugh at us all the way to the bank.

  10. I’ve read thru some of the blogs on here, after reading the article and other ‘meanstream media headlines’ about her. I’m pretty disgusted with the way she is being treated. She IS a mother! She HAS a family! Who in their RIGHT mind would want her to shirk her duties as a mother (which would prove poor judgemnt RIGHT THERE!) and then try to govern a state?? Give me a break! Let me know what tree you all live in so I’ll be sure not to walk underneath it!
    And for those that don’t know, Joe the plumber never said he made 250K. I listened to the WHOLE exchange. Obama is being disingeniuos by portraying him that way and he should be ashamed. He doesn’t NEED a license because he doesn’t own the business and he works under his boss. He told Barak that he would like to purchase a business in the FUTURE and was questioning the tax bracket that will put him into at THAT TIME!
    You really need to get ALL the facts before you spout off!

  11. Shannyn:
    Does the Alaskan media just not care? Are the big oil companies there trying to suppress this news? Are the McSame lawyers that obviously now running the state denying this? Do they care what you folks think?

    It’s hard to believe that the residents/taxpayers of Alaska don’t see this every day and not ask themselves ‘how did we get here’? The Palins have been exposed over the last 2-3 months as a greedy bunch of corrupt, self-centered, non-caring lunatics and seem to be getting away with it on a massive scale.

    What’s up with this??

  12. Wow! When reports become official and see the light of day, there are interesting items lurking there! Makes me think that we should DEMAND her medical records. There must be something BIG hidden in those. They are a bit more difficult to amend after the fact, NO?!

  13. The RNC spent $150K on clothes, makeup and hair styling… and this is what we get! In her debate she looked like she was dressed for a funeral. Her hair would be great if she were a secretary on the Mad Men show. Her daughter looks good carrying around her mom’s Gucci purse, though. Guess if you’re going to put lipstick on a pitbull you shouldn’t hire a Republican to pick the color.

  14. SCOOBS!!! You’re a nutty PALINBOT! Governor Palin is a classic narcissist. She can take her children wherever she wants-so long as she pays for it. Alaskans didn’t elect Palin’s kids. Alaskans elected Palin. Legislators in Juneau during the shortened 90 day session were wearing buttons that said, “Where’s Sarah?”

    As for the liar, Joe the Plumber, listened to the entire exchange as well. You must have heard the FOXNoise version. Joe is NOT licensed as a plumber. Joe owes back taxes. Joe makes $40K a year. Joe said he was preparing to buy his boss’s business. Joe CAN’T buy his bosses business. His boss was surprised that Joe would want to buy it. It isn’t for sale. Joe is a Republican PLANT! JOE WOULD BENEFIT WITH OBAMA’S TAX PLAN. JOE WOULD BENEFIT EVEN IF HE COULD BUY THE BUSINESS. EVEN IF THE BUSINESS MADE $250,000 PER YEAR. OVER $250,000, the rate is 3% higher. Joe the LIAR would have to make well over $300K for McCains plan to start to benefit him-but even then, the people that use plumbers would have more income to do so under Obama’s plan. That is…if Joe was real. He is not. He is a figment of McCain-Palin’s distorted imagination.

  15. A non-liscened plummber made a mistake at a condo last summer and burned 30 units down in Anchorage. And tell me what is taking big taxes from oil companies and cutting checks to the citizens? A type of Socialism?

  16. Scoobs – Palin does shirk her duties as a mother every time she drags her kids in front of the camera for a Republican photo op, every time she takes poor Trig in front of a screaming crowd or under blazing lights and then hands him off to someone else as soon as need be. Trig needs better care than that and her kids should be in school.

    And no one is saying that she doesn’t have the right to take her kids on trips, but the problem comes when 1) she has the State of Alaska pay for her kids vacations and 2) she drags her kids to every official conference or meeting as a way to get their trips paid for. It is not only wrong and dishonest but extremely unprofessional!

    She, like any and every politician or anyone who works, male or female, has to and must make the responsible decision to separate her professional life from her personal life and that means not allowing small children to interrupt meetings or come to professional events, taking financial charge of her family when she should and not using her kids as political props.

  17. Palin is clearly UN-Qualified

    Watch:

  18. Pat, great articles.

  19. Aren’t there laws in AK about child labour?

  20. Now she’s exploiting the Republican party ($23K for makeup consultation, $150K for clothes). While that hardly breaks my heart it highlights that it’s really “Palin First,” not “Country First.”

    http://www.nikonicus.net

  21. hey I love this site , great replys from all on the Pit bull.. i live in canada, vancouver and i am wondering if any of you can answer this for me…Why is Sarah P wearing that Polar Bear PIn?? She was nixing George Bush when he was proclaiming the *polar bear to becoming extinct*, she, living in her home out in acreage is said to have polar bears roaming her estate and that she wants them gone……So i question that big Polar Pin she wears quite often at her rallies… doesn*t seem like she covets them?? any answers out there?? thanks

  22. great question about the Polar bear pin. My 12 year old goes nuts every time she sees it. I guess she thinks they make better jewelry than animals. UGH.

  23. thanks for the reply shannyn, you might be right about that, but hunting polar bears sounds so scarey…
    i was thinking she was wearing it for the Alaska Indepen party, as they have a polar bear as logo for their letterhead. Any thoughts? if it is , htat sure would make her a Maverick, if you know what i mean.. deb

  24. […] Alaska’s witness tampering law makes it a crime to “attempt” to “induce” a person not to show up for a legislative subpoena. […]


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