Thief ! ! !
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – 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.
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.
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.
On Aug. 6, three weeks before Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain chose Palin his running mate, and after Alaska reporters asked for the records, Palin ordered changes to previously filed expense reports for her daughters' travel.
In January, the governor, Willow and Piper showed up at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood Buffet, an Anchorage gala to announce winners of an earlier seafood competition.
When Palin amended her children's expense reports, she listed a role for the two girls at the function — "to draw two separate raffle tickets."
When Palin showed up at the luncheon with not just Piper but also Willow and Bristol, organizers had to scramble to make room at the main table, said Janet Bartels, who set up the event.