Hang back folks, here is a new one:
Gubernatorial spokeswoman Sharon Leighow stated on Monday that Palin’s expenses are not unusual and that, under state policy, the first family could have claimed per diem expenses for each child taken on official business but has not done so.
Speaking from Palin’s Anchorage office, Leighow said Palin dealt with the plane and also trimmed other expenses, including forgoing a chef in the governor’s mansion because she preferred to cook for her family. The first family’s travel is an expected part of the job, she said. “As a matter of protocol, the governor and the first family are expected to attend community events across the state,” she said. “It’s absolutely reasonable that the first family participates in community events.”
Gov. Palin has spent far less on her personal travel than her predecessor: $93,000 on airfare in 2007, compared with $463,000 spent the year before by her predecessor, Frank Murkowski
David Bernstein, September 9, 2008 at 12:55am
New Washington Post “Expose” on Palin:
You have to read the article carefully to figure this out, but what the story ultimately reveals is that Palin (a) billed the state for most expenses allowed by law, including per diem when she stayed in her own home (her “duty station” was the state capitol of Juneau) in Wasilla; (b) didn’t bill the state for other expenses, when she could have done so lawfully, such as per diems for her children; and (c) spent a lot less money on expenses than did her predecessor, especially on travel and by ridding herself of the state’s personal chef. [FWIW, she apparently maintained two residences, the governor's mansion in Juneau, which by state law is her official work "base" and where assumedly she didn't get a per diem (but where her predecessor had a personal chef whom she let go), and Wasilla, from where she commuted to Anchorage for work when the legislature wasn't in session. Saintly to take the per diem she was legally entitled to when in the second residence? No. Worthy of the lead headline on Washingtonpost.com? Please! Not illegal, not unethical, and not a scandal.]
Meanwhile, I have to wonder whether the Post has several reporters looking over Joe Biden’s expense reports. Does he bill the government for his daily roundtrip to Delaware? How many “fact-finding missions” has he participated in annually during his Senate career? Inquiring minds want to know?
UPDATE: The Post doesn’t do the math for us, but the total per diem claimed was $16,951 divided divided by 312 days, or $54.33 per day (the per diem is $60, so there were some partial days).
Also, the article headline, “Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home,” and some related content, is very misleading. A glance at the expense report reproduced on the Post’s website makes it clear that she requested per diem for her daily expenses, but not for lodging, and that she apparently wrote “lodging–own home” only to explain why she wasn’t requesting hotel expenses. One almost wonders whether the author of the story understands what a “per diem” is; the story notes that Palin rarely charged the state for meals when in Wasilla and Anchorage, but of course she didn’t, because she instead just asked for the per diem!
The Post also reports:
In the past, per diem claims by Alaska state officials have carried political risks. In 1988, the head of the state Commerce Department was pilloried for collecting a per diem charge of $50 while staying in his Anchorage home, according to local news accounts. The commissioner, the late Tony Smith, resigned amid a series of controversies.”It was quite the little scandal,” said Tony Knowles, the Democratic governor from 1994 to 2000.
It must have been quite a little scandal, because a search of the Anchorage Daily News for “Tony Smith” reveals no per diem controversy, only a controversy over alleged contract-steering that led to Smith’s resignation, and an earlier, much smaller controversy about state officials, including Smith, taking foreign trips. There was a contemporaneous (early 1989) controversy over the expenses claimed by state Sen. Paul Fischer, including allegations that he requested a per diem on days when he was not where he claimed to be. http://volokh.com/posts/1220936107.shtml
Actual link to Wasilla documents. Read for yourself about the book ban smear (because there never was a ban) at http://www.cityofwasilla.com/index.aspx?page=136
Can this get any uglier? No, she did not call Sen. Obama the name Sambo. Rumors?
For interesting reading on how these creations are developed and then swallowed, one should read Anatomy Of A Smear posted at: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/272728.php
UPDATE: According to Patterico’s Pontifications: 1st Sullivan said that Palin was hiding from the media, but where is Sullivan now?
Until yesterday, the man was a hysterical publisher of approximately 50 posts a day mocking Sarah Palin. Reflecting his tireless journalistic diligence, these posts mostly consisted of a long block quote — perhaps from Wikipedia, or if he was feeling particularly energetic, from Democrat opposition papers. The block quote would be accompanied by one or two breathless lines about how he was stunned, or gobsmacked — or how he found the whole thing jaw-dropping . . . or incredible. Just incredible. UPDATE: Via Ace comes word that Sullivan is taking a few days off. Ace notes: “In fairness being a hysterical piece of sh[offending vowel removed by Patterico]t that spreads vicious rumors about children is tiring work.”
So how did Sullivan land this scoop?
The most likely answer is that he was fed it by the Obama campaign, the same Obama campaign whose strutting Narcissus of a candidate (see, Andrew, I took Introduction to the Classical World too) piously calls for a ban of all personal attacks on his opponents’ family while smugging political pornography to disgracefully amoral partisans who then inject it into the mainstream, like the hydra-poisoned arrow of Heracles. (See, Andrew — got that one from high school. Not really that fucking impressive.)
There are other possibilities, including fellow Messiah cultists in the media whose ethics would prevent them from publishing such trash without first actually looking at the documents; if that’s the case, it reflects rather badly on The Atlantic that they’ve become the Too Hot for TV to the media’s Jerry Springer Show.
But the most likely candidate seems either Obama’s camp or the DNC, which are functionally unite at this point. Certainly it fits with Obama’s behavior:
Obama has claimed that he would not tolerate such attacks being made by any of his staff. And yet we have his National Finance Chair smearing Sarah Palin as a selfish, unfit mother on national radio without reprimand.
And bloggers we know as a fact are in communication with the Obama campaign — Sullivan, Kos — are pushing the positively insane and cruel “Trig is really Bristol’s baby” claim into the national media.
Obama’s campaign remains in close communication with these defamers. It seems he “tolerates” a lot more of this than he claims publicly, no?
And then there is Sambo name calling, but I don’t believe that Palin would use the name Sambo.
Cripes, this has gotten ridiculous. Folks, look, let’s just run through a list here. (Updated.)
- Yes, she is Governor of Alaska. No, she’s not the Lieutenant Governor. No, she’s not currently Mayor of Wasilla. Yes, she was Mayor of Wasilla, some years ago.
- Yes, there are people in Alaska who think she’s too liberal.
- Yes, she did push for and approve the Wasilla Sports Center. Yes, it did cost a lot of money. (People keep saying $20 million, that article says $14.5 million, but then they also added a $1.2 million dollar food service/kitchen piece. This year, since Palin was out of office as Mayor.) Yes, the city went into debt to do it (how did you buy your house, bunkie?) and raised the city sales tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent to pay for it. Yes, the city is paying it off early.
- Yes, she did want authority to have wolves culled from the air, because they were taking too many moose and caribou. Which people hunt for food in the back country in Alaska. No, she isn’t shooting them herself. I mean, not that she couldn’t, but I’m sure she doesn’t have time. (Thanks to bluemerlin in the comments.)
- No, the Downs baby (Trig) isn’t Bristol’s kid, and no, the kid wasn’t born with Downs because (a) Palin flew on an airplane (b) went home to have the baby after an amniotic leak (c) because he was the result of incest between Todd Palin and Bristol.
- No, Track (the kid who is leaving for Iraq) didn’t join the NG because he was a drug addict. He may have joined the NG because he was tired of people saying his Mom was getting him into the good hockey leagues. (Yes, that one was original reporting. I’ve got sources in Wasilla.)
- No, she’s never been in any porn as far as anyone can find (and God knows I get enough google hits on those very topics.)
- No, no one seems to be able to even find swimsuit pictures of her from her beauty queen days; God knows I looked. The bikini pictures that are around are photoshopped, just like the Vogue cover I have up.
- No she wasn’t a member of the (wild-eyed libertarian) Alaska independence Party, although her husband once was
- No, neither the (Canadian) National Post, nor Marc Armbinder at the Atlantic have troubled themselves to issue a correction. Yes, the New York Times did finally correct their story of September 1 — on September 5. This was after Elizabeth Bumiller was quoted by Howard Kurtz as saying she was “completely confident about the story.” Yes, that was after the New York Times’s source retracted the story. Yes, this should embarrass the Times, Bumiller, and Howard Kurtz. No, there have been no signs of embarrassment.
- No, she was never a Pat Buchanan supporter; even when Buchanan claims she was, she was on the board of Steve Forbes’a campaign in Alaska.
- No, she’s not anti-semitic. In fact, she has an Israeli flag in her office. (Contrary to popular belief, the usual Evangelical thinks Israel has a right to exist, granted by God.)
- No, she’s doesn’t believe that the Iraq War was directed by God. Yes, she did pray that proceeding with the war was God’s will. (Ever hear the phrase “Not my will, but Thine, be done”?)
- No, Buchanan doesn’t support her now; in fact he’s supporting Obama. (Buchanan did think her speech was amazing, but then so do 80 percent of the people who saw it.) Or maybe not. Buchanan sure doesn’t like McCAin though.
- yes, she was pregnant when she got married
- No, so far there’s no confirmation she had an affair while she was married, and they’ve denied it pretty strongly. No, she wouldn’t be the first Christian woman who got a little on the side, if it were true.
- No, she wasn’t named as a co-respondent in a divorce; there’s no evidence she had an affair with her husbands’ business partner. The partner tried to have his divorce records sealed because he was being harrassed by journalists who used them to get his phone number.
- Yes, barring immaculate conception virgin birth (whatever), Bristol appears to have had sex with her fiancee. No, Bristol didn’t receive only “abstinence-only” sex ed.
- Yes, I have it on reliable report that Sarah Levi’s mom has been heard screaming “Way to go Levi!” at her future son-in-law son. No, it doesn’t appear to have been when Bristol broke the news to her family.Note: I originally understood this story to be about Sarah, not Levi’s mom, in the context of hockey games. As such, it’s shouldn’t be in a Sarah Palin Rumors story, but I like the story too much to delete it.
- yes, her 17 year old daughter is pregnant; no, the baby’s father is not an eighth grader; no, having sex at 16 is not statutory rape in Alaska
- yes, she did fire the public safety guy — but he said in the Anchorage paper that, for the record, she never, and no one else in her administration ever, tried to make him fire her ex-brother-in-law
- and yes, the state trooper (her sister’s ex-husband) she was worried about did: tase her 10 year old nephew; drive his state patrol car while drinking or drunk; did threaten to “bring her down”; and did threaten to murder her father and sister if they dared to get an attorney to help with the divorce.
- yes, the state trooper was suspended when he was put under a court protective order
- no, the trooper wasn’t fired
- yes, she did fire the Wasilla Chief of Police as Mayor; yes, it was because he was lying to the City Council.
- Yes, she did try to cut her own salary as Mayor by $4000 a year; yes, she had voted against the $4000 a year raise while on the City Council.
- No, she didn’t cut funding for unwed mothers; yes, she did increase it by “only” 354 percent instead of 454 percent, as part of a multi-year capital expenditures program. No, the Washington Post doesn’t appear to have corrected their story. Even after this was pointed out in the comments on the story.
- No, she didn’t cut special needs student funding; yes, she did raise it by “only” 175 percent.
- yes, she did try, clearly unsuccessfully, to get Bristol married off to her fiancee before the story came out
- yes, she did ask the librarian if some books could be withdrawn because of being offensive; no, they couldn’t; yes she did threaten to fire the librarian a month later; no, that wasn’t over the books thing but instead over administrative issues; no, the librarian wasn’t fired either; yes, the librarian was a big supporter of one of her political opponents; yes, the librarian was also the girlfriend of the Chief of police mentioned above; no, this is not the first time in the history of civilization that someone has been threatened with being fired over a political dispute
- No the list of books she wanted to ban that’s being passed around isn’t real; among other things, it includes a number of books published after her time in office there.
- No, that hasn’t actually deterred people from claiming it really is true even if the list isn’t correct. For example:“This list might not in fact reflect the books Sarah Palin wanted banned. As more than one person in Comments has pointed out, some of them were not published when Palin was in office. It is my hope that the mainstream media will not let this story drop and that at some point an actual list will surface. The very thought of having someone who once advocated book-banning possibly occupying one of the highest offices of our land fills me with profound dread. It should fill you with dread too.”
- No, I don’t understand why a fake list is supposed to fill me with dread, either.
- no, it wasn’t a shotgun wedding; Bristol and Levi been engaged for a good while according to his mother. It was either an accident or just an unconventional order.
- yes, she’s an was an Assembly of God Holy Roller. No, she doesn’t attend an AoG church now. Yes, she did leave the AoG because they were getting too weird for her.
- No, she’s not anti-Mormon. No, not all AoG churches are anti-Mormon. (AoG is even more hard-core about allowing each pastor and congregation to make their own decisions than the Baptists are.) (Thanks to AnonAmom in the comments.)
- No, she’s not from another planet. No, I haven’t actually heard that one yet, but you wait.
- yes, she apparently believes in some variant of Intelligent Design
- no, she didn’t try to force the schools to teach it; she said if someone brought it up, it was an appropriate subject for debate.
- No, she doesn’t believe in “abstinence only” education. Yes, she thinks abstinence is an effective way of preventing pregnancy. Duh. Yes, she believes kids should learn about condom use in schools.
- yes, she kills animals and eats them, and wears their skins
- yes, she was a beauty contest contestant
- yes, she was once a sportscaster
- yes, she has a college degree in Journalism, but I won’t hold that against her, as she seems to have found honest work as well
- yes, she sometimes wears her hair up; no that’s not a “beehive”
- yes, her husband is Not A White Person (he’s a Yup’ik; an Eskimo but not an Inuit as my Inuit cousins have taken some pains to explain)
- yes, she has on occasion tried to get money from the federal government.
- yes, she did finally turn down the money for the bridge. Yes, that meant changing her mind about it.
- yes, she was vetted extensively, not just in three days — I’ve got links to press reports about people coming to Wassila on 29 May, and we had her on our Veepstakes at PJM from the first day we ran it.
- yes, she want to a bunch of colleges before getting a degree. No, that’s not illegal. Yes, she seems to have made something of herself anyway.
- no, they didn’t talk to a lot of the R’s power structure during the vetting; that probably has to do with the fact that she beat them in elections and sent a bunch of them to jail.
- Yes, Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech was written by a speechwriter. Duh. No, none of Obama’s, McCain’s, nor Biden’s speeches were impromptu off the cuff things either.
- Yes, she did put the Governors plane on eBay. No, that’s not how it was finally sold. Yes, McCain did say it wrong. Bad McCain.
- No, Sarah Palin doesn’t have such control of Alaskans that people are afraid to say bad things about her. (What, are you nuts? Look at this list.) No, I don’t think it’s likely that she called Obama “Sambo”. (Good God, man, I’m ten years older than her and I barely remember “Little Black Sambo.”) Yes, I’m sure there are people who don’t like her — I’ve talked with some myself.
The Smoking Gun contributes to the next link and debunks the smear:
According to the filing, Richter wanted the documents deemed confidential in a bid to cloak details about his home, workplace, and phone numbers because “reporters and news agencies” were using that information to contact him. Richter, a 39-year-old contractor, noted that he is “friends and land owners in a remote cabin” with the Palins and, as a result, journalists were intruding on the “cabin life and private life” of him and his 11-year-old son. http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/05/another-palin-smear-bites-the-dust/
That “affair” has been debunked. Politico wrote on this story: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0908/13199.html
From Hotair: If the Enquirer story is true, the one virtue of it will be watching people on both sides reverse themselves instantaneously on the relevance of adultery to political credibility.
Jake Tapper ABC NEWS: When it comes to pork, Obama, it should be noted, is hardly kosher. Since joining the Senate in January 2005 he has requested 330 projects totaling $931.3 million, according to his Senate website where he discloses all his requests.
No, she’s not a “global warming denier”, and when the crush dies down remind me to explain why the very phrasing “global warming denier” is anti-scientific, anti-intellectual, and a clear sign of a desire to impose your beliefs by coercion. But in the mean time, while I do believe that she has expressed some skepticism that warming is wholly human-caused, the existence of the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet and the Alaska Climate Change Strategy work demonstrate that she’s considering the problem and has brought together people more expert than she to advise her. It is very important to note that Governors DO NOT request earmarks, only Congress does on the Bridge To Nowhere. Image of piggy porking is from a fabulous blog posted on how Joe Biden and Barack Obama voted for the Bridge to Nowhere and against Katrina Relief. http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2008/09/07/bridge-to-nowhere-who-voted-for-what/