October 21st, 2008
09:26 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Palin's Travel Trouble?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer
It's 14 days and counting until the election. Two weeks from tonight chances are you'll be glued to your TV (watching CNN, of course) looking for election results.

Tonight a story has surfaced that has the McCain-Palin ticket on the defensive.

The Associated Press is reporting 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 AP says 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, the AP says 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.

We reached out to the McCain-Palin campaign for a response and got this e-mail just moments ago from a spokesman:

"Like spouses and children of Governors across the nation, Alaska's First Family make public appearances, attend events, and perform ceremonial duties in their role as the family of Alaska's Governor. When members of the First Family participate in events, the state provides for travel to and from those events. Governor Palin refuses per diem payments for her children, which the state allowed for and initially provided until she ordered the per diem payments to stop.

Overlooked is the fact that Gov. Palin Saved The State over $400,000 Dollars In Travel Expenses In Comparison To Previous Governor. "Palin spent about $114,900 travelling in 2007, versus the $516,600 Murkowski spent the year before..." (Kyle Hopkins, "State Paid Per Diem While Palin Stayed In Wasilla Home," Anchorage Daily News, 9/10/08)

The Palins do not require an apartment in Anchorage that the previous governor required and as a result saved the state $19,800 over her 22 months in office.

The Palins pay for travel that is strictly personal in nature. For example, when Track comes home on leave from the military, the Palins pay for those travel arrangements.

Governor Palin is committed to the highest standards of ethics and has significantly reduced the costs associated with the First Family. She eliminated the Governor's cook, slashed her security detail, and saved the state tens of millions of dollars by selling the luxury jet her predecessor purchased.

For example, by Downsizing The House Expenditures For The Governor's Mansion, Gov. Palin Saved Taxpayers $96,133. The Governor's Mansion Expenditures Decreased From $342,616 Under Gov Murkowski's Last Full Fiscal Year To $246,483 In Gov. Palins First Full Fiscal Year In Office."

We'll be digging deeper on this developing story tonight on 360.
Hope you can join us.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Todd Picquelle

    Sara Palin has a husband (Todd). Can't he be at home with the kids; watching the kids? In my humble opinion, Sara doesn't need to travel with her kids since I think her kids need to be attending school this.

    School is in fact in session this time of year, right?

    October 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  2. Deborah

    The simple but essential question is, how long will blatant evidence of non ethical behavior be pointed to before Gov. Palin is asked to withdraw her nomination?

    October 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  3. Anne

    I am sorry, she came into the race claiming to be a maverick, but from all that we have heard about her using government finances to pay for her husband and children's airfare and per diem to stay at home... tells me she is just another politician scamming the tax payers of her state.

    October 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  4. Jeff

    I am a bit dissapointed in this one...no disrespect but let's focus on real issues. You are too good a journalist to focus on travel & expenses of a family politician.

    October 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  5. pamorrow

    What about the phrase that the McCain/Palin campaign is always using "Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk", and the "Reformers". Sounds like more of the same to me!!!

    October 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  6. Steve - Philadelphia, PA

    I am for Obama, but I do not think that this is much of a story - there are really more important issues than th one described in the article like the war in Iraq and the real problems in the the economy and on them Obama has more answers. Thank you.

    October 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
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