Velveeta-gate | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Velveeta-gate

Posted on Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 3:17 PM

One thing you can be certain Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin WON'T be squabbling about when they run against each other in 2012 is feeding at the public trough.

The Anchorage Daily News reports on Palin's Huckabee-like propensity for gobbling up free stuff at public expense:

Gov. Sarah Palin must pay income taxes on thousands of dollars in expense money she received while living at her Wasilla home, under a new determination by state officials.

The governor's office wouldn't say this week how much she owes in back taxes for meal money, or whether she intends to continue to receive the per diem allowance. As of December, she was still charging the state for meals and incidentals.

"The amount of taxes owed is a private matter," Sharon Leighow, Palin's spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. "If the governor collects future per diem, those documents would be a matter of public record."

The revelation about Palin comes as U.S. senators, including Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, are under scrutiny over back taxes. A survey by the political newspaper and Web site Politico (www.politico.com) found that Begich was one of seven senators who acknowledged having paid back taxes.

Some other state employees also owe back income taxes for travel payments and will be getting revised tax forms, Annette Kreitzer, state administration commissioner, said in an e-mail.

She wouldn't say which, or how many, employees will be receiving the notifications.

The payments became a touchy issue for Palin last fall when she was running for vice president and campaigned as a budget watchdog.

The Washington Post published a story in mid-September that said she had charged the state almost $17,000 for meals and incidentals while staying in her own home.

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