Alaska Says Palin Owes Thousands In Back Taxes

Gov. Sarah Palin must pay back taxes on nearly $18,000 in expenses she charged the state for living in her home outside Anchorage instead of at the state capital, officials said.

A review of state policy and Internal Revenue Service tax laws determined the per diem payments should be treated as income, Department of Administration Commissioner Annette Kreitzer said.

The charges came to light after Palin was named John McCain's running mate on the Republican presidential ticket in August and became a campaign issue after she was presented to the nation as a fiscal conservative.

"These issues were raised during the national campaign and as result of the national campaign the governor asked us to look into this," Kreitzer said.

Palin had collected nearly $17,000 in per diem payments before she was named to the Republican ticket. The expenses were paid for more than 300 nights she slept at her home in the Anchorage suburb of Wasilla and commuted 40 miles to her Anchorage office instead of living in the governor's mansion in Juneau, the state capital. The practice started up again shortly after last fall's general election.

Juneau, in the Alaska Panhandle 600 miles from Wasilla, is only accessible by airplane or ship.

Palin's spokesman, Bill McAllister, said Wednesday he didn't know if Palin was still collecting per diem or if she would continue to do so.

McAllister said her taxes are a personal matter and wouldn't disclose how much she owes. However, he said Palin would pay the amount required.

Palin returned to work on Nov. 7 — three days after McCain's loss to Barack Obama in the general election. From then until Dec. 14 — the last date for which records were available — she continued to charge the state for meals and incidentals, amounting to $1,168, an Associated Press review of records show. The state released Palin's expenses for the first two weeks of December on Wednesday.

She requested the full $60 a day for all but three of the 19 per diem requests. For example, on Nov. 14 when she attended a formal dinner celebrating the state's 50th anniversary, she requested $28 that day, which covered breakfast and lunch only.

Per diem payments are intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business. State officials have said Palin's claims were permitted because her "duty station" is Juneau.

Palin also previously charged the state for having her children travel with her — amounting to $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office through last fall. She also charged for hotel rooms for the girls in some cases.

Her office has claimed the girls were acting on state business, and Kreitzer said the state did not review the matter.

"That is a decision that has been made for many years by the governor's administrative services section and the governor's office essentially as to what constitutes business travel. My understanding is that all of the travel that's been paid for the family has been for a business purpose," Kreitzer said.

In some cases, event organizers said they were surprised when the Palin children showed up uninvited.

Kreitzer said the ruling also affects other state employees.

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  • by Tad Location: Jamesville on Feb 24, 2009 at 08:55 AM
    The Unwise one, your implication was that she said it, just as the media implied that she said it, time and again. Wiggle and twist all you want young lady, you either meant to fool idiots into thinking she said it or you were silly enough to believe she did say it. I tend to think it was the latter since most of your generation gets their news from SNL and Comedy Central. If you were older and more experienced you would know that politics shift like the tides and in no time at all you will be pounding your little fists, screatching with anger and spitting your hummus and wheat crackers on your TV screen when a newly elected Republican administration runs roughshod over your pro-gay, pro-nanny state, socialist agenda. Keep fluting, new name, same old socialist song. You have not come up with a suitable name for yourself yet although all of them suggest narcissistic behavior. At least you stick with a common theme.
  • by VBush Location: MHCY on Feb 23, 2009 at 08:08 PM
    Obama Snake Oil Co.; We won't take the house or senate back with out true conservatives running, and if we do manage to elect or re-elect another bunch of RINOs it won't matter anyway. We need some congressmen with some balls, and a 'take no prisoner' attitude.
  • by weepingwillow Location: beaufort on Feb 23, 2009 at 10:50 AM
    In the eyes of the Media, if Palin was a Democrat, she would be innocent of anything she was accussed of.
  • by The Wise One Location: NC on Feb 23, 2009 at 09:12 AM
    Thanks Tad for demonstrating your ability, or rather inability, to read between the lines. Notice that I did not say who made the statement. I just asked could something bring her any more publicity than the mentioned statement. You didn't perform so well in reading comprehension, did you? Well, you're never too old to learn, Agatha Trunchbull a.k.a. Tad. You all need to stop exploiting Palin. When she couldn't bring you home the bronze, your superiors began to blame her for your shortcomings. Just like Repukelicans.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Feb 23, 2009 at 06:20 AM
    VBush, I agree that the dems are afraid of her and this is why this story is still on WITN. Anything to try to destroy her credibility, he daughter, wolf hunts, taxes and Alaskas economy....all have come to the front as the big story. Yet the chosen one has appointed corruption to his cabinet, even his own state has shown its corrupt side and gets very little airtime. I now know why dems hate Fox news, they don't want the truth, just the moveonorg rhetoric. Well, in four years we will see a new cabinet in office. Why, because the economy will be an absolute wreck from the "stimulus" (spend as much as you can as quick as you can) program. Be very afraid.....
  • by VBush Location: MHCY on Feb 23, 2009 at 05:17 AM
    To the Anonymous 'Steadfast Republican', the election was lost as soon as McCain won the nomination. He could have named Mother Teresa as his running mate and it wouldn't have mattered. McCain is a RINO pure and simple. As long as we keep RINO's in office and any other ninnies that want to keep crossing the aisle, we will keep losing. Palin is irrelevant. The Dems do fear her though, or they wouldn't continue with efforts to destroy her credibility. This particular case is a lame attempt. They are grabbing at straws, but grabbing none the less. Again, they do fear her. She did energize the base, but it wasn't enough.
  • by Johnny Location: Bethel on Feb 22, 2009 at 02:16 PM
    WITN are you really in the tank for the Democrats. It does seem to me like you are really leaning that way. I thought news people were to be neutral & report the news. It looks like you are trying to influence opinion.
  • by Trash Her on Feb 22, 2009 at 02:02 PM
    I will tell all republicans just let your sweet Miss Palin run for something again and we will show you once again how fast we trash her again.
  • by Alex Location: Vanceboro on Feb 22, 2009 at 11:50 AM
    Looking at the amount of time this article has been up, it's quite obvious that WITN is showing the side of the political spectrum they are on. So much for journalistic integrity & objectivity. Shame on you WITN!!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2009 at 08:39 AM
    Ron: As one steadfast Republican to another, please understand thata the dems will be dancing for joy if we nominate this lightweight. If this woman is the best that we can do, God help us all. Thankfully, she is not the best that we can offer and there are qualified other candidates on our side. Trying to turn Gov. Palin into the female Pres. Reagan would be disasterous. Wake-up and smell the coffee fellow "R's", we can't afford to make this mistake again.

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