On The Corner, Mark Hemingway underlines just how microscopic an ethical question can be from Sarah Palin's mayoralty and still be cited as breaking national news in an "investigation" by the AP.
She gladly accepted gifts from merchants: A free "awesome facial" she raved about in a thank-you note to a spa. The "absolutely gorgeous flowers" she received from a welding supply store. Even fresh salmon to take home.
The story was headlined "AP Investigation: Palin got zoning aid, gifts." Most of the story covered a zoning exception Palin got on her lakefront house. AP's Brett Blackledge cites tiny scandals like these as a way to underline "Palin claims she has more executive experience than her opponent and the two presidential candidates, but most of those years were spent running a city with a population of less than 7,000." According to Blackledge, she was suspect from Day One:
Some of her first actions after being elected mayor in 1996 raised possible ethical red flags: She cast the tie-breaking vote to propose a tax exemption on aircraft when her father-in-law owned one, and backed the city's repeal of all taxes a year later on planes, snow machines and other personal property. She also asked the council to consider looser rules for snow machine races. Palin and her husband, Todd, a champion racer, co-owned a snow machine store at the time.
Palin often told the City Council of her personal involvement in such issues, but that didn't stop her from pressing them, according to minutes of council meetings.
Most of the story focused on the zoning issue, and Palin's failure to remove a carport that neighbors thought should be removed before the house was sold. Will there be a garage question at this week's debate? Or just an "awesome facial" inquiry?