But It is Legal

I really had intended not to mention Sarah Palin again. I really didn’t plan on it, but after a recent discussion I feel compelled to comment again about her use of the per diem. The background for this is covered below:

This comes from the Washington Post:

ANCHORAGE, Sept. 8 — 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.

…She wrote some form of “Lodging — own residence” or “Lodging — Wasilla residence” more than 30 times at the same time she took a per diem, according to the reports. In two dozen undated amendments to the reports, the governor deleted the reference to staying in her home but still charged the per diem. “

Many people have said that this is a non-issue because she is legally entitled to take the per diem allowance. And then they have followed up by saying that she is better than her predecessor.

This line of thought just makes me shake my head. It is flawed logic. Two quick comments.

There are things in life that are legal, but not considered to be particularly moral or ethical. She has been positioned as a reformer and a crusader against pork barrel politics. If that is who she is supposed to be, I would expect that she wouldn’t claim the per diem allowance for those nights in which she stayed at home.

And I can’t help but wonder if she didn’t think about that too. The WaPo article makes it clear that she had reports amended so that it didn’t reflect her staying at home. Why would she do this.

In regard to her being better than her predecessor, well that doesn’t impress me. Compare two murderers, one is responsible for five deaths and the other for ten. Would you turn around and say that the person who murdered five is better than the other.

It just doesn’t make sense.

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