Sarah Palin: Blast From The Past

December 26, 2008 9:40 a.m.

Remember Sarah Palin?

Governor of Alaska? Republican vice-presidential nominee? Expensive wardrobe? Can see Russian from her house? Gets her news from a vast variety of sources?

Yeah, that’s the one.

Here at TPMmuckraker, we’ve kind of been steering clear of her since the election. But lately, who’d have thunk it, we started missing her. So, given the prominent role she may yet play in national GOP politics in the future, we thought we’d check in on what she’s been up to since returning to her day job. And from the looks of it, her familiar penchant for eye-catching if ill-advised media stunts, and her impressive ability to deny on Tuesday what she had passionately affirmed on Monday, appear to be in good shape.

Of course, we all saw the interview she gave — and her unfortunate choice of backdrop for it — right after pardoning a turkey just before Thanksgiving.

OK, for those of you who can’t get enough, here it is one more time…

But it hasn’t been all fun and turkey slaughterhouses for Palin. First, earlier this month, Palin, who marketed herself during the campaign as a maverick-y exemplar of reform-minded openness and transparency, filed disclosure reports for free trips she had taken as governor. Nothing wrong with that — except that the trips took place in 2007, and according to Alaska law, reports must be filed within 30 days of the trip. A spokesman attributed it to staff oversight.

That’s just the beginning. Remember that second Trooper-Gate investigation, conducted by the state personnel board — whose members, of course, are appointed by the governor? The one that found, in contrast to the independent probe conducted by the legislature, that Palin broke no laws in connection with the affair? Well, back in October, while Palin was still a candidate for vice president, her lawyer said publicly that she wanted a transcript of her testimony released.

But it appears that position is “no longer operative.” Palin has now changed her mind, and is refusing to release the transcript. In an email to an Anchorage Daily News reporter, her press secretary wrote: “This matter is closed. We see no public purpose in artificially prolonging this controversy.”

And speaking of panels whose members Palin appointed and which then issued favorable rulings for her…

You might remember that during the campaign, the governor took some heat for boasting about enacting a pay cut for herself while mayor of Wasilla, without mentioning that the cut was soon exceeded by a raise, leaving her making more than when she started.

Well now the issue of her pay is back in the news. Last week, a special panel charged with looking at the question of pay raises for the governor, other senior administration officials, and legislators — — whose members were appointed by, you guessed it, Palin — released its recommendations. And, surprise surprise, it advised raising Palin’s pay by 20 percent — as well as boosting that of the others under consideration.

After some lawmakers pointed out that the governor’s pay had been raised by a whopping 46 percent as recently as 2006 — the year Palin was elected governor — her spokesman, Bill McAllister, tried to tamp down the complaints. “Her view is, it’s just not appropriate to accept a pay raise in the middle of the term,” he told the Associated Press — but appeared to be leaving open the possibility that Palin might see her way to accepting the pay hike after her first term ends in 2010, when she’ll likely seek reelection.

Which reminds us … only another year to wait, in all likelihood, before we get to see Palin running for office again! Now that’s something to look forward to.

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