The Washington Post, running through their checklist, has an article looking at Sarah Palin’s state-paid living and travel expenses as Governor of Alaska. Our own Ben Domenech wrote up a response to this, which he asked me to post (there go those tech issues again). Ben’s post is as follows:
…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…
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 whole thing gets even more hilarious when you realize that Palin’s charging less than $60 for trips that would be, if you could drive them, eighteen hours long, between home in Wasilla and work in Juneau. And that is before you consider, as Leon Wolf points out, that you can’t get from Wasilla to Juneau by driving at all – you have to take the ferry.
Read David Bernstein’s full post, quoted above, for the whole of the hilarity, and John Miller for more.
I know they keep trying to throw stuff at her to see what sticks, but OMG, the Governor of a state asked for a $60 per diem she was legally entitled to, and asked for it less often than she could’ve, and has spent 80% less on personal travel than her predecessor! Scandalous!