Surge



ABC News’ David Wright, Alyssa Litoff and Imtiyaz Delawala report:

After significant pressure from the Obama-Biden campaign, the McCain-Palin campaign today finally released the 2006 and 2007 tax returns for Sarah and Todd Palin, along with a public financial disclosure document the candidate recently filed in connection with her bid for the vice presidency. 

The documents paint the picture of a well-to-do middle class family with two income earners.  Palin is clearly the primary breadwinner, earning more than twice as much as her husband, even though the so-called “First Dude” operates two businesses –- commercial fishing and income from snowmobile racing.

According to the most recent return, Todd Palin’s fishing business grossed less than $50,000 in 2007 for a profit of $15,513.  His snow machine racing business grossed $17,000 but home office expenses meant that he claimed a net loss of nearly $10,000.

It is, however, Sarah Palin’s income that is liable to draw the scrutiny of tax authorities.  And it is not immediately clear whether the figures detailed in these newly-released forms will resolve questions that have already been raised.

Of particular interest: roughly $17,000 in state-issued per diems for evenings spent in her own home in Wasilla.  The Washington Post recently reported that the per diems and associated travel costs from the state capital in Juneau for Palin’s family could mean a tax liability of more than $60,000 for Palin’s first year and a half as governor.

The address listed on the 1040’s is Palin’s family home in Wasilla, which would seem to suggest Palin considers that, not the governor’s mansion in Juneau, her “tax home.”  However the McCain-Palin campaign maintains that her “tax home” is technically the governor’s mansion in Juneau.

The point is potentially significant because any per diems and travel reimbursements received in connection with someone’s “tax home” would likely be taxable as income.  According to IRS regulations: “If you (and your family) do not live at your tax home (defined earlier), you cannot deduct the cost of traveling between your tax home and your family home. You also cannot deduct the cost of meals and lodging while at your tax home.”

The IRS also strictly forbids deductions for expenses incurred bringing a spouse and kids along on a business trip.  Tax authorities say any reimbursement for travel costs for family members would likely incur income taxes.

But Palin’s tax returns indicate she paid no taxes on the disputed per diems and travel expenses.

The McCain-Palin campaign insists Palin did not owe taxes on the per diems because of an understanding reached between the IRS and the Alaska Division of Finance, giving the state broad discretion in determining whether such reimbursements are taxable. (“Income Tax Implications Of Long-Term Per Diem”)

The campaign also issued an advisory letter dated September 30, 2008 by Washington tax attorney Roger M. Olsen stating that: “she is entitled to meal and incidental allowance payments when away from her duty station and tax home performing services for her employer; it is not relevant that she spends the night at her family home rather than in government paid lodging.”

Finally, the campaign insists she saved the state money hundreds of thousands of dollars on her travel costs, compared to previous Alaska governors.

However, a Washington tax attorney who supports Obama disputes that argument.

“She’s using her state office as a means to generate a favorable tax status for herself,” he said. “You and I couldn’t do that.”

There also appears to be a discrepancy between the income Palin reports to the IRS and the income listed on the public financial disclosure reform she recently filed in conjunction with the campaign.

That form lists her income as governor of Alaska as $196,531.50.  However that’s greater than the combined income with Todd Palin she reported on her 2007 1040: $151,556.  The W-2 form submitted for 2007 lists her wages and other compensation at $107,987. 

Which begs the question: what happened to that extra $88,544?   According to the McCain-Palin campaign, the additional amount represents the salary Palin earned in 2008, during the period not covered by the 2006 and 2007 tax returns.

Palin makes no separate accounting of travel expenses and reimbursements on the public financial disclosure form.  Although the form does include a space for listing reimbursements from any one source over $260, the form simply says, “Not Applicable to candidate

Advertisements

I am excited about Mccain ‘s pick, his own opposition, covered in a white cloth as a Republican. Great Job Mccain and your Camp for puting all of us at risk.

Sarah Palin and the Alaska Independence Party. AIP – Part 1
Comments from Americans: “wow… this is scary scary stuff. Unfortunately, you have to really listen to this guy to get the full importance of what is being said.

he wants to sue the USA in World Court in order to get Alaska to become its own country and gain all the profits of Alaska’s oil. He says Sarah Palin has successfully infiltrated the RNC in order to further these goals.

SCARY stuff. Pay attention People.”

Americans comments on this: “This guy says “We don’t say we’re Americans, we say we’re Alaskans”.

“I’ve never heard Sarah Palin say she was American, but have heard her talk about being Alaskan quite a bit. She was a member of this party for years until she successfully infiltrated the RNC for political gains.

Now let’s see what Glen Beck says about Mrs Anti-America, here.”

Sarah Palin and the Alaska Independence Party. Palin addresses AIP convention

Sarah Palin and the Alaska Independence Party2. AIP convention

Disclaimer:

This blog has nothing to do with the Obama Campaign or any content in this article, is solely my personal opinion.

Every American voter has  the right to question, the integrity of leadership. Half members of my family supporting John McCain, and so far the Sarah Drama, has left them in a big doubt of McCain’s judgement. 

 Tucker, you should know in every household, there may be a republican, independent, undecided or a democrat. And we discuss all issues together on the same kitchen table, and reach the common ground. This is not about Obama or McCain winning the election, this is about the American people voting for honest leadership for the safety of this country.

I used to think Tucker Bounds was a smart guy, but this interview just proves to me how the McCain campaign runs on ignorance. All they do is twist and lie, lie lie lie. They take pride in doing that. Shame Shame. Very good at putting fears in Americans, so they do not get to the truth of their twists. Distasteful.

The McCain Camp put out ads to smear Obama, as a Muslim,and that he is a celebrity, and that he is too inexperienced to be a commander in chief? and yet now they are trying to convince the Americans that, it is ok for them to pick a VP candidate who is so inexperienced to be a stand in for McCain 72, in case of emergency. This  leaves me with my mouth open, to listen to Tucker defend Sarah ‘s foreign experience,as I have followed McCain and his Camp questioning and criticizing Obama from day one . The Karl Rove did not just destroy John Kelly with the lies and smears, but destroyed McCain himself in 2000. Lies and twists are Karl Rove and Tucker ‘s breakfast. I have never met  shameless people like this group( McCain camp) in my entire life. What they do not know is this year’s election is different. They do not get it that, this election is not about Obama, but the American people including all educated young American people, that are just as sophisticated and highly intelligent to know  smears, truth and lies, and so far the McCain camp proves to be very dam stupid in the face of the nation, when they continue to twist stories just for political gains. Instead of complaining about the majority of the American people who are questioning Sarah’s ethics, The McCain Camp jumped on an innocent guy Obama, and blamed him for all the rumours coming forward. As much as I understand that Obama is on the top ticket of the democrats, voters have a right to question their candidates. Be it Obama/Biden or McCain/ Palin.

Americans have the right to know the truth about candidates coming forward to lead them. If that is problem with Sarah Tucker then she should step down.

 Obama did not stop anyone to go through his personal records, including his school transcripts, because he had nothing to hide from the American people. People went to Kenya to dig his information, Obama never hired lawyers to intervene in the vetting process, I am puzzled, to see how the McCain camp jump on blocking the information about Sarah who is a heart beat away from becoming the president. Voters have a right to know the product that is being sold to them. Why employ lawyers, to block investigations. Is there anything she is hiding, and if she is clean, why intervene in the investigation. I blame Senator  McCain and his Campaign for putting Sarah Palin on the sport for political gains. Just to win an election. And they can not come out angry at voters who are just trying to know Sarah Palin. I think that is irresponsible and not fair to the American people, especially the majority that only rely on MSM for information.

IT leaves a lot of Questions unanswered to the American people.

You brought your VP  for purpose of wining Hillary voters, well, sorry it back fired.

Not this year guys, you are reading a wrong book.

It is amazing to hear the McCain camp selling  Sarah from a small town, as the experience candidate and say it over and over to the American people, when you have been  attacking your opposition as an experienced. What is your message guys?

The notion that Sarah has  foreign policy experience, simply because Alaska is close to Russia is laughable and a big joke. You wanna twist you stand, be my guest, American are not that stupid any more, to let your twists and lies die, without verification. American voters will work with you Tucker.

Actually , McSame and this Tucker guy looks very desperate to win an election. Well Tucker your tactic of trying to win Hillary’s voters didn’t work, it just exposed your candidate ‘s lack of good judgement. He would rather put his country at risk to win an election.

Not this year guys, the Karl Rove tactics will not work .

You started this fight. Are you forgetting your 72 years old candidate  pouncing on Obama not having enough experience, and that he is a celebrity? Now you are calling Sarah a rock star of the McCain Campaign? Shame on you guys.

Enough of your smears and lies. Never again. This should be a lesson. This year ‘s election is not about Obama, but the American people that you have lied to from year after year. Enough of your twists, lies and smears.


 

Getty

17-year-old daughter (above with baby brother) of Republican veep nominee is five months pregnant and plans to marry the father of her unborn child.

Palin: “Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the d

By Steve Holland

ST. PAUL (Reuters) – The 17-year-old daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is pregnant, Palin said on Monday in an announcement intended to knock down rumors by liberal bloggers that Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her child.

Bristol Palin, one of Alaska Gov. Palin’s five children with her husband, Todd, is about five months pregnant and is going to keep the child and marry the father, the Palins said in a statement released by the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said.

“We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us,” the Palins’ statement said.

“Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support,” the Palins said.

The Palins asked the news media to respect the young couple’s privacy.

“Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media, respect our daughter and Levi’s privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates,” the statement concluded.

ifficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family.”

MCCAIN KNEW

Senior McCain campaign officials said McCain knew of the daughter’s pregnancy when he selected Palin last week as his vice presidential running mate, deciding that it did not disqualify the 44-year-old governor in any way.

In the short period since she was announced last Friday, Palin has helped to energize the Republican Party’s conservative base, giving the McCain camp fresh energy going into the campaign for the November 4 election against Democrat Barack Obama.

McCain officials said the news of the daughter’s pregnancy was being released to rebut what one aide called “mud-slinging and lies” circulating on liberal blog sites.

According to these rumors, Sarah Palin had faked a pregnancy and pretended to have given birth in May to her fifth child, a son named Trig who has Down syndrome. The rumor was that Trig was actually Bristol Palin’s child and that Sarah Palin was the grandmother.

A senior McCain campaign official said the McCain camp was appalled that these rumors had not only been spread around liberal blog sites and partisan Democrats, but also were the subject of heightened interest from mainstream news media.

“The despicable rumors that have been spread by liberal blogs, some even with Barack Obama‘s name in them, is a real anchor around the Democratic ticket, pulling them down in the mud in a way that certainly juxtaposes themselves against their ‘campaign of change,'” a senior aide said.


Palin “bridge to nowhere” line angers many Alaskans

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – It garnered big applause in her first speech as Republican John McCain’s vice presidential pick, but Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s assertion that she rejected Congressional funds for the so-called “bridge to nowhere” has upset many Alaskans.

During her first speech after being named as McCain’s surprise pick as a running mate, Palin said she had told Congress “‘thanks but no thanks’ on that bridge to nowhere.”

In the city Ketchikan, the planned site of the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” political leaders of both parties said the claim was false and a betrayal of their community, because she had supported the bridge and the earmark for it secured by Alaska’s Congressional delegation during her run for governor.

The bridge, a span from the city to Gravina Island, home to only a few dozen people, secured a $223 million earmark in 2005. The pricey designation raised a furor and critics, including McCain, used the bridge as an example of wasteful federal spending on politicians’ pet projects.

When she was running for governor in 2006, Palin said she was insulted by the term “bridge to nowhere,” according to Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein, a Democrat, and Mike Elerding, a Republican who was Palin’s campaign coordinator in the southeast Alaska city.

“People are learning that she pandered to us by saying, I’m for this’ … and then when she found it was politically advantageous for her nationally, abruptly she starts using the very term that she said was insulting,” Weinstein said.

Palin’s spokeswoman in Alaska was not immediately available to comment.

National fury over the bridge caused Congress to remove the earmark designation, but Alaska was still granted an equivalent amount of transportation money to be used at its own discretion.

Last year, Palin announced she was stopping state work on the controversial project, earning her admirers from earmark critics and budget hawks from around the nation. The move also thrust her into the spotlight as a reform-minded newcomer.

The state, however, never gave back any of the money that was originally earmarked for the Gravina Island bridge, said Weinstein and Elerding.

In fact, the Palin administration has spent “tens of millions of dollars” in federal funds to start building a road on Gravina Island that is supposed to link up to the yet-to-be-built bridge, Weinstein said.

“She said ‘thanks but no thanks,’ but they kept the money,” said Elerding about her applause line.

Former state House Speaker Gail Phillips, a Republican who represented the Kenai Peninsula city of Homer, is also critical about Palin’s reversal on the bridge issue.

“You don’t tell a group of Alaskans you support something and then go to someplace else and say you oppose it,” said Phillips, who supported Palin’s opponent, Democrat Tony Knowles, in the 2006 gubernatorial race.

A press release issued by the governor on September 21, 2007 said she decided to cancel state work on the project because of rising cost estimates.

“It’s clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island,” Palin said in the news release. “Much of the public’s attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here.”

(Editing by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Sandra Maler)


‘Troopergate’ inquiry hangs over campaign

Inquiry: Ex-commissioner brings up undisclosed e-mails that he says mentioned trooper.

Alaska’s former commissioner of public safety says Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain’s pick to be vice president, personally talked with him on two occasions about a state trooper who was locked in a bitter custody battle with the governor’s sister.

In a phone conversation Friday night, Walt Monegan, who was Alaska’s top cop until Palin fired him July 11, told the Daily News that the governor also had e-mailed him two or three times about her ex-brother-in-law, Trooper Mike Wooten, though the e-mails didn’t mention Wooten by name.

Monegan claims his refusal to fire Wooten was a major reason that Palin dismissed him. Wooten had been suspended for five days previously, based largely on complaints that Palin’s family had initiated before Palin was governor.

The events surrounding Monegan’s dismissal currently are under investigation by the state’s legislature. Palin has acknowledged that a member of her staff phoned a trooper lieutenant in an effort that could have been perceived as pressure to have Wooten dismissed and that her husband and other officials also had contacted Monegan about Wooten.

She has insisted, however, that she did not authorize the phone call and was not aware of it. She has said she doesn’t believe any of the contacts amounted to pressuring Monegan. She suspended one of her aides after the recording of his discussions of Wooten with the trooper lieutenant became public.

“The Governor did nothing wrong and has nothing to hide,” the McCain/Palin campaign said in a statement, blaming the issue on the campaign of the Democratic nominee, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama. “It’s outrageous that the Obama campaign is trying to attack her over a family issue. As a reformer and a leader on ethics reform, she has been happy to help out in the investigation of this matter, because she was never directly involved.”

But the trooper controversy has been swirling around Palin for weeks, long before Palin was launched Friday into the bright lights of the national campaign.

Monegan, however, said that Palin raised the subject of Wooten with him herself on two occasions after becoming governor — once on the phone soon after she took office and once in person not long after that.

Monegan also said that the governor’s husband, Todd, talked to him several times about Wooten and that three top officials in her administration contacted him.

Monegan also disclosed for the first time that Palin sent him two or three e-mails that referenced her ex-brother-in-law and his status with troopers. Monegan declined to provide the e-mails because of the ongoing investigation.

Monegan said he believes his firing was directly related to the fact Wooten stayed on the job. “It was a significant factor if not the factor,” Monegan said.

No one from the McCain campaign ever contacted him to vet Palin as a candidate, Monegan said.

Who did they contact? “We don’t talk about the vetting process,” said Maria Comella, Palin’s vice president campaign press secretary.

What role Palin played in seeking her ex-brother-in-law’s dismissal is the governor’s first brush with scandal in a political career that has been premised on reforming Alaska’s corruption plagued Republican party and raises questions not only about her willingness to use her office to further a personal goal but also about her administrative abilities.

Palin’s replacement for Monegan, Chuck Kopp, was forced to resign just two weeks after he was appointed because of a sexual harassment complaint that had been filed against him when he was the chief of police in Kenai.

Palin, in a news conference announcing Kopp’s resignation July 24, said she was unaware that the Kenai city council had reprimanded Kopp as a result of the complaint and would not discuss how her staff had vetted Kopp before naming him to replace Monegan three days after Monegan was fired.

Palin apologized for the chaos that the Monegan dismissal and the Kopp resignation had caused. “This has been a tumultuous week in the Department of Public Safety, and as your governor, I apologize,” she said at the news conference.

Alaska’s legislature is spending up to $100,000 “to investigate the circumstances and events surrounding the termination of former Public Safety Commissioner Monegan, and potential abuses of power and/or improper actions by members of the executive branch.”

The investigation is supposed to wrap up by Oct. 31, just days before the Nov. 4 general election.

Palin will be deposed along with others in the governor’s office and former administration officials, said state Sen. Hollis French, a Democrat and former state prosecutor from Anchorage who is serving as the project director for the investigation. The special counsel just this week was trying to arrange Palin’s deposition, French said.

French said Palin’s new role as vice-presidential candidate won’t change the investigation.

“I think it raises the profile but it doesn’t really change the mission or the work,” the senator said.

Before she was governor, Palin pushed for a trooper investigation of Wooten over a number of matters, including using a Taser on his stepson, illegally shooting a moose, and accusations of driving drunk. At one point, Palin and her husband hired a private investigator.

Troopers did investigate, and Wooten was suspended for 10 days, later reduced to five. That took care of it, Monegan said. But the Palin administration and Todd Palin wouldn’t let go, he said.

Palin initially said that, after she took office in December 2006, she broached the subject of Wooten with Monegan just once, when they discussed her security detail. She said that she told Monegan that Wooten “had threatened to kill my dad and bring me down.” She said she thought that was the end of it.

Monegan said Palin called him on his cell phone one night in January 2007 about Wooten, but it wasn’t related to her security detail. He said he had already met with Todd Palin about Wooten, whom he hadn’t heard of before, and had looked into the family’s complaints only to learn they already had been investigated. Palin seemed frustrated that nothing more could be done, he said.

“For the record, no one ever said fire Wooten. Not the governor. Not Todd. Not any of the other staff,” Monegan said Friday from Portland. “What they said directly was more along the lines of ‘This isn’t a person that we would want to be representing our state troopers.’ “

Palin again brought up Wooten in February 2007 as they were walking together to wish a state senator a happy birthday, Monegan said. He said he told Palin he had to keep her at arm’s distance on the matter and she agreed.

A Palin political rival, Andrew Halcro, was the first to publicly mention the Wooten matter in connection with Monegan. He titled his blog post: “Why Walt Monegan got fired: Palin’s abuse of power.”

“This is a governor who really built her name by stepping on the back of sinners — Randy Ruedrich, Greg Renkes, Frank Murkowski,” Halcro said in an interview Friday, referring to the Republican Party chairman, the former attorney general and the former governor. “And now her administration seems to be taking the same approach as the people that she criticized.”

More of the story came out on July 17, when the Public Safety Employees Association, with Wooten’s permission, released the investigative file concerning the complaints brought against the trooper by the Palin family and others.

The personnel investigation began in April 2005, long before Palin became governor and months before her October 2005 announcement that she was running. The investigation into Wooten wrapped up in March 2006, before she was elected.

Troopers found four instances in which Wooten violated policy, broke the law, or both.


From talking points memo

Getting Real About Palin

08.31.08 — 11:00AM

By Josh Marshall

I’ve noticed some people who should know better claiming that bringing up Gov. Palin’s troopergate scandal is tantamount to making a victim of or defending her slimeball ex-brother-in-law who allegedly once used a taser on his stepson.

That’s awfully foolish. So I thought I’d put together a post explaining why.

The person in question is state trooper Mike Wooten — Palin’s ex-brother-in-law who’s embroiled in a bitter custody and divorce battle with Palin’s sister. Back in the second week of August, well before Palin became a national political figure, TPMMuckraker was reporting on this story. And as part of the reporting we tried to get a handle on just how bad a guy Wooten was. Most people who are familiar with the ugliness that often spills out of custody and divorce cases know to take accusations arising out of the course of them with a grain of salt unless you know a lot about the people involved. And if you look closely at the case there are numerous reasons to question the picture drawn by the Palin family. Regardless, we proceeded on the assumption that Wooten really was a rotten guy because the truth is that it wasn’t relevant to the investigation of Palin.

Let’s review what happened.

The Palin family had a feud with Wooten prior to her becoming governor. They put together a list of 14 accusations which they took to the state police to investigate — a list that ranged from the quite serious to the truly absurd. The state police did an investigation, decided that 5 of the charges had some merit and suspended Wooten for ten days — a suspension later reduced to five days. The Palin’s weren’t satisfied but there wasn’t much they could do.

When Palin became governor they went for another bite at the apple. Palin, her husband and several members of her staff began pressuring Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan — a respected former Chief of the Anchorage police department — to can Wooten. Monegan resisted, arguing that the official process regarding Wooten was closed. And there was nothing more that could be done. In fact, during one of the conversations in which Palin’s husband Todd was putting on the squeeze, Monegan told Todd Palin, “You can’t head hunt like this. What you need to do is back off, because if the trooper does make a mistake, and it is a terminable offense, it can look like political interference.”

Eventually, Palin got fed up and fired Monegan from his job. (Palin claims, not credibly, that she fired Monegan over general differences in law enforcement priorities.) This is an important point. Wooten never got fired. To the best of my knowledge, he’s is still on the job. The central bad act was firing the state’s top police official because he refused to bend to political pressure from the governor and her family to fire a public employee against whom the governor was pursuing a vendetta — whether the vendetta was justified or not.

Soon after this, questions were raised in the state about Monegan’s firing and he eventually came forward and said he believed he’d been fired for not giving in to pressure to fire Wooten.

After Monegan made his accusations, Palin insisted there was no truth whatsoever to his claims. Nonetheless, a bipartisan committee of the state legislature approved an investigation. In response, Palin asked the Attorney General to start his own investigation which many in the state interpreted as an effort to either keep tabs on or tamper with the legislature’s investigation. Again, very questionable judgment in someone who aspires to be first in line to the presidency.

The Attorney General’s investigation quickly turned up evidence that Palin’s initial denials were false. Multiple members of her staff had raised Wooten’s employment with Monegan. Indeed, the state police had a recording of one of her deputies pushing Monegan to fire Wooten. That evidence forced Palin to change her story. Palin said that this was the first she’d heard of it and insisted the deputy wasn’t acting at her behest, even though the trascript of the recorded call clearly suggested that he was. (Hear the audio here.)

Just yesterday, Monegan gave an interview to the Washington Post in which he said that not only Palin’s aides, but Palin’s husband and Palin herself had repeatedly raised the Wooten issue with him and pressured him to fire him. And now he says he has emails that Palin sent him about the matter. (In an interesting sidelight, that may end up telling us a lot, Monegan says no one from the McCain campaign ever contacted him in the vetting process.)

The investigator appointed by the state legislature began trying to arrange a time to depose Gov. Palin last week — in other words, in the final days before her selection.

So let’s put this all together.

We rely on elected officials not to use the power of their office to pursue personal agendas or vendettas. It’s called an abuse of power. There is ample evidence that Palin used her power as governor to get her ex-brother-in-law fired. When his boss refused to fire him, she fired his boss. She first denied Monegan’s claims of pressure to fire Wooten and then had to amend her story when evidence proved otherwise. The available evidence now suggests that she 1) tried to have an ex-relative fired from his job for personal reasons, something that was clearly inappropriate, and perhaps illegal, though possibly understandable in human terms, 2) fired a state official for not himself acting inappropriately by firing the relative, 3) lied to the public about what happened and 4) continues to lie about what happened.

These are, to put it mildly, not the traits or temperament you want in someone who could hold the executive power of the federal government.

Next Page »