Palin Took Per Diem for Each Day!

A front page headline in today’s WaPo blaring “Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home” has, not surprisingly, garned top honors at Memeorandum. The gist of the scandal?

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.

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.

So, Palin claimed a per diem while traveling on state business and also claimed official expenses when bringing her family along on such trips? Isn’t that rather, um, normal?

David Bernstein observes,

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, where assumedly she didn’t get a per diem (but where her predecessor had a personal chef), and Wasilla, from which she commuted to Anchorage for work when the legislature wasn’t in session.

But, but she was staying at her own home?  How do you claim per diem for that?!

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!

Indeed, if one looks at the State of Alaska Per Diem rates sheet [PDF] (July 2008) it explicitly provides that even relatively low level employees are entitled not only to per diem but to reimbursement of commuting costs if “they return to their residence on their own time (e.g., weekends)” and that they are entitled to per diem even for “at-home meetings” for which “they receive no per diem for lodging.”

Bernstein wonders “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?”

Indeed.  Perhaps they’re responding to HuffPo’s Adam McKay, who attributes McCain’s recent rise in the polls to the fact that the press isn’t doing their duty in acting as a surrogate for the Democrats.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. RW Rogers says:

    The horrors! Has she no shame? Barack Obama was paid a per diem while serving in the Illinois State Senate. Naturally, he had to show up in Springfield to get it, and that requirement probably explains him voting “present” so often. Then again, he voted “present” on so many bills that he co-sponsored one wonders if he himself voted “present” or if he was in Chicago teaching class and someone else voted for him. LOL!

  2. The Other Ed says:

    Why are the taxpayers paying Palin’s family at all? Most reputable politicians who want to take family members on official trips will reimburse the taxpayer costs out of their own pocket or out of their campaign funds, they don’t try and stick the taxpayers with the bill. Hell, if I want to take my wife along on a business trip I have to pay her costs myself, why are the Palins any different than me?

  3. rodney dill says:

    Oh the Huge Vanity (of the Angry Left)

    Palin Took Per Diem for Each Day!

    …cause the good Lord knows that if a real woman finds a way to balance her career and family life, men and feminists need to kick her back into submission.

  4. Alex Knapp says:

    James, you beat me to posting on this. I also think that it’s pretty ridiculous. Some of the expenses for Todd’s “information gathering” is a little fishy, but the amounts are so small and the odds of there being anything unethical are pretty tiny I have to say, “Who cares?”

    Although I question Palin’s record in other regards, I think that she should be given credit where credit is due for not taking perks that other politicians would and do take.

  5. Bithead says:

    The one thing you’re missing, guys, is why the Democrats are all over this one like a wet T-Shirt; Clearly, they have nothing better to hit her with.

    That’s telling, I think. Like using a weapon of last resort, they know it’s going to blow up in their faces, but because they’ve otherwise out of ammo, and have got nothing else to go on, they use it.

  6. Steve Plunk says:

    It’s just another attempt to discredit the Republican candidate for Vice President. It appears the print media has now coordinated with the Dems to ensure no stone is left unturned. I wonder if Olbermann and Matthews contributed to this story?

  7. Obama gets an earmark to a company for $1 million and then gets $200K back. No scandal there. But Palin taking what the law allows, scandal. I think post this election someone on the left is going to realize that having the MSM so much in the tank for you doesn’t really help win an election.

  8. PD Shaw says:

    The Governor of Illinois resides in Chicago and commutes to Springfield for business on a daily basis. It costs Illinois taxpayers $5,800 per day he does that.

    Source

  9. PD Shaw says:

    I should add that he commutes by state jet.

  10. John Burgess says:

    While I don’t like to impugn motive, it strikes me that the WaPo writer was looking to make a big deal of the differences between Federal per diem regs and those of the State of Alaska.

    What Palin claimed legally through Alaska’s regulations is not generally claimable under Fed. regulations. Thus, it would appear, the Washington bureaucrat who doesn’t bother to read the full article, walks away with the conclusion that Palin was a cheat.

    I guess a headline: “Palin Followed Regulations in Claiming Per Diem” isn’t very sexy.

  11. Bystander says:

    I think it’s a pretty amazing coincidence that every time the liberal press takes aim at Governor Palin with whatever ammo they can find, McCain’s numbers go up. No wonder Obama wants to take the ‘high road’. His supporters had better start taking his advice – this race is still Obama’s to lose.

  12. Steve says:

    His supporters had better start taking his advice – this race is still Obama’s to lose.

    IMHO, every election gives a candidate three options.
    1. My opponent is so bad that even I look good so vote for me
    2. My opponent is wrong on the issues and I’ll do better so vote for me
    3. My opponent is wrong on the issues and here is why. This is what I will do on these issues and why it’s right. If you agree with me more than you agree with my opponent then vote for me.

    This article, along with several in the last week, demonstrate a weak attempt from the Obama camp at #1. I think the Obama camp needs to hold back on #1 assaults until they can really do some serious damage. This article just looks childish.

    BTW, I’d like to see more of #3 out of McCain’s camp. I think the town hall debates is a perfect medium for the public to judge the candidates’ stand on the issues.

  13. cian says:

    Not serious, but its does speak to the kind of person she is- one day making a big deal of firing the State House cook saying Alaskan taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for a fancy chef; the next day charging Alaskan taxpayers for meals she cooked in her own home.

    One day for the bridge to nowhere, the next day against; one day for earmarks, the next day against.

    There was a time when republicans ridiculed this kind of behavior. And lets be honest, they’re good at ridicule. Principles, not so much.

  14. Richard Gardner says:

    How’s this for a headline, “Biden deducted principle on his house?” But then, most Congressmen do so on their home state house, and it is totally legal though it sounds like a tax mistake.

    “Section 162(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 allows the deduction of amounts expended for meals and lodging, as traveling expenses, only while the taxpayer is traveling `away from home in the pursuant of a trade or business.'” with home defined for tax purposes as his principle place of business (DC).

  15. Spoker says:

    I can see the headlines now. “VOTE FOR OBAMA – PALIN FOLLOWED THE LAW.” or maybe “VOTE FOR OBAMA – THE BBC SAYS THE WORLD NEEDS HIM” http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/09/2360240.htm?section=world. This seem to speak far less to the candidates than it speaks about those that vote for them.

  16. Michael says:

    It appears the print media has now coordinated with the Dems to ensure no stone is left unturned.

    What other print media has been involved?

  17. anjin-san says:

    I guess time will tell if Palin did anything wrong here.

    I do seem to remember the right going absolutely berserk when Nancy Pelosi wanted taxpayers to pay for flights for her family…

  18. Michael says:

    I think post this election someone on the left is going to realize that having the MSM so much in the tank for you doesn’t really help win an election.

    The left has already started realizing that the MSM isn’t in the tank for them, but is rather leaching off of them for their own advantage.

  19. Michael says:

    I guess time will tell if Palin did anything wrong here.

    According to the Post, it already has, and she hasn’t.

  20. Spoker says:

    And now we learn that she saved the Alaska taxpayers over 80% vs. the Govs. previous years travel expenses. How dare she do nothing illegal and save money while doing it. To the gallows! To the gallows!

  21. Spoker says:

    And in a further update: The Obamanation has dispatched 30 lawyers to Alaska trying to dig up dirt on and intimidate Gov. Palin. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122098190668515511.html?mod=opinion_journal_political_diary
    Can anyone in the Obama/Biden campaign spell f-a-s-c-i-s-t?

  22. sam says:

    Yeah, this is a tempest in a teapot. Of more interest is this story:

    Palin Outlines Policy Views on Iraq, Afghanistan, Future of Nato, and Economy

  23. cian says:

    See, this is why its so hard to take republicans seriously. They wear their hypocrisy as a badge of honor, and treat their honor like its something you blow your nose in.

    Palin’s husband was a registered member of an organization that was founded by a man who has stated without apology his absolute hatred for America. And that’s fine with those from the right who comment here. Had Michelle Obama been associated with a similar organization, they’d be loading their guns as we speak.

  24. sam says:

    Not sure what you’re driving at here, Richard:

    How’s this for a headline, “Biden deducted principle principal on his house?” But then, most Congressmen do so on their home state house, and it is totally legal though it sounds like a tax mistake.

    I assume you mean he deducts the mortage interest on his house. So? He only owns that one house in Deleware and has never owned one in Washington, D.C. He’s commuted home to Deleware as long as he’s been in the Senate.

  25. bains says:

    I do seem to remember the right going absolutely berserk when Nancy Pelosi wanted taxpayers to pay for flights for her family…

    Just like the media, anjin-san, you leave out critical information. The right was opposed to Pelosi’s request of an Air Force jet large enough to “fly to her home district of San Francisco nonstop. She also wants to be able to ferry other members of the congressional delegation, family members and her staff.” Guess what? She got it.

    Oh, the hypocrisy! Governer Palin’s legal use of a $60 per day per diem verses a military jet placed at House Speaker Pelosi’s disposal.

  26. Spoker says:

    Cian, perhaps you can come up with his registration docs. The leader of the organization you refer to has publicly stated he was not a member…….. Waiting for proof, not slander and innuendo.

  27. Michael says:

    $60 per day per diem

    Well that was unnecessarily redundant.

  28. Michael says:

    Cian, perhaps you can come up with his registration docs. The leader of the organization you refer to has publicly stated he was not a member…….. Waiting for proof, not slander and innuendo.

    The leader of AIP stated that Sarah was not a member, but as far as I know still claims that her husband, Todd, was. Something that the Alaskan DoE is confirming.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080902/ap_on_el_pr/cvn_palin_politics

    Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections, said Todd Palin twice registered under the Alaskan Independence Party — in 1995 and 2000. Some members of the party have advocated secession from the United States, though that is not a goal listed in the party’s platform.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/09/todd_palin_was_registered_memb.php

    This afternoon, the director of Division of Elections in Alaska, Gail Fenumiai, told TPMmuckraker that Todd Palin registered in October 1995 to the Alaska Independence Party, a radical group that advocates for Alaskan secession from the United States.

  29. sam says:

    OK, now I see. I went and read the section:

    Sec. 162. Trade or business expenses

    (a) In general
    There shall be allowed as a deduction all the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business, including –

    (2) traveling expenses (including amounts expended for meals and lodging other than amounts which are lavish or extravagant under the circumstances) while away from home in the pursuit of a trade or business…

    But I’m not sure he can deduct his daily travel expenses from D.C. to Deleware and back.
    Sounds like just a regular commute.

    Topic 511 – Business Travel Expenses

    Travel expenses are the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business, profession, or job. Generally, employees deduct these expenses using Form 2106 (PDF) or Form 2106-EZ (PDF) and on Form 1040, Schedule A (PDF). You cannot deduct expenses that are lavish or extravagant or that are for personal purposes.

    You are traveling away from home if your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home for a period substantially longer than an ordinary day’s work, and you need to get sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away. [Source]

  30. rodney dill says:

    $60 per day per diem

    Well that was unnecessarily redundant.

    Thanks for helping to stamp-out and abolish redundancy.

  31. Michael says:

    But I’m not sure he can deduct his daily travel expenses from D.C. to Deleware and back.
    Sounds like just a regular commute.

    That is talking about deducting those expenses from your taxable income. A per diem reimbursement is different, and I believe can be anything you and your employer agree to. In Palin’s case the state of Alaska agreed to pay her some amount, and in the case of Biden it is the US Congress.

  32. cian says:

    Kind of scary, isn’t it Spooker, when the talking points turn out to be wrong. Its like there’s nothing out there anymore, just the truth waiting to get you.

  33. angellight says:

    GOP told us they were going to fight terrorism and they led us into Iraq, a phony and pretend war. The real war should have been waged in Afghanistan. The GOP now has an agent of change, a phony and pretend Person Sarah Palin who is a puppet more than an agent of change. The real agent of change is Barack Obama.

  34. G.A.Phillips says:

    There was a time when republicans ridiculed this kind of behavior. And lets be honest, they’re good at ridicule. Principles, not so much.

    blah blah blah I’m a liberal I got principles blah blah blah Republicans are hypocrites blah blah blah……

  35. G.A.Phillips says:

    GOP told us they were going to fight terrorism and they led us into Iraq, a phony and pretend war. The real war should have been waged in Afghanistan. The GOP now has an agent of change, a phony and pretend Person Sarah Palin who is a puppet more than an agent of change. The real agent of change is Barack Obama.

    lol, you just summed up Slickwilly Jr’s whole platform lol.

  36. Michael says:

    GOP told us they were going to fight terrorism and they led us into Iraq, a phony and pretend war. The real war should have been waged in Afghanistan.

    Now I’m as much for getting out of Iraq as anybody, but can we stop using that foolish line about Afghanistan, like beating down the remnants of the Taliban is going to solve international terrorism?

  37. sam says:

    That is talking about deducting those expenses from your taxable income.

    Right. I was following the tax code provision he provided. I don’t think US Senators get per diem, but they do get a lot. (Biden might get travel expenses from D.C. to Deleware, after all.):

    FAQ > Pay and Perquisites of Members of Congress

  38. sam says:
  39. Michael says:

    don’t think US Senators get per diem, but they do get a lot. (Biden might get travel expenses from D.C. to Deleware, after all.):

    Yes, it seems that the US Congress isn’t as generous as many state governments are.

  40. Spoker says:

    Cian, I stand corrected, he was. After fairly quickly reviewing their website I am certainly worried by the radical stands they take supporting the US and state constitutions, calling for the direct election of judges, working within the system to make changes, working to reclaim Alaskan land for Alaska and not the feds, supporting states rights and the 10th Amendment, calling for the abolishment of the US flag carrier rule, to name a few. I am really glad he didn’t do something really crazy and join the Libertarian Party. Short of the Boy Scout Oath many years ago, I do not recall meeting any two people that agreed on everything. However, I am sure they exist, I think they are called lemmings.

  41. cian says:

    Spoker, the point of my original comment was not to attack either Todd or Gov Palin. As far as I’m concerned Todd can join any group he wants so long as no one gets hurt and the horses stay calm.

    My comment was directed at those who have no difficulty with Todd’s affiliations, but on hearing Michelle Obama’s ‘Proud of my country for the first time’ comment called out for smelling salts first and their rhetorical shotguns second.

    Its just a shame they can’t feel shame anymore, that’s all.

  42. bains says:

    Redundant yes; unnecessary, perhaps – but only if I was certain that everyone reading that knows precisely what the Latin phrase means within the English language.

  43. Michael says:

    Redundant yes; unnecessary, perhaps – but only if I was certain that everyone reading that knows precisely what the Latin phrase means within the English language.

    Perhaps, but if I hadn’t included the word “unnecessary”, it wouldn’t have been ironic.

    Its just a shame they can’t feel shame anymore, that’s all.

    From redundancy to recursion, this thread has it all!

  44. DL says:

    This is so good to see the left focused on the issues so well instead of those mean-spirited personel attacks.

    Perhaps it is time to allow a public official to sue for slander.

  45. Spoker says:

    Cian, on that you and I could not agree more. As someone that travels outside the US a great deal, it is always amusing to try and step back from my American hat and see how crazy we seem to the rest of the world. I am constantly told how crazy the world sees us when will go at each other tooth and toenail over what outsiders ofter see as trivial but how we show and even greater ferocity toward those challenge us or attack our right to fight among ourselves (IE: 9/11). I suspect it is a peculiar trait that may never translate well outside this society of mongrels we call Americans.

  46. bains says:

    Point understood, and taken michael. Too often we allow our sense of humor to become subjegated to our politics.

    I noted the irony of your initial comment, then cast it aside…

  47. Bandit says:

    Palin’s husband was a registered member of an organization that was founded by a man who has stated without apology his absolute hatred for America…. Michelle Obama been associated with a similar organization, they’d be loading their guns as we speak.

    She was and they didn’t.

  48. Joe says:

    The point here isn’t whether it is legal but whether it was proper and ethical. I know lots of people who commute 45 miles each way( Wasila to State Office Building in Anchorage)but do not ask their employer for travel expenses. If you think it is right, go in tomorrow to your boss and tell she or he that you plan to do an expense account for commuting. Say it with a straight face.

    Palin is being presented to us as Saint Sarah but things like this and being for the bridge to nowhere before being against it just show that she is very human but not a saint.

  49. Michael says:

    If you think it is right, go in tomorrow to your boss and tell she or he that you plan to do an expense account for commuting. Say it with a straight face.

    I commute 40 miles each way to work, so I’m an ideal candidate. If my boss agreed to that proposal, would it be unethical for me to take it?

  50. Joe says:

    Regarding ethics if the boss approves- Her boss is the people of Alaska. Do you think they knew about this and approved? I doubt it. The point is that she may be a good candidate but really nothing special and no different from other politicians.

    I must admit, after siting in cold ice rinks watching my kids play hockey, that the multi-million dollar rink with heated seats in Wasila she built sounds nice and the proper role of government,ie, keeping my backside warm! I am sure everyone in town didn’t mind the 25% increase in the sales tax.

  51. Michael says:

    Regarding ethics if the boss approves- Her boss is the people of Alaska. Do you think they knew about this and approved? I doubt it.

    If they didn’t, that’s their fault, it was part of the job offer their representatives were making.

    The point is that she may be a good candidate but really nothing special and no different from other politicians.

    If that is the point you’re trying to make, you’re going about it the wrong way.

  52. jpe says:

    Her “duty station” was the state capitol of Juneau)

    I don’t see how.

    She worked 300 of the days in the year from Anchorage. Her house is 40 miles outside of Anchorage. The travel manual says one is entitled to a per diem when one is away from one’s duty station. The duty station is defined as the place where “the traveler spends the major part of their working time,” and includes the employee’s house if that house is within 50 miles of the office.

    Based on that, her duty station is Anchorage, and if she were a regular employee she wouldn’t get the per diem.

  53. Rick DeMent says:

    All of this is crap. What I would like the Palin defenders to explain is as follows..

    1. Do they support Palin’s windfall profit tax on oil companies?

    2. Should we impose a windfall profit tax on all corporations and distribute the money directly to each citizen in the country just like Sarah? (I presume this has a lot to do with her popularity)

    3. Do they support the idea that each state should receive 13K + in federal subsidies.

    Jebus H. Cripes on a pogo stick you people her are defending a woman who is socialist in ways that Obama can only dream about is his wildest fantasies. She is the governer of the peoples republic of Alaska (no wonder she knows so much about Russia). No one seems to care that she is fully and completely comfortable with sucking off the tet of government. My god, She makes Obama look like a supply sider compared to her economics.

    Never thought I would see that day when the GOP would call a communist a Maverick.

  54. Rick DeMent says:

    #3 should read 13k + per person

  55. menlom says:

    hey rick,
    it’s slighty different than a windfall tax. it’s voluntary, believe it or not. She struck a great deal for the state of Alaska with the oil companies where they pay the state to get the resources owned by the residents. 5 oil companies bid for the right to pay that tax!

    Residents don’t pay income tax and they get a rebate. The price of gasoline to the other 48 states (or the world for that matter, a commodity) is fixed at market price.

    Anything she didn’t negotiate to keep on the behalf of Alaska would have been profit kept by the oil company! She did a good thing for alaskan citizens and she brought extra domestic capacity online for the US and got the oil companies to competitively bid (the companies who bid for the right to drill) and pay top dollar to the taxpayers for the right to do so.

    Here’s a pointer to an aritcle by a conservation group about the alaska permanent fund if you’re interested… It’s good.

    The Alaska Permanent Fund1 is a case study in a new concept of the role of government – that of agent to equitably distribute resource rents to the people, thereby securing democratic common heritage rights to land and natural resources.
    http://www.earthrights.net/docs/alaska.html

    As far as federal subsidies, I don’t get the big deal, 65% OF ALASKA IS FEDERAL LAND!

    Alaska is twice as big as texas. What’s the taxes per square mile? someone has to pay for that pipeline and all the wildlife preserves. Infrastructure spending is relative to size, not population. But i get it, it sounds weird.

  56. Beldar says:

    Mr. DeMent:

    There is no windfall profits tax on oil companies in Alaska. There is a severance tax, and it was in place, at very nearly the same rates, before Gov. Palin took office, although the previous version was negotiated in a secret deal behind closed doors by the ethically challenged Murkowski administration that Gov. Palin ran out of town. Under her administration, the tax — as re-named and re-negotiated in transparent, public discussions that gathered a broad bipartisan consensus — went from a base rate of 22.5% to 25%; it became slightly more progressive on the portion of revenues running from $30/bbl to $92.50/bbl (going from 0.25% to 0.40%); and actually cut taxes on the portion of revenues in excess of $92.50/bbl (from 0.25% to 0.1%).

    Neither I nor Gov. Palin support the kind of windfall profits tax that Barack Obama would impose on shareholders of energy companies to redistribute income from them to more favored classes. Although she’s been tough in negotiations with them — since they’re economic adversaries of the people of Alaska — she’s frankly recognized that in trying to maximize their own profits, the energy companies’ CEOs are simply serving the interests of their constituents. She’s also set the big oil companies in competition with one another, which is spurring them to better performance, increased capital investment, and more risk-taking (see below, re pipeline).

    When — as in Alaska — the state government is running a surplus, has already contributed to its long-term contingency fund against the day its oil & gas resources are depleted, and is face with a decision whether to spend the people’s money (acquired by the sale of the people’s natural resources) or rebate it to them per capita, I’m in favor of letting people have their money.

    As for subsidies for Alaska: Vast portions of Alaska are under federal control in one way or another, and the history of subsidies there long predates the Palin administration. Palin has split with the pork barrel politicians of her own party, at considerable political risk to herself.

    She wants Alaska to contribute more to the United States, and toward that end she has pushed through negotiations leading to legislation leading to competitive bidding leading to a contract to start laying a cross-state natural gas pipeline. The pipeline will not only benefit Alaska’s own citizens (who have among the worst access to affordable energy of anyone in America) but will also bring Alaskan natural gas to the Lower 48. No other state governor has struck remotely as impressive and substantive a blow toward solving our national energy crisis. Gov. Palin has actually accomplished more on energy in 21 months as governor than her predecessor did in two terms, or than Congress has done in the last 20 years.

    Socialist? Communist? Sir, you disrespect a generation of cold warriors and all those who died at the hands of the real communists by making such an ill-informed comparison.

    Finally: Palin supporters don’t think she’s The Messiah. Pogo sticks notwithstanding, I’d suggest you consider capitalizing the “G” in “God” but not the “S” in “she” when you’re referring to the deity and Gov. Palin.

  57. menlom says:

    jpe,
    I don’t know why they say the governor officially lives in Juneau, but they do.

    On the per diems, I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t you claim a per diem you job rules say you’re entitled to? She’s clearly traveling, so ONE of the residences (juneau or wasilla) is going to be considered ‘away’ half the time. She has to eat.

    I suppose they could have done it the other way around and said her home is Wasilla and then she’d be collecting a per diem in the governor’s mansion which probably would look just as silly.

    In any case, running the Juneau mansion has got to cost more in expenses than $1800/mo (or $900 since she only claimed half the days) in per diems even just counting the personal chef she got rid of. or flying back and forth to juneau in the jet for $450k/yr, or $1200+/day.

    cool by me whatever she does with the $60/day, taxpayers are way ahead. buy candy bars for the kid, whatever. the whole point of a per diem instead of itemized expenses is that it shifts the responsibility to the employee. the employee can optimize the money how they want and the company keeps the expenses below a ceiling, saves money and has no paperwork.

    from my point of view, as long as she isn’t passing out at meetings, if she wants to skip 3 meals a day and pocket the cash, that’s what it’s there for. to avoid the government from ever having to argue about $200 dinners and whether it was fair to take a one block taxi ride for lunch. she gets some travel expenses covered and she’s responsible their money. $60/day total for half a year for a governor of a state’s incidentals doesn’t seem like much to me.

    bush probably blows through that in a good weekend, but that’s another story…

  58. just me says:

    I am willing to bet every state in the union has some type of per diem or other compensation package for governor’s when they are traveling-since every governor would generally have a home outside the governor’s mansion.

    So really the only thing you can say is she claimed less than her predesessors which doesn’t really hurt her at all.

  59. jpe says:

    I don’t know why they say the governor officially lives in Juneau, but they do.

    Where the governor “officially lives” is irrelevant. What matters per the per diem rules is where the governor spends most of his/her working time.

    In Palin’s case, that’s Anchorage.

  60. jpe says:

    I don’t know why they say the governor officially lives in Juneau, but they do.

    Where the governor “officially lives” is irrelevant. What matters for the per diem rules is where the governor spends most of his/her working time.

    In Palin’s case, that’s Anchorage.

  61. Rick DeMent says:

    Under her administration, the tax — as re-named and re-negotiated in transparent, public discussions that gathered a broad bipartisan consensus — went from a base rate of 22.5% to 25%;

    Ah so she is a tax raiser … even better, then she took the proceeds a redistributed it to Alaskans, no wonder she is so populer.

    as for my shameful comparison of Palin to communists I’m sorry, you see what I was doing is actually spoofing right wingers when they claim that Obama is a socialist, there is no proposal and frankly no proposal by anyone in the mainstream of the Democratic party that has ever proposed anything marginally Socialists, but many on the right love to trot out that hobby horse to scare the mouth breathers that buy into that crap (well there is the takeover of Freddie and Fannie but that was bi-partisan).

    no Palin is not a communist, but then again she is not exactly a pork busting bulldog either and Obama is not a socialist.

  62. Dantheman says:

    “then again she is not exactly the polar opposite of a pork busting bulldog”

    Fixed!

  63. Dick says:

    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 the money into the empty Governor’s Mansion in Juneau. That is not efficient or ethical.

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

  64. menlom says:

    Another data point, California’s governor commutes from Brentwood to his state capital too (Sacramento).

    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/07/local/me-arnold7

    The alaskan legislature is only in session for 3-4 months. It’d be hard to move a family of 5 kids for a 90-120 day period each year.

  65. Michael says:

    The alaskan legislature is only in session for 3-4 months. It’d be hard to move a family of 5 kids for a 90-120 day period each year.

    No it’s not.