The Washington Post reported today on what they appear to hope will become a scandal. The title is, "Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home."
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.
The governor's daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel, and many of the trips were between their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.
Wow! That's pretty damning. What a sleaze-bucket Sarah Palin is! What a hypocrite she is, claiming to go after corruption but lining her own pockets from state coffers! All you right-winger Palin worshipers ought to cast her aside like the lipstick-painted swine she is and vote for Obama.
That's the implication the Washington Post wants us to take away from their "exposé." But farther down in the article, the Post offers the other perspective.
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."
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.
Oh, uh.... Never mind.
But don't be surprised to see this charge being slung around the pro-Palin blogs as the left's latest "So there!"