Thursday, 18 June 2009

Sarah Palin's opacity (oops, transparency?)


Gov. Sarah Palin is telling the Alaska Public Offices Commission she doesn’t want to disclose the discount her husband, Todd, receives on purchases of Arctic Cat snowmachines.

According to the terms of his sponsorship agreement, the exact amount of the discount is confidential as a proprietary trade secret,” the governor wrote to APOC officials on Monday.

APOC may buy this BS, but would the IRS be so lenient?


Sarah Palin is truly transparent, her administration is shrouded in it.

Celtic Diva was sent a jargon-ridden letter about how long their incompetent, stone age IT people take to retrieve e-mails when somebody requests information under FOIA and how the costs to requesters escalate accordingly.

People have to pay through the nose for their incompetence and there's a very high probability of paying thousands of dollars for blank, redacted pages.

Sarah Palin's administration play the "transparency" game really well. They deserve a trophy...
.

44 comments:

sjk from the belly of the plane said...

handcuffs soon.

Anonymous said...

If this matter becomes another ethics violation or Alaska investigation, it will go no place.

The place for some real investigating is with the IRS, because they have the strongest motive, namely, collecting any and all back taxes owed.

It depends how the Palins file, for example, (and I'm not tax attorney), does Todd lists his income as "Artic Cat Spokesperson, value receive $whatever amount"?? If he gets to "buy" new merchandise at factory prices, doesn't he have to declare the difference as income?? Are the fancy embroidered jackets income or gifts??

And, at the Artic Cat end of things, don't they have to declare a dollar amount for services rendered, per our contract with our spokesperson? If they don't, they are probably in bigger trouble than Todd.

I think that people who know how to read these things should request income tax statements through the Freedom of Information Act. I hope that there is an investigative reporter (not from Alaska) who thinks this is something worthwhile to pursue. Our biggest hint that it's a good story is the fact that Sarah has really hunkered down on the issue. Even though she ran on the platform of transparency in government, she is not the spokesperson for that cause-- no embroidered jacket!

Vaughn said...

The only people that will see Sarah's tax returns is the IRS.
Tax returns are not subject to
FOIA.
The only reason we got to see
her 2006/2007 returns was because
she was running in a national election.

EyeOnYou said...

Just a heads up on Palin wanting to keep this Arctic Cat information secret.......
Perhaps they forgot about this article from Sports Illustrated that shared a bit of information on just how well Todd is sponsored:

Some Iron Doggers have spent upwards of $30,000 to finance a once-in-a-lifetime run into the wild heart of Alaska. Tapping their credit cards, they’ve shelled out $10,000 each for a 2009 snow machine, $10,000 more for an identical training sled, $2,500 for the race entry fee and a few thousand more for trailing airplane support. Palin and Davis, in contrast, have spent almost nothing. They are prodigiously sponsored, with their names monogrammed in script on their matching Arctic Cat jackets. (Palin even has the names of his five kids and his wife, SARAH, THE GOV, appliqu√©d on his snow machine hood.) They give inspirational speeches at trade shows. They are both adored and reviled. They are the New York Yankees of snow machining.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/the_bonus/03/10/palin/index.html

It is also interesting to note that Palin claimed that the jacket she wore was given to her via Scott Davis, after his wife monogrammed Sarah's name on it, but Arctic Cat does that for the guys, and I find it rather questionable that Regina Davis did this, after finding thread that matches exactly to what Arctic Cat uses, when the most likely story is that Arctic Cat did it for Sarah and Regina.

sjk from the belly of the plane said...

this aint no ethics violation. it will be an IRS investigation.

Anonymous said...

When I used to write grant requests, I always had to list any "in kind" amounts my organization matched to the granting foundation's funding such photocopying, office supplies, etc. "In kind" was treated as specific dollar value, just not as cash.

Seems to me these steep Arctic Cat discounts have "in kind" value in much the same way.

VR

Anonymous said...

Well, Vaughn, if Sarah wants to run for President in 2012, I guess we will just have to wait until then to see those income tax returns. So the matter really doesn't go away; it's just delayed a bit. Does the same rule apply if she runs for the Senate?

regina said...

Anon@21:24,

She would have to beat Lisa Murkowski for the Senate. Not very likely...

Reg

Anonymous said...

Someone over at The Mudflats posted the link to the Palin 2007 taxes: http://tinyurl.com/lk9v4l
(shortened link; following .com/ the two characters at the beginning and the end of the 6 characters are the lower case letter "l" not a numeral)
There are 24 pages; you'll see that Todd hardly spent anything on equipment, and I believe that he is required to list any winnings (prize money) as income. Enjoy the tax returns.

Vaughn said...

I couldn't find anywhere that a
person running for the Senate had
to reveal their tax returns.
They do have to file a Financial
disclosure statement.
The federal statement is different
than the one that Sarah fills out
because she fills out the amounts
and on the federal one they only
have to check off a range under
which each item falls.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget that Walt Monegan use to be The commissioner at APOC before Palin fired him.

Hopefully, he still has some friends there. From what I have heard, he was very well liked. Not too many people were happy about him getting fired.

Wether this will have any bearing on a decision...I don't know. Palin has too many people in her pocket!

Ginger

Anonymous said...

Walt Monegan was the Commissioner of Public Safety; he was not on the Alaska Public Offices Commission. APOC deals with disclosure forms.

basheert said...

Once again:

If you believe the Palins are cheating on their taxes, or receiving gifts they are not reporting, you may file a complaint with the IRS.

In order to do this, you must reside in the same state as they do or the IRS will not touch your complaint.

WE do not need to have this information. The IRS needs to have this information and they can get it.

This is done all the time by the IRS. But it must be done locally and by an Alaskan.

It appears she and Todd get all these gifts. It is also possible they have reported this stuff and there is nothing here. The IRS can find that out.

But there is no way we're going to be able to force her to provide that info.

So send in the big Dogs.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, they paid ZERO for the equipment and jackets. Zero! Or that is what someone is claiming in the comments section on Gryphens blog.

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

OT*Warning* Watch out for "MONTEY" on the Truther forum! IT is a troll prob from peeland or TS!
It already wrote nastiness on my wall!
I hope Patrick kicks it off the forum. Otherwise just everyone beware of it!

Helen said...

This is OT but apparently Olive Garden didn't pull their ads from Letterman after all....another hollow victory bites the dust...(and everyone can still enjoy unlimited breadsticks)

Olive Garden spokesman says the Politico report from earlier today is erroneous, that no Olive Garden official confirmed his report...

Read more at hotairpundit.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I agree Basheert, frankly I wish Alaskan activists would hone in on the IRS instead of smaller fry complaints.

But then I want them to rise up and recall.

::sigh::

Anonymous said...

I am not an Alaskan, but I would financially contribute to any recall effort. Even if the Recall Movement was unsuccessful, it would still be part of her "governing history/bio." Opponents would always be able to refer to it. Spearhead it, pls. Alaskans!

(I don't think the other possible GOP 2012 nominees such as Romney, Huckabee, Jindal, etc., have faced recall movements as governors. Does anyone else know if they have?)

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Please go to Phils blog ASAP!
http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2009/06/saradise-lost-book-2-chapter-63-some.html

Possible threats being made agains Alaskan's wishing the TRUTH!!!

Helen said...

Anonymous 4:07

I have been thinkig what how to respond to you. Why don't we get a few of us together and write to
Gryphen? We will ask/plead with him to help us find someone in Alaska willing to start a recall process, including a website that will take funds. I would write him by myself, but it would be much more effective if a few of us wrote him together. I don't know who else to ask, any ideas anyone?

Anonymous said...

@Helen, I am Anon 4:07. Thanks for your response. Yes, let's ask Gryphen. I will write into his blog later today and ask. Even if the Recall effort fails, as I wrote above, it would still become part of Palin's governing history/bio.

Rogue said...

Just a few thoughts based on the 2007 tax return.

1. Purchased a 2006 cat in 2005 (so must have been new) for only $2,781. Sold it at the end of 2007 for $5,000. So obviously some discounting going on.

2. Were able to purchase 2 sleds for $7,460, so $3,730 each. Again, discounted.

3. How many years has he had a loss on his snow racing? Could have a hobby loss problem, which means he couldn't deduct the losses.

4. For being such good Christians, they aren't very good at tithing.

5. Not that important, but I find it interesting that Piper has almost $1,700 in dividends, but Willow (the only other under 14 in 2007) had none - or at least less than $850.

6. Also interesting is that the return was filed 9/3/08 (directly after the convention) and prepared by H&R Block. You would think that if they didn't file until after the nomination, they would have had a high-dollar CPA go over the return with a fine-tooth comb before releasing it.

Rogue said...

Correction on item 5 above - it's Piper's Permanent Fund dividends. So where are Willow's PF dividends. For some reason they elected to pick up Piper's kiddie tax dividends but not Willow's.

Dianne said...

Hey everybody! OT but, lighting the virtual candles on the virtual cake. Let's all say it together - HAPPY BIRTHDAY REGINA!!!!! Have a wonderful celebration, wishing you the best and thanks for all you do.

regina said...

Thanks, Dianne!

Had a lovely lunch with friends. Big dinner with more friends tomorrow!

Reg

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...

Hi Crystalwolf,

the user that you mentioned is now under strict observation on Team Truther. It's very easy for us to deal with those incidents on Team Truther. Apart from that, I would like to ask anyone who hasn't done so to take a look at www.teamtruther.com, the new interactive website for "Trig Truthers" and others who are opposed to Sarah Palin. We reached the number of 100 members on the first day which was a very good experience! Thank you!

Kyra said...

Rogue,
Before I became a counselor, I used to do bookkeeping a tax preparation for small businesses and a non profit. I had a CPA that I worked with (I did everything, then passed on to her to review and make sure I hadn't missed anything before filing - much cheaper for the client). Typically for a small business, especially if it is not even close to the main source of family income, the IRS allows 3 years of loss before they even begin to pay attention. Since Todd has been doing this for years, I'm not sure how they are doing the paperwork.

Often, especially if someone has a high-value home, people operate a small business from home in order to file a Schedule C legally, thus being able to deduct such things as phone, internet, cell phone, office supplies, mileage, etc. If it's legitimate, no problem since most middle-class families are only able to deduct mortgage interest. You have to tithe a lot and donate a lot to charity and have huge medical expenses for it to be enough to itemize. With a small business, you can manage to partially expense a lot of the things you would use normally. As long as you don't try to expense them at 100% and keep good records, you could show a loss (or better, a wash) each year without attracting attention.

The return that the Palin's filed, however, will. There is likely an attachment that we haven't seen that satisfies the IRS to explain the deductions. If she runs for president or national office of some sort, she won't get away with it, but she appears to have Alaska in her pocket so who knows.

I see that the IRS has changed their website and the link to file a whistleblower complaint is now a loop that takes you right back to the menu. ???? Hopefully just a tech error. :-)

Tara said...

Happy Birthday Regina!
Thank you for all you do here, I hope it is a wonderful day.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add my two cents worth to the discussion of Palin Taxes and Deductions:

I am an artist, and my studio is a special room in our house. Saves on commuting, I can work odd hours, and there are very specific rules about what I can deduct and what I can't.

The room has to be dedicated to that purpose and nothing else. For example, an artist friend of mine added a sitting area to his studio, a place where clients could sit comfortably, look at his pictures and discuss business. When he added a sleeper sofa for guests to stay overnight, he got into alot of trouble because it was both a studio and a guest room. His house was large enough to have put the guest someplace else.

If I rented a studio outside of my home, the rent would include heat, electricity, garbage removal.
There are complicated formulas for figuring how our heating bill heats my studio, how our garbage pick up includes the mess from my studio. The accountant knows how to figure what is appropriate and what would be too much. Deduct too much and you'd be waving the red flag in front of the IRS.

To tell you how complicated this has become as more and more people operate business out of their homes, where I live people must use their company-issued cell phone only for business, and not for personal calls. But it is too hard to enforce; people do use their business phones for personal calls, and this overlap has extending into the home as more person do business from home in today's electronic world.

The same problem exists in Alaska where Celtic Diva has to pay thousands of dollars to read Sarah's emails. Sarah has the bad habit of sending personal messages on her government blackberry. Sarah tried to invoke some kind of confidentiality, however since Todd was cc'd on government emails (and he is not a government employee) there wasn't any confidentiality after all-- they are still fighting this one out.

I don't know if the Palin's deductions are too low, too high or just right (sorry, Goldilocks).
I do think that there is a conflict of interest when Arctic Cat cashes in on Sarah's high profic as governor to get attention for their product through Todd. She should have worn a plain coat to start the race; she can wear the Arctic Cat duds when she is riding around on one of those discounted snow mobiles.

I think that Sarah's other big problem is that she has accepted gifts valued over $150. without declaring them. Neither she nor any member of her family are allowed to benefit from her office, including travel, entertainment, and all that other good stuff. Sarah claims that if she doesn't open the envelope containing the check, or the box with the present inside, it doesn't count. Tell that to the IRS! And, Todd gets a discount, but she won't say how much-- there is just too much secrecy for someone whose platform was open, honest government.

Sorry to go on so long.

FEDUP!!! said...

I just wish that peple from Alaska will call/notify the IRS about this whole shebang. It is inconceivable that she should be able to get away with all that fundraising, and not have to declare ANY of it as ordinary income. If that was the case, why can't I as a regular Jane Doe do it too? (Or... CAN I??? If so, PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME HOW!)

Kyra said...

When the issue with the Arctic Cat coat first came up, I checked out the cost, new, of the coat (minus personalized monogramming of course) and that model retailed for $179, so obviously over the $150 limit.

Regardless of how received, it's the value that matters to the IRS. For God's sake. When someone wins a car on a game show, they pay taxes on the manufacturer's suggested retail, not what they could buy it for locally after wheeling and dealing it down or if their brother-in-law was a dealer and gave to them for cost plus.

I think if Palin gets approval for this exemption she's requesting, her political career is over. It may fly in Alaska, but the national party isn't stupid and this is just to toxic for them to accept IMHO. No way would the national media leave this alone should she make it to the primaries. Her GOP competitors are definitely watching this closely.

Her handlers are way not ready for prime time - I think Todd is in over his head and she' doesn't know how to (or want to) tell him to stay out of it.

Kyra said...

FEDup,
Whistleblowers can report someone anonymously to the IRS. Go to IRS.gov

Last time I checked though (yesterday), the link for reporting led back to the main menu. There may be a better link if you go check it out however.

regina said...

The link to the Whistleblowers page:

http://www.irs.gov/compliance/article/0,,id=180171,00.html

There's a direct link on the sidebar!

FEDUP!!! said...

I thought you have to live in Alaska to blow the whistle on Palin?

Kyra said...

They're more likely to take action on a complaint filed by a named individual, but you can file an anonymous complaint. If you file with your name, it is kept anonymous from the individual you are complaining about. But, anonymous means they don't know who you are (therefore, where you are).

Rogue said...

Personally, I don't see how the snow racing can avoid being treated as a hobby, instead of a business. The prize is only $25,000for the team ($12,500 per person) and yet there were over $26,000 in expenses. Total income reported was $17,000, so the difference is probably $4,500 endorsement/sponsorship income, which seems a bit on the low side. But in any case, I don't see enough interest in snow racing (without the governor being factored in) to ever generate enough endorsement fees to offset the expenses. Plus, since Todd only won 4 times, that's a lot of years without prize winnings to offset those expenses.

LisanTX said...

FEDUP--regarding the fundraising--the funds are put in a Trust. A trust is a separate legal entity from Palin. It will file its own tax return, etc. It will make distributions to Palin (and her family) and those distributions will have a tax impact on her at that time.

Same with the PAC. It is a separate legal entity.

You can do the same as Palin. You would need to form a trust similar to hers and then deceive people into contributing to it. But I bet that you're more honest than she is.

CC from far away said...

Regina! Bon Anniversaire!!!

Thank you so much for all you do!! It is a pleasure to read your blog every morning.

Merci pour tout ce que vous faites!

Bisous

regina said...

CC and all,

Merci, merci for your wishes.

Cheers,

Regina

FEDUP!!! said...

I just realized I am almost too late here: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, REGINA!!! (and many, many more!)

Kyra said...

Regina,
I too am late. I get so caught up in the topic as I bounce back and forth between here, writing my blog, all the other blogs I read, research, life, etc., etc.! In any case, thanks for one of the most enjoyable blogs around with a really pleasant and courteous group of commenters! Happy Happy and many more.
k

Helen said...

Many Many Happy Wishes for a great year to come!

Happy Birthday To You,
Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday Dear Regina....
Happy Birthday To You

Toot Toot!

regina said...

Thanks again, you're all so lovely!

Reg