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Palin and McCain - Change You Can Put in Your Pocket

Update: Palin found guilty of tax evasion:

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 Wednesday.

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.


---------------

original article below, published September 9, 2008

Palin and McCain - Change You Can Put in Your Pocket

She's as slimy as the rest of the Republicans, picking the pockets of American taxpayers...

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.

She also tried to cover her tracks...

The popular governor collected the per diem allowance from April 22, four days after the birth of her fifth child, until June 3, when she flew to Juneau for two days. Palin moved her family to the capital during the legislative session last year, but prefers to stay in Wasilla and drive 45 miles to Anchorage to a state office building where she conducts most of her business, aides have said.

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.

Palin charged the state a per diem for working on Nov. 22, 2007 -- Thanksgiving Day. The reason given, according to the expense report, was the Great Alaska Shootout, an annual NCAA college basketball tournament held in Anchorage.

In separate filings, the state was billed about $25,000 for Palin's daughters' expenses and $19,000 for her husband's.

That's change you can put in your pocket, folks... and that's exactly what Sarah Palin did.


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Comments (49)

Kev:

Gee, another half-assed article from Lee, what a surprise! Let's fill in the blanks, shall we?

"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.

...Speaking from Palin's Anchorage office, Leighow said Palin dealt with the plane and also trimmed other expenses, including forgoing a chef in the governor's mansion because she preferred to cook for her family. The first family's travel is an expected part of the job, she said.

"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."

...Leighow said many of the hundreds of invitations Palin receives include requests for her to bring her family, placing the definition of "state business" with the party extending the invitation.

One such invitation came in October 2007, when Willow flew to Juneau to join the Palin family on a tour of the Hub Juneau Christian Teen Center, where Palin and her family worship when they are in Juneau. The state gave the center $25,000, according to a May 2008 memo.

Leighow noted that under state policy, all of the governor's children are entitled to per diem expenses, even her infant son. "The first family declined the per diem [for] the children," Leighow said. "The amount that they had declined was $4,461, as of August 5."

...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."


So, the scandal here is supposed to be what exactly? That she actually collected expenses she was legally allowed to bill for? Again, where's the scandal?

If anything, it looks like the WAPO buried the lede: that Sarah Palin is spending much less on travel than her predecessor and actually turned down thousands of dollars in per diem expenses from the state of Alaska that she could have collected. If that's a "scandal," the country would be fortunate to have all of our lawmakers engaging in that sort of "scandalous behavior."

(from RWN)

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"So, the scandal here is supposed to be what exactly? That she actually collected expenses she was legally allowed to bill for? Again, where's the scandal?"

The scandal is the lie that she's any different than any other politician.

You Republican clowns want Americans to believe that Palin is "the great reformer"

TOTAL BULLSHIT. Plain is the same as the rest of the crooks, maybe even worse....

Baggi:

It's true that she is different than most other politicians in a lot of ways. A lot of positive ways.

What isn't true is that she is different from most politicians in a lot of other ways.

For example, she gets paid as Governor and she takes the money she gets paid. The horror. She has power to appoint people as Governor and to remove people from their jobs and she uses that power. The horror. She gets paid per diem, she also gets housing allowance (Which the author of that article doesn't seem to understand the difference). Here is where she is different from most other politicians.

She could probably collect both the per diem and the housing allowance (I did recently when I had to go to training, $70.00 a night for my hotel and $44.00 a day for per diem) but she wanted to save money and didn't accept the housing allowance.

Good for her.

Codekeyguy[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lee,
You are becoming a total flunky (Obamaniac?). Accepting LEGITIMATE PER DIEM is, in your eyes, illegal. Democrats taking bribes are given a pass. You are a total schmuck. At one time, I enjoyed your tirades, but you are now tedious.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Palin paints herself as a maverick - total falsehood. She's got her hand in the pocket of the taxpayer and she takes all she can get.

Ray H.:

Taking money she is legally entitled to is bilking the tax payer? You must not work for a living Lee or you must be working for free, otherwise you are taking money from the company that you should really be turning down.

You really sound like a ass when you bash people for doing things they are supposed to do!

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Grabbing all the money she can with both hands isn't bilking - it's just typical stuff - proving that she is not the Maverick she claims to be.

"Supposed to do" - lol! I guess because she's Republican she's expected to do this stuff, Ray, but nobody is forcing her to charge taxpayers for these ridiculous perks. She wants to...

"You must not work for a living Lee or you must be working for free, otherwise you are taking money from the company that you should really be turning down. "

No, Ray - this isn't salary,- these are the little per diem and expenses that many executives use to pad their wealth - and Palin is no different.

Codekeyguy[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lee,
I worked in a federal government job for 30 years. when I travelled on government business I was reimbursed for my expenses. I paid it out of my pocket, and submitted vouchers to substantiate my expenses and was then reimbursed. IT WAS CALLED PER DIEM REIMBURSEMENT, YOU ASSININE TWIT.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Well - give you a gold star -- but we're not talking about reimbursement for traveling expenses here.

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.

I guess that makes you an assinine twit that can't read, CodeKeyPutz.. It's right up there in the post.

Palin charged per diem while she was eating and sleeping in her own home.

codekeyguy:

Putz back at you,
You get per diem for duty away from home. That is DUTY AWAY FROM YOUR TAX HOME, which differs from your residence. Her TAX HOME, where she earns her salary, is in the STATE CAPITOL, and when she is WORKING AWAY FROM HER TAX HOME, THE STATE CAPITOL, she is entitled to per diem.
Check the US tax code, AND the Alaska state tax code (which for all practical purposes, are the same).
Whould you want me to send you the appropriate cites for you to research? Or why don't you just got to www.irs.gov and "search" for tax home, per diem reimbursements, etc.
Call me with the apology.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Call me when you grown some manners.

Palin took the State of Alaska for a per diem even when she was staying in her own home.... her very own house.

There's lots of loopholes like this that people take advantage of -- but when Sarah Palin calls herself a reformer she's flat out lying, and this is proof.

codekeyguy:

Again in words of one sylable,
Per the tax rules, she is entitled to per diem (meal money) if she is AWAY FROM HER TAX HOME WHILE ON GOVERNMENT DUTY. Per diem IS NOT THE SAME AS LODGING EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT. She did not bill the state for LODGING costs, she billed the state for MEAL COSTS WHILE AWAY FROM HER TAX HOME.
I guess holding my breath for an apology is not smart.....

codekeyguy:

And her TAX HOME is the STATE CAPITOL

Hi Lee. Great to see an update on this evolving story. I think it was you the other day thar referred to Palin as "the gift that keeps on giving".

With her daughter making the rounds on TV talkshows, her new calendar, her constant goofy comments, and now this tax issue thing, Palin has become like another Britney Spears of media attention, where no publicity seems like bad publicity to this constant attention seeker. Palin never seems to amaze or appall me. Palin probably figures that even bad publicity keeps her name in the news. Pathetic.

Tim:

Lee, beyond all your other basic incomprehension lies this fact: she was not "found guilty of tax evasion". Rather, per the article, the state determined that per diem payments should be counted as regular income, and taxes paid on it. Since that state hadn't made that determination earlier, there was no way for anyone to know that they would consider per diem to be regular income. Now they have retroactively determined that yes, it should be taxed like regular income. Sarah Palin's response? "OK, we'll pay the tax on it, per your ruling". It would have been tax evasion if this ruling had always been in effect, and she tried to find a way not to pay it. But it wasn't, and she didn't.

Lee Ward:

She didn't pay taxes on income that she should have paid taxes on... and now must pay "back taxes".

She's guilty of not paying the tax.

Did the tax code change? Nope.

Palin got caught! Palin got caught avoiding a tax that was due.

My spin on this meets the normal standards applied across the Wizbang network... even more so since this is based on fact and not some fantasy Michell Malkin has cooked up...

Tim:

No one knew it was due because the state didn't make a determination until now. No one knew that the per diem was to be treated as income for tax purposes. Until now. Did the tax code explicitly state that per diem is considered income? I doubt it, because state tax officials had to look at the issue and make a determination. So tell me, Lee, are we all supposed to pay taxes that we don't know we owe? Are we supposed to just guess?

Lee Ward:

That's bullshit.

The tax code didn't change.

Palin got caught. Plain and simple. She didn't pay taxes that she should have.

"Did the tax code explicitly state that per diem is considered income?"

Yes - you twit. She wouldn't have to pay the tax if it didn't.

She tried to ignore the tax code and got caught.

Maynard:

The only crime I see here is that Palin didn't get promoted to be the head of the IRS.

Lee Ward:

Yeah, that's a cryin' shame. You'd think a Republican who dodged taxes would get promoted to the IRS top spot -- but then, times have changed...

Tim:

No, she had to pay it because the state determined that it did apply to per diem after a review. If the rule says in plain English "per diem is considered income for tax purposes", that's one thing. If a committee has to look at the rule and say, "gee, you know, I guess it should be considered income", then that's completely different. BTW, I love your new habit, Lee.

Lee Ward:

Yes, the state determined that she was wrong in not paying it. It was income that she failed to claim. It was not "per diem" - she was wrong in claiming it as such. It now has to be treated as income, and income taxes apply.

She's guilty of avoiding the income tax on that income.

It's pretty simple, really, for anyone beyond age 10.

The tax code didn't change - what changed is that Palin was found guilty of avoiding paying income taxes, and now she has to go back and pay back taxes.

It's as cut and dried as that.

Tim:

Once again, the state determined that her per diem was in fact going to be considered as taxable income. They hadn't made that determination previously. Therefore, as the state didn't know how they were going to treat it, there's no reason for Sarah Plain to know how they were going to treat it. Hindsight is 20/20, but nobody knew the status of her per diem payments at the time they were made, or at the time her taxes were filed.

Lee Ward:

No, it wasn't per diem, Tim. She was at home. It was income. Palin is guilty of wrongly claiming a "per diem expense" that she wasn't entitled to - and now she has to pay taxes on that because it's not "per diem expenses" after all.

Nothing changed. There's nothing the "state didn't know" -- the state didn't ok her avoidance of tax and then decide to change their minds. The Washington Post blew the whistle on Palin back in September of last year.

And the state didn't fill out her tax returns and "not know" -- Palin was wrong - she was guilty.

The state determined Palin was guilty of avoiding an income tax, and now she has to go back and pay the tax she should have paid in the first place.

She's guilty...

Hank:

Any reason why you left this out of the article?

"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."

Hank:

Meant to write:

Any reason why you left this out, from the article?

Tim:

Where the hell did you get that she took per diem she wasn't entitled to? If she wasn't entitled to it, she'd have to pay ALL of it back, not pay TAXES on it. The story clearly says she was entitled to per diem. What wasn't dewtermined is whether that per diem was to be considered income or not, per Alaska law. Look at the requirements, and you'll see that it's not set in stone - there are variables that the employer (the state) has to take into consideration to detrmine which category the per diem recipient falls into. Note also that the document in the link provided talks about something called a 'tax home'. Hmmm, wonder where I've heard that before?

http://fin.admin.state.ak.us/dof/travel/resource/tax.pdf

Maynard:

Yup, lee, times have changed. Now a lying Democrat that cheats on his taxes gets to run the IRS.

I refuse to beieve that you are too dense to understand what I meant by my previous comment.

One can hope for change, I guess.

Lee Ward:

I'll try to use small words here Tim.

Reimbursement for legitimate business expenses is not taxable.

Palin's per diem expense was found to be not a legitimate business expense, and therefore it's taxable income.

It wasn't "per diem expenses" - it was income.

That's why she has to pay "income" taxes on it.

Yes, Palin has the option of returning the money to avoid paying income tax on it. My guess is that she keep her ill-gotten gains and just pay the tax.

Her claim for "per diem expenses" was found to be wrong, and she's guilty of collecting income and not paying income taxes on it.

Lee Ward:

It's right there in the first paragraph of the update, Tim.

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 Wednesday.

It was wrong for her to claim that expense, and that's why she was found guilty of avoiding the income tax and now must pay back taxes or pay back the money.

Tim:

It says she must pay "back taxes" on the expenses. It doesn't say she must PAY BACK the expenses. Learn to read.

Tim:

And who the hell gets to decide whether they want to pay back all the per diem, or just a small part of it in taxes. If she wasn't allowed to receive it, she would have to pay it all back. What aprt of that can't you understand. So if I embezzle 100K from my employer, it's all OK because I paid a few grand in taxes on it? They'll just forget about the rest? What a sweet deal. I want to work for YOU.

Lee Ward:

Learn to think, Tim. If she pays back the money she won't have to pay tax on it.

Lee Ward:

Here, Tim - others are already thinking for you so you don't have to...

The additional income will have to be reported on Palin's 2008 tax returns, due April 15. It is not known whether the governor, whose state salary is $125,000 a year, plans to pay back taxes for per diem reimbursements she received in 2007. If Palin refunded the expense payments, she probably would not have to pay taxes on them, tax lawyers said.
Tim:

And if she doesn't return the money she pays a little tax but gets to keep most of it. Money you say she's not entitled to. You're OK with her keeping most of the money you claim she's not allowed to keep? Really? And I have to learn to think? Lee, if you were smart enough to own a business, I really would want to work for you. Think about it. I could steal a bunch of money, pay a little tax on it, and keep the rest.

Tim:

If she returned her salary, she wouldn't have to pay taxes on that either. Does that mean she's not entitled to her salary? Do you pay taxes on your salary?

Lee Ward:

"And if she doesn't return the money she pays a little tax but gets to keep most of it."

Right.

"Money you say she's not entitled to."

Right. She claimed an expense for living in her home. Later she tried to hide this by not including the reference to her home when she filed for the per diem.

Pretty obvious that she knew it was wrong...

"You're OK with her keeping most of the money you claim she's not allowed to keep?"

I'm ok with it? Not at all. I said I suspected she'd keep the income and just pay the tax because, as I said comment 5 above:

Palin paints herself as a maverick - total falsehood. She's got her hand in the pocket of the taxpayer and she takes all she can get.

I'll chalk up the rest of your ad hominems as just sour grapes for losing the argument, Tim.

Returning the ill-gotten gains would be the honorable thing to do.

Palin isn't honorable, any more than she was a "Maverick" - she's a filthy politician.

Tim:

Sorry, Lee - you lost the ad hominem card when you referred to people as twits because your logic didn't make sense. You still haven't shown how an article which says that Palin was entitled to the per diem somehow says at the same time that she wasn't entitled to it. Paying taxes on something doesn't mean you're not entitled to it, it means it's considered income for tax purposes. You pay taxes on your income, right? Does that mean that you're not entitled to your income, or does it mean that the government taxes your income? Think carefully.

Hank:

Lee, how did this all come about?
What caused the Alaska Department of Administration to look into this and provide a ruling?

Lee Ward:

"What caused the Alaska Department of Administration to look into this and provide a ruling?"

The Washington Post brought this to light on September 9, 2008. That's what caused the uproar.

"You still haven't shown how an article which says that Palin was entitled to the per diem somehow says at the same time that she wasn't entitled to it."

It doesn't say she was entitled to the per diem expense, Tim - you twit. In fact the fact that she's now having to pay income tax means the "per diem expense" she claimed was not "per diem expense" at all.

"Per diem expense" is a legitimate business expense, Tim you twit, and it isn't taxable as income. This wasn't "per diem expense" that Palin received, it was income.

Tim:

Lee, read the goddamn link and tell me that per diem isn't taxable as income in Alaska. The first clue that it IS taxable is the title:
Income Tax Implications of Long Term Per Diem.

http://fin.admin.state.ak.us/dof/travel/resource/tax.pdf

Lee Ward:

Tim the twit and his strawman arguments. Gawd you're an idiot.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) owes income taxes on nearly $17,000 paid to her as travel reimbursements when she spent nights in her Wasilla residence, according to a state legal opinion that the payments were not legitimate business expenses, a state official said yesterday.

The payments were not a legitimate business expense, Tim the Twit, and therefore they income and taxed as such.

Or, put another way -- "The payments were not a legitimate business expense"

Or, as I said in 40 above "In fact the fact that she's now having to pay income tax means the "per diem expense" she claimed was not "per diem expense" at all."

Not a legitimate business expense, Tim. Has that sunk into your head yet?

Lee Ward:

If the per diems Palin claimed aren't legitimate business expenses, Tim - the long term treatment of per diem is irrelevant because -- follow me now Tim because I know you're an idiot -- they aren't business expenses to start with - they're income.

"Income Tax Implications of Long Term Per Diem" is a strawman argument, you moron, because it isn't per diem to start with.

Tim:

Lee, try reading three whole paragraphs in. Here, I'll help you bcause you're a bit dim:

"The state this week reversed a policy that had treated the payments as legitimate business expenses under the Internal Revenue Code, said state administrator Annette Kreitzer. Payments to employees charging "per diem" expenses to stay in their own homes will be treated as income subject to taxes, Kreitzer said, and the state will update the employees' W-2 forms."


What that means, and pay attention closely, is that the policy AT THE TIME OF THE FILING was that per diem was NOT considered taxable income. Just recently, they state decided that it was. Tell me, Lee, do you file your taxes according to current rules, or what they may be changed to in the future? If you file by future rulings, how can you tell what those rulings might be? Since you're so adept at seeing the future, could you tell me next week's Powerball numbers? I promise to pay my taxes on the winnings.

Lee Ward:

The WaPo investigative unit is totally into this - and the State of Alaska is dodging questions (See Kreitzer's dodge below). Meanwhile folks like Tim the Dim keep madly spinning strawmen arguments in their behalf.


WaPo:

In September, after The Washington Post reported that the GOP vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, had charged the state per diem expenses when she was staying in her own home, her office issued statements claiming that the practice was fine. "The governor is entitled to a per diem, and she claims it," gubernatorial spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said at the time.

Palin billed the state for 312 nights spent in her Wasilla home during her first 19 months in office, according to The Post's review of expense reports between late 2006 and August 2008. Though the story caused a bit of a sensation at the time, The Post could find no record that Palin had ever been asked about the per diem, which officials justified by saying that Juneau was her "duty station" and any time spent in Wasilla meant she was allowed the state alottment of $60 a day for meals and sundries.

After the election, Palin appeared on the Greta Van Susteren show on Fox News and defended the practice: "We've always followed the law and fully disclosed all that."

What Palin did not say was that she had enough doubt about charging per diem to stay in her own home that she asked the state to conduct a review to determine if the practice was correct and allowable.

This week, a state official said the review found that the practice amounted to adding income to her $125,000 salary and that she would have to treat the payments as taxable. (If the practice had been correct, the payments would not be taxable as an allowable business expense.)

"At the Governor's request, we reviewed the situation to determine whether we were in full compliance with the pertinent Internal Revenue Service regulations," state administration commissioner Annette Kreitzer wrote in an e-mail to the Anchorage Daily News this week. "As a result of this review, we determined that per diem needs to be treated as income, requiring a revision of W-2 forms for any affected employees."

Obtaining further information on the governor's taxes was difficult.

The Post called the governor's spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, and was told by an aide she would only respond to e-mails. However, in e-mails, Leighow would not say how much Palin owes in back taxes, or whether she intends to continue to seek the per diem allowance. She wouldn't say if Palin planned to file amended returns for 2007.

"I am not in a position to comment on the Governor's personal returns," Leighow said. She referred further questions to Kreitzer. But Kreitzer, who did not return a phone call, said in an e-mail, "The Governor will address her tax issue."

When The Post followed up, asking if Palin thought it was important to pay all her taxes, Leighow responded:

"Nothing I have said can be construed to say that the governor will not pay her taxes, or has not paid her taxes. She has paid what she understood she owed, and she is the one who asked for a review of the per diem situation when the subject surfaced last fall. She has done nothing wrong and will comply, of course, with all pertinent IRS regulations and rulings. It is amazing that you would even pose this question, and it seems indicative of a hostile bent to your story."

The Post asked Kreitzer for a copy of the report outlining the per diem issue. Kreitzer said, "No, it is legal advice and subject to privilege."

The Post also asked Leighow for the report. So far, no reply. In the meantime, The Post has filed a request under the Alaska public records act to obtain the review.

Apparently Palin's dishonesty extends far beyond just avoiding taxes - and the state of Alaska is not forthcoming with their "review" that folks like Tim are suggesting exonerates Palin.

There appears to be a lot more dirt being brushed under the carpet in Alaska - as they suddenly have performed a "review" of what Palin was doing, determining it is taxable after all and not a legitimate business expense - they're just refusing to produce the review. Lol...

Keep digging, Tim - the Washington Post is still digging - let's see "the review" that you point too - let's see the decision that said it was ok to what Palin did but has now been "reversed" - let's see where it ever said that it was OK for Palin to claim these exemptions in the first place.

So far there is no proof whatsoever that this practice was ever done the way Palin claims it was...

So how can you say "they reversed themselves" when they refuse to show any proof that there was a decision to be reversed in the first place.

Where's "the decision that it was OK" that has now been reversed?

Your claim that Palin was just following the past practice is unsubstantiated, Timmy, because the state of Alaska is refusing to release a copy of their review.

You can expect to see lots more of this story, Tim - CNN, WaPo, NYT etc. but keep shoveling - someone has to clean up after Palin.

Lee Ward:

Here's the link to the Washington Post's Freedom of Information filing requesting a copy of the review cited by the State of Alaska in their determination that Palin was following past practices in claiming her illegitimate business expenses.

Link.

ke_future:

lee, you need to put the pipe down. palin is the one who requested the review. if she was trying to be dishonest, she would either have 1) not requested the review or 2)made sure the review said what she wanted it to say.

you are seriously making a big deal out of a minor issue. having had to deal with tax laws on business expenses, per diems, etc, i can tell you that they are not easy to fathom. it's almost like the people writing the laws are making it so that no matter what you do, you have to pay taxes *and* you'll be wrong in the way you file.

davey:

Is Lee 12 years old?

Lee Ward:

Yeah - it's all me, silly Lee -- and the Washington Post Investigative unit.

More to come...


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