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Trying too hard ...
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, September 09, 2008

From the Washington Post this morning:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.
Oh, my ... scandal.

Well, not so much:
Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official "duty station" is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.

[...]

Gubernatorial spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said 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.

[...]

"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."

The state finance director, Kim Garnero, said Alaska law exempts the governor's office from elaborate travel regulations. Said Leighow: "The governor is entitled to a per diem, and she claims it."
Oh, wait - you mean this is all on the up and up?

Ah, here's the scandal:
Asked Monday about the official policy on charging for children's travel expenses, Garnero said: "We cover the expenses of anyone who's conducting state business. I can't imagine kids could be doing that."
Uh, well maybe not:
Leighow noted that under state policy, all of the governor's children are entitled to per diem expenses, even her infant son. "The first family declined the per diem [for] the children," Leighow said. "The amount that they had declined was $4,461, as of August 5."
State policy you say. Huh.

But she's been abusing state policy, right?
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. He traveled often in an executive jet that Palin called an extravagance during her campaign. She sold it after she was sworn into office.
Huh. Apparently not.

So what's the scandal? Three pages to tell us she works within the law on travel and per diem expenses and that some (the reporters) may question the legitimacy of her claims even if Alaska law and policy seem to support them.

I'm simply outraged. What will they find next? Improper labeling of moose meat stored in her freezer?
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
This kind of scrutiny would be just fine if they would also exact it on Congress. Who’s next to get the magnifying glass? Biden? Pelosi? Do they really want to go down this road?
 
Written By: the wolf
URL: http://
Who’s next to get the magnifying glass?
Obama - Ayers connection? Nothing to see there.
 
Written By: Is
URL: http://
Just wait... Rezko’s sentencing got pushed back to October, the ONLY reason for while that I can think of is that the state and he are still working on a deal for him to testify... Either against our Gov., or maybe tossing info about Obama...

Madigan has no love for Obama, I wouldn’t think...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Oh, please! The Annointed One travels around in a jet only slightly less ostentatious than Air Force One, yet his loopy followers have the nerve to grouse about Palin’s expenses???
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
This was nothing more than the WaPo version of the US magazine cover and article.
 
Written By: GW
URL: http://wolfhowling.blogspot.com
It doesn’t matter what was in the article in way of vindicating Palin and family of excessive or unnecessary travel charges. The article was just a prop for the headline: Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home!

Ironic, though, how the collective "we" let the media play us in this soap opera. It’s my opinion that people predisposed to believing the headline are those people least likely to read the article. Conversely, those least likely to believe the headline are those most likely to read the article. Results: more polarization of the masses.
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
You guys don’t get it - it’s about the HYPOCRISY!!!!!!!

(I foolishly hope this is the ’jump the shark’ moment for the media for many people who have had the wool over their eyes for too long).

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
I notice the lefty trolls - Erb, mk, Retief, et al - have been conspicuously silent for several days.

Too much to hope, I suppose, that we will be seeing headlines about bodies in front of computers with their heads exploded all over the room?

Ah well. It is to dream.
 
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
Erb really stepped in it, particularly since he attempts to show some level of "impartial observer".

mk is beyond any embarrasment.

Retief isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but at least I haven’t seen him go over the top and make a total Erb out of himself.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
If I had made as many errors in my job reporting on systems’ operations as those investigating Mrs. Palin, I would have been reprimanded and fired if such errors were repeated. Such gross incompetence or just plain bias and lying does warrant some remedial actions; that assumes that the media outlets have any desire to continue to be profitable.
 
Written By: AMR
URL: http://
She sold the former governor’s jet for $2.7 million. At the 10-year Treasury rate of 3.6% the state would get $97,000 in interest each year on the $2.7 million. Therefore, adding together that additional income to her travel cost of $93,000, we get plus $4,000. Her predecessor spent north of $400,000 on travel and she is spending essentially zero.
 
Written By: KB
URL: http://
Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home
Taxpayers Also Funded Family’s Travel
So what’s the scandal? Three pages to tell us she works within the law on travel and per diem expenses and that some (the reporters) may question the legitimacy of her claims even if Alaska law and policy seem to support them.
You right wingnut dunderheads!
Let me help you out - You are supposed to READ THE HEADLINE AND MOVE ON!

This is what good liberals do because there is soooooo much information to gather and digest about the evils of the Republican party, the President, and the next Presidential candidates they’ve put forth.
It’s NUANCE and you hicks just don’t get it!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I’d be genuinely surprised if those per diems were in accordance w/ regs. If they are, the regs should be overhauled.

here’s what I think is the applicable handbook (PDF!). It properly notes that per diems are for travel, and then notes that travel status - and thus the entitlement to per diem - is triggered by leaving one’s duty station or residence area.

So it looks to me like the WaPo is wrong, and that she incorrectly took the per diems.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
So it looks to me like the WaPo is wrong, and that she incorrectly took the per diems.
Yep - another liberal expert speaking for the edification of fellow liberal experts -
The state finance director, Kim Garnero, said Alaska law exempts the governor’s office from elaborate travel regulations. Said Leighow: "The governor is entitled to a per diem, and she claims it."
Leighow noted that under state policy, all of the governor’s children are entitled to per diem expenses, even her infant son. "The first family declined the per diem [for] the children," Leighow said. "The amount that they had declined was $4,461, as of August 5."
Amazing the number of people who’s job it isn’t to tell the people who’s job it is that they’re wrong.

Archbishops who don’t know Church policy better than readers who have checked their encyclopedia, unknown posters who know more than the State Finance Director of the state in question about the Governer’s per diem allowance rules.


Tomorrow we’ll bring you - "Airline pilots are landing planes wrong says passenger who plays MicroSoft Flight Simulator on a regular basis".

Stay tuned!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
JPE, you are the epitome of arrogance. Well said Looker.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
She billed the state for sleeping in her own bed.

You wingnuts want to explain the nuances of the story. Good luck with that. Live by the non-nuance, die by it.
 
Written By: dude08
URL: http://
Seriously, commentariat, you’ve outdone yourselves.
Whether or not it’s legal is a matter open to dispute, apparently, but if you can’t see what’s ethically objectionable about billing the state for travel expenses while you’re not traveling, you need your fuc*ing heads examined for Hackery Disease.

The rest of Q’s article is a long exercise in exculpatory context and excuses. Oh, she’s not as self-serving as the last governor they kicked out for being too self-serving! Great. Have a cigar. That entitles her to be a crusader against pork? Seriously?
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I’ve really enjoyed watching you (invalidate, defile, repudiate) all over your alledged beliefs of government minimalism, Q, while defending Palin’s record of abject government dependency and handout mentality.

See, as a liberal, those things don’t mean to me what you claimed they mean to you - Palin behaves like a sensible Democrat. But you’ve thrown your evaluative standards into the trash, because sneering at liberals is more important to you than promoting methods of governance.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Glasnost:

Don’t waste your time. McQ is perfectly happy with big government. As long as it is big government telling people to do what he wants them to do.

Best evidence? Read Kinsley’s column today about Palin’s tax-the-oil-companies-mentality. Think you will hear McQ complain about that? Not a chance.

McQ likes big government. Just on his terms.
 
Written By: dude08
URL: http://
Seriously, commentariat, you’ve outdone yourselves.
Whether or not it’s legal is a matter open to dispute, apparently, but if you can’t see what’s ethically objectionable about billing the state for travel expenses while you’re not traveling, you need your fuc*ing heads examined for Hackery Disease.
Seriously, no it’s not, since the State Director of finance for the State of Alaska has spoken on the matter, and no one, except the writer of the article, and clowns like you, are questioning the legality of it.

Not even the former Democratic governor mentions the current actions as a scandal.
Where’s the investigation by the legislature Glasnost, jpe? where?
Where’s the arm of the Democratic party in the state of Alaska that would surely like to find something like this in fact and use it to clobber her with?
Where is that mentioned in the article? No where.
W-h-e-r-e?

Doesn’t exist. And yet, now it’s a matter open to dispute?
by who in authority? It doesn’t become a matter open to dispute just because you and JPE trot in here with your liberal dog and pony show and proclaim it to be one.

Sometimes you get it, this isn’t one of those times.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Grab hold of it boys, if this is all you have, you’ll be moaning about stolen elections come Nov 5th, 2008.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
But man, I have to say, based on a web-search and the hits I’m seeing, you boys really think you’re on to something magic with this one.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
you boys really think you’re on to something magic with this one.
No doubt just like the last 419 Sarah Palin "scandals" they’ve thrown against the wall since August 29.

Where do they got all that poo? You’d think it were coming out their ears.
 
Written By: McGehee
URL: http://mcgeheezone.com/ee/
And we know it doesn’t actually have to be factual, it just has to have a good ’truthy’ ring to it before the conflagration roars through the grubby shanty towns of the leftist web like fire on gasoline soaked straw.

Somewhere there’s someone working on the paperwork to prove that Sarah Palin shirked her Texas Air National Guard duties, got her family to use their power to slant her readiness reports and then deserted her post.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Somewhere there’s someone working on the paperwork to prove that Sarah Palin shirked her Texas Air National Guard duties, got her family to use their power to slant her readiness reports and then deserted her post.
Do you think that this time they will avoid the stupidity of trying to use a font that did not exist at the time? From the evidence seen to date regarding the countless other scandals that have been reported - NO!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I know people like dude08 and glasnost are not going to care about this, but I’ll try. Have you guys ever worked on per diem? It kicks in when you leave the place you are officed. I have worked from a home office, and gotten per diem for days I worked in the actual office, 30 miles from home. I have worked from an office I had to travel to (traveling home on weekends), and got per diem when I was at home, because I wasn’t being paid living expenses for being at the office. Different places do it different ways, but there are both Federal and state laws on this. The person in charge of the policy for the state disputes the "fraudulent claim" account, and my guess is that she’s in a better position to know.

I realize that you guys don’t care; your faux concern is all a cover for trying to find some way to make people who would otherwise vote for McCain decide not to do so; that is the bottom line of all of these accusations being thrown around. Yes, even the disgusting ones about the maternity and paternity of various people in Palin’s family. If you think you’re fooling us, or winning points, try again.

 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
So, Glasnost and Dude are upset that she takes per diem, but fail to note that OVERALL her expenses are on 1/5th of the former Governor’s...

And Glas and Dud(e) could you all examine Biden’s travel vouchers and expenses for us, too just so we can have an "apple to apple" comparison?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So, Glasnost and Dude are upset that she takes per diem, but fail to note that OVERALL her expenses are on 1/5th of the former Governor’s...

And Glas and Dud(e) could you all examine Biden’s travel vouchers and expenses for us, too just so we can have an "apple to apple" comparison?
No, this isn’t about what other people did, it’s only about Palin because they aren’t interested in legal or fair, they’re interested in destruction and not particular about how they achieve it.

So, if someone discovers Murkowski and Knowles did the same thing, exactly, it will mean nothing to them, and in fact will have absolutely no bearing on their current line of argument.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
What will they find next? Improper labeling of moose meat stored in her freezer?
You just don’t understand, it is extremely important to properly label moose meat for freezer storage. Someone might mistake it for beef, and then where would we all be? Soon everyone would be mistaking moose meat for beef, and there goes all "truth in advertising"! Meat sellers everywhere would be passing off moose meat as beef, and nobody would be there to stop them!

That’s exactly why we need to put the spotlight on Palin’s travel expenses— if one politician starts taking his or her children along, soon they’ll all want to, and that would just enable more females to enter the world’s second oldest profession instead of remaining in the oldest one where we belong!!!!1!!

;)
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
The rest of Q’s article is a long exercise in exculpatory context and excuses. Oh, she’s not as self-serving as the last governor they kicked out for being too self-serving! Great. Have a cigar. That entitles her to be a crusader against pork? Seriously?
Seriously - put a cold compress on your forehead and take a v*lium for heaven sake.

You’re beginning to sound as deranged as the rest of your compatriots.

There, feel better. Now go read this and get another v*lium handy. Taylor makes a very reasonable case for the woman who cut travel expenses by a bunch. But like any job, she’s not required to invest her money in carrying it out.

I’ve got to tell you, if this is the best you folks can come up with, you may as well start working on the "DieboldRoveSCOTUS stole the election again" meme.

Geez - on the road for a day an come home to dog crap on the carpet.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
BTW ’nost - while you’re cooling it, you might want to peruse this:

M&IE

Meals and incidental expense allowance. The portion of per diem that reimburses travelers for the cost of meals and necessary incidental expenses including tips, laundry expenses, and other personal costs of travel.

The per diem consists of two parts, meals and incidental expenses, and lodging.

Per Diem

Per diem allowance is a daily payment instead of reimbursement for actual expenses for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses. It is separate from transportation expenses and other miscellaneous expenses.

Residence

The residence of a traveler is the location, or within 50 miles thereof, where the traveler maintains the primary dwelling. If a traveler maintains multiple residences, the commissioner of the department shall designate the residence that bears the most logical relationship to the traveler’s duty station as the traveler’s primary residence. Factors to be considered in determining the primary residence include: the time ordinarily spent performing duties at each location; the degree of business activity at each location; the relative amount of state wages earned at each location. Agencies may also contact the Division of Finance for assistance. [NOTE - obviously the governor of Alaska’s duty station is not Wasilla, and so her primary residence is the gov’s mansion]

M&IE Rules for Specific Situations

...If a traveler maintains a dwelling at their destination and it is available to them [NOTE - think Wasilla], they will be entitled to only an M&IE allowance for normal workdays. [NOTE - which is what she claimed] An M&IE allowance for other than normal workdays is not allowed.

Alaska Administrative Manual - Accounting Travel 60.28

If a traveler is temporarily returned to the traveler’s duty station while on a long-term assignment and is continuing to receive a long-term lodging per diem, the traveler is not entitled to any M&IE allowance while at the duty station. [NOTE - she did not claim per diem while at governor’s mansion]
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net

Does anyone remember Gov. Willie and his $50,000+ annual "food allowance"?
 
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