Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Now This Is Just Plain Stupid

Longtime readers of this blog know that I used to be a state employee here in the "Other Washington", so I know what I'm talking about when I say that Sarah Palin is stupid.

What am I talking about? Only the news that Caribou Barbie inappropriately charged her state over $20K in "travel expenses" to take her children along with her on expensive junkets.

The Associated Press broke the story yesterday, and it's a doozy:

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.
Several other organizers said the children merely accompanied their mother and did not participate. The trips enabled Palin, whose main state office is in the capital of Juneau, to spend more time with her children.
Jesus, what is the matter with these people? Is the background noise of corruption so goddam high over on the right wing that even the bureaucratic equivalent of shoplifting seems normal and acceptable?

When I was a state employee, falsifying travel expense vouchers was something that only the stupid did. Smart people didn't do it because it was so easy to get caught. We even had a commissioner -- the HMFIC of the agency -- lose his job over his abuse of travel reimbursements. And on first examination, what he did was not in substance different from what Caribou Barbie did.

And his now-infamous arrogant response when he got busted? "That's chump change."

And that's pretty much how it appears that Caribou Barbie sees it as well.

Vice President Palin? I don't think so.