Do you ever get the feeling that Tea Party Republicans see the phrase “Ignorance Is Bliss” as a Mission Statement?


Sarah Palin spends $50G on remodel jobs

By Laura Crimaldi
-Boston Herald
Sunday, October 26, 2008 -
OP vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin spent more than $51,000 in taxpayer funds to remodel the governor’s Anchorage office suite and spruce up her mansion and office in Juneau, a Herald review of expense records shows.

Palin spent most of the funds, $45,137, in April to build and furnish three offices inside her suite at the Robert B. Atwood Building in Anchorage, records show.

In June 2007, Palin spent $5,380 for labor and materials on a 72-inch wooden display case in her Juneau office. The case houses a football and basketball signed by players from championship high school teams, native artwork, a Klondike Trail mug and other items, said gubernatorial spokesman William D. McAllister.

Another $1,205 was spent in February 2007 on blinds for an arched window and stairwell at the governor’s mansion in Juneau.

The McCain-Palin campaign said it would characterize the remodeling expenses as “routine.”

“Gov. Palin has a long record of cutting wasteful spending, using her veto pen to eliminate nearly a half-billion dollars from the budget,” said Jeff Grappone, New England communications director. “She sold the state’s luxury jet, scrapped the governor’s personal chef and got rid of the personal driver.”

On the campaign trail, Palin has touted that record.

“I came to office promising to control spending by request if possible and by veto if necessary,” she said in her convention address.

The money spent for remodeling has not been previously publicized. Alaska government watchdogs said it did not change their opinion of the governor, who is well-regarded in a state infamous for its profligate pols.

“The lady’s literally done a good job up here,” said Donna Gilbert, president of the Interior Taxpayers’ Association in Fairbanks, who noted a mayor in Fairbanks once spent $50,000 on a bathroom.

However, state Sen. President Lyda Green - a Republican who has clashed with Palin over policy - said the cost to remodel the Anchorage offices was “extravagant.”

“As far as I am concerned, that’s excessive to spend that much on four cubby holes,” Green said.

The work on the Anchorage site created new offices for Kelly Goode, Palin’s legislative director, and Roseanne Hughes, director of external communications, McAllister said. The third office is reserved for “traveling staff,” who divide their time between Anchorage and Juneau, which are located 571 miles apart, McAllister said.

A Palin staffer said the Juneau mansion’s new blinds were installed to provide privacy.

“The residence manager determined that the blinds were necessary to prevent observation from the street of the family members,” administrative director Linda J. Perez said in an e-mail.

Mike McBride, past president of the Alaska Voters Organization, did not take issue with the expenses. “It’s not a tremendous amount of money. Things in Alaska cost substantially more than they do in other parts of the country,” McBride said. “It’s not an unreasonable number.”

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