Tag Archives: Earmarks

Palin Returns to a Changed Alaska

Homecoming Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, her office adorned with banners and balloons, went to work in Anchorage Nov. 7 for the first time since joining the GOP presidential ticket.

Homecoming Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, her office adorned with banners and balloons, went to work in Anchorage Nov. 7 for the first time since joining the GOP presidential ticket.

Alaska has changed while Governor Sarah Palin was gone on the presidential campaign trail over the past two months.  The state’s oil driven economy has been hurt by the global financial meltdown and many Alaskans have gotten to know another, darker side of their governor, in stark contrast to the “maverick” hockey mom turned politican who took on the “good old boys” and big oil companies.  The Christian Science Monitor presents an in-depth look at the new political landscape Gov. Palin now faces in Alaska.

When she left Alaska in August to run as the Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin was a much-loved governor with approval ratings near 90 percent; a record for pursuing centrist, bipartisan policies; and a reputation as a corruption-fighter.

Her home state was awash in money, thanks to record oil prices, and residents were set to get big checks in the form of dividends from the Alaska Permanent Fund and a state tax rebate. The economic future seemed secure, with Governor Palin advancing the case for a big, new, natural-gas pipeline.

What a difference a couple of months make.

Upon her return to Alaska Nov. 5, Palin’s nonpartisan reputation is in shreds, a side effect of her role as chief attacker of Democratic rival Barack Obama. Damaged, too, is her image as ethics reformer, with questions lingering over an abuse-of-power scandal involving a feud against her sister’s ex-husband, alleged circumvention of public-records laws, concerns about state payments for her children’s travel and nights spent in her own home, and even how she acquired the haute-couture wardrobe she sported on the campaign trail.

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What’s Ahead For Gov. Palin? Seven Challenges

Gov. Sarah Palin, back from the campaign trail, faces a changed landscape in Alaska.

Gov. Sarah Palin, back from the campaign trail, faces a changed landscape in Alaska.

It appears that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will probably be back on the national scene in two years campaigning as the Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election.  We here at the Sarah Palin Truth Squad have decided to continue posting information about Governor Palin in anticipation of that race.  Today the Anchorage Daily News published the following article by Tom Kizzia on the political future of Gov. Palin.

For two months she basked — and sizzled — in the world’s hottest celebrity spotlight. Now Sarah Palin has come home to begin the last two years of her term as governor of Alaska.

Everything has changed: Palin’s personal horizon, her relations with the state’s other elected officials, the public’s sense of who she is.

Palin returned to her office Friday amid a brutal crossfire between detractors and defenders in the McCain camp. At the same time, however, a new national poll said 64 percent of Republicans consider her their top choice to run for president in 2012.

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Memo To Sarah Palin: Fruit Fly Research Has Led To Advances In Understanding Autism (Video)

Fruit flies are used in scientific research, including the study of autism

Fruit flies are used in scientific research, including the study of autism at the University of North Carolina.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, whose youngest son Trig, has Down Syndrome, is said to be a great champion for special needs children and their families.  Today Gov. Palin gave her first address on Congressional policy should she and John McCain be elected November 4th.  During her presentation she mocked the scientific study of fruit flies in Paris, France.  However, fruit flies are used by researchers to study the origins of autism, one of the special needs afflicting some of the very children Gov. Palin was discussing in her speech.

This morning, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) gave her first policy speech urging the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), “a law ensuring services to children with disabilitiesthroughout the nation.” In the speech, Palin cited the need to do more for children with disabilities such as autism:

For many parents of children with disabilities, the most valuable thing of all is information. Early identification of a cognitive or other disorder, especially autism, can make a life-changing difference.

Palin claimed that the amount that Congress spends on earmarks “is more than the shortfall to fully fund IDEA.” She then ridiculed some of the projects – such as “fruit fly research” – saying they have little or no value:

Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? […] You’ve heard about some of these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.

Watch it:

Palin did not specify what fruit fly research earmark she was referring to (presumably a grant for olive fruit fly research), but she is apparently unaware that scientific research with fruit flies has led to valuable discoveries that have boosted autism research, as a study at the University of North Carolina demonstrated last year:

[S]cientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for..nerve cell connections to form and function correctly.

The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism.

The study of fruit flies has also been used for other autism research and “revolutionize[d]” the study of birth defects.

Palin embraced earmarks as small-town mayor, Alaska governor

Article published in the Seattle Times on September 3, 2008 outlining earmark requests by Sarah Palin both as Mayor of Wasilla and as Governor of Alaska.  Just this year, in 2008, Governor Palin sent to Sen. Ted. Stevens, R-Alaska, a proposal for 31 earmarks totaling $197 million — more, per person, than any other state.  ~ Sarah Palin Truth Squad

Palin embraced earmarks as small-town mayor, Alaska governor

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has touted her record as a reformer against earmark abuses.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has touted her record as a reformer against earmark abuses.

Palin’s Small Alaska Town Secured Big Federal Funds

Washington Post staff writer Paul Kane, in an article published on September 2, 2008, examines the nearly $27 million in federal earmarks obtained by then Wasilla, Alaska Mayor Sarah Palin through the lobbying firm of Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh she employed during her administration.  As mayor of Wasilla, a small town with a population of only 6,700, Palin aggressively sought federal funds.  Details as to the disbursement of federal funds are enumerated, along with Wasilla and Sarah Palin’s connections to special interests in Washington, D.C.  ~ Sarah Palin Truth Squad

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for a town of 6,700 residents while she was its mayor, according to an analysis by an independent government watchdog group.

There was $500,000 for a youth shelter, $1.9 million for a transportation hub, $900,000 for sewer repairs, and $15 million for a rail project — all intended to benefit Palin’s town, Wasilla, located about 45 miles north of Anchorage.

In introducing Palin as his running mate on Friday, Sen. John McCain cast her as a compatriot in his battle against wasteful federal spending. McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, hailed Palin as a politician “with an outstanding reputation for standing up to special interests and entrenched bureaucracies — someone who has fought against corruption and the failed policies of the past, someone who’s stopped government from wasting taxpayers’ money.”

McCain’s crusade against earmarks — federal spending sought by members of Congress to benefit specific projects — has been a hallmark of his campaign. He has said earmarks are wasteful and are often inserted into bills with little oversight, sometimes by a single powerful lawmaker.

Palin has also railed against earmarks, touting her opposition to a $223 million bridge in the state as a prime credential for the vice presidential nomination. “As governor, I’ve stood up to the old politics-as-usual, to the special interests, to the lobbyists, the big oil companies, and the good-ol’-boy network,” she said Friday.

As mayor of Wasilla, however, Palin oversaw the hiring of Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh, an Anchorage-based law firm with close ties to Alaska’s most senior Republicans: Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens,  who was indicted in July on charges of accepting illegal gifts. The Wasilla account was handled by the former chief of staff to Stevens, Steven W. Silver, who is a partner in the firm.

Palin was elected mayor of Wasilla in 1996 on a campaign theme of “a time for change.” According to a review of congressional spending by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group in Washington, Wasilla did not receive any federal earmarks in the first few years of Palin’s tenure.

Senate records show that Silver’s firm began working for Palin in early 2000, just as federal money began flowing.

In fiscal 2000, Wasilla received a $1 million earmark, tucked into a transportation appropriations bill, for a rail and bus project in the town. And in the winter of 2000, Palin appeared before congressional appropriations committees to seek earmarks, according to a report in the Anchorage Daily News.

Palin and the Wasilla City Council increased Silver’s fee from $24,000 to $36,000 a year by 2001, Senate records show.

Soon after, the city benefited from additional earmarks: $500,000 for a mental health center, $500,000 for the purchase of federal land and $450,000 to rehabilitate an agricultural processing facility. Then there was the $15 million rail project, intended to connect Wasilla with the town of Girdwood, where Stevens has a house.

The Washington trip is now an annual event for Wasilla officials.

In fiscal year 2002, Wasilla took in $6.1 million in earmarks — about $1,000 in federal money for every resident. By contrast, Boise, Idaho — which has more than 190,000 residents — received $6.9 million in earmarks in fiscal 2008.

All told, Wasilla benefited from $26.9 million in earmarks in Palin’s final four years in office.

“She certainly wasn’t shy about putting the old-boy network to use to bring home millions of dollars,” said Steven Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “She’s a little more savvy to the ways of Washington than she’s let on.”

Palin’s Small Alaska Town Secured Big Federal Funds

Small town of Wasilla, Alaska

Small town of Wasilla, Alaska, which received $26.9 in federal earmarks while Governor Sarah Palin was Mayor of Wasilla.

Governor Sarah Palin – Official State of Alaska FFY09 Summary of Requests for Federal Appropriations

Link to the Official PDF of the Official State of Alaska FFY09 Summary of Requests for Federal Appropriations dated February 15, 2008.  ~ Sarah Palin Truth Squad

Governor Sarah Palin & Senator Ted Stevens – Official State of Alaska FFY09 Summary of Requests for Federal Appropriations