Will Southeast Wisconsin's conservative bloggers go after Sarah Palin with the same gusto they used to attack Charlene Hardin for her taxpayer-funded jaunts? Palin is a much bigger abuser:
Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.I'm not defending Hardin--on the contrary, I have said repeatedly that if she abused her power as a member of the school board, she should suffer whatever legal penalties can be thrown at her. But Palin's case here is pretty clearly orders of magnitude higher. Dan Bice wrote breathlessly--and the conservative wags fair beslobbered themselves in response--about Hardin's alleged 5-minute appearance at a conference that cost $1200 for her to attend. Palin billed her constituents $700 a night for four nights to attend five hours of a conference in New York, plus airfare for herself and her daughter.
The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.
In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.
Alaska law does not specifically address expenses for a governor's children. The law allows for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.
As governor, Palin justified having the state pay for the travel of her daughters -- Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7 -- by noting on travel forms that the girls had been invited to attend or participate in events on the governor's schedule.
But some organizers of these events said they were surprised when the Palin children showed up uninvited, or said they agreed to a request by the governor to allow the children to attend.
Where is the outrage? Or is this simply yet another case of It's OK If You're a Republican?