Palin to reimburse state for 10th trip for family

Airfare to cover visits including Juneau, Anchorage and Big Lake for her family

Posted: Friday, February 27, 2009

JUNEAU - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will reimburse the state for an additional trip taken by her children, her attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said Thursday.

The February 2007 trip to the start of the Iron Dog snowmachine race was mistakenly left out of an agreement announced this week to settle an ethics complaint with the Alaska Personnel Board, Van Flein said.

Under that agreement, Palin is to reimburse the state about $7,000 for nine trips taken by the children that were determined not to be in the state's best interest.

Van Flein didn't know how much the additional airfare would amount to, but all costs will be determined by the state Department of Administration. On previous travel authorizations, airfare between Juneau and Anchorage has cost more than $500, according to the documents.

For the 10th trip, Palin will reimburse the state for airfare between Juneau and Anchorage for her three daughters. The family went to Big Lake, about 50 miles north of Anchorage, for the start of the race in which one of the participants was First Gentleman Todd Palin.

Van Flein said the omissions in the agreement were first pointed out by a reporter from the Anchorage Daily News.

There also will be an additional reimbursement related to the 2008 Iron Dog race. The personnel board agreement only listed airfare for one daughter, Piper. However, another daughter, Willow, also went to the event.

"We had agreed that any Iron Dog would be reimbursed, so for us it was not a big deal. It was just a housekeeping matter," Van Flein said.

The agreement was reached Monday between the governor and the personnel board over an ethics complaint filed by an Anchorage man against Palin last October.

The complaint followed a report by The Associated Press that Palin charged the state more than $21,000 for her three daughters' commercial flights, including events where they weren't invited, and later ordered their expense forms amended to specify official state business.

The personnel board found no wrongdoing by the governor. But the investigator, Timothy Petumenos, interpreted the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act to require that the state only pay if the first family serves an important state interest.

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