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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Housing vs. Travel Per Diem

The Washington Post finally scored a point or two against Gov. Palin with its per diem story. It appears plenty of people now believe that Palin charged the state for hotel-type expenses while staying in her home in Wasila (and commuting to Anchorage or Juneau).

WaPo sure didn't try to make clear that Palin didn't take a housing per diem for this time -- just the travel-expenses portion of the per diem. The expense reports show this -- the portion for hotel/housing expense is left blank.

One could get into an interesting discussion about whether it cost the state more for her to commute from Wasila or to stay at the mansion in Juneau, plus what she gained in effectiveness by staying in Wasila -- plus how much latitude a mother in a high-profile position should have to make things easier for herself and her family, while overall spending a lot less than her predecessor. That discussion won't happen while most of those not obsessed with politics have the impression that she sought hotel-type expenses for living at home. The latter would seriously undercut her “reformer” credentials -- the truth, perhaps not so much.

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