Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Sarah Palin's blurred boundaries
Sarah and Todd Palin are a very close couple when it comes to mixing business with personal stuff. There are a few articles around that illustrate the blurring of ethical boundaries during Sarah Palin's short time in office.
Blow-Pop-Palin has a well sourced post about Todd as the shadow governor and his involvement in Troppergate. One of the links will take you to Syrin's blog and her posts from September last year, when Troopergate was a hot topic.
EyeOnYou did a lot of digging on the Arctic Cat deals, as shown in the comments which appeared in the last thread:
There are no previous indications (including previous disclosure forms) that Todd Palin was under a confidential contract with Arctic Cat, so that would only have happened last season/year. Last year, the day before the election, Scott Davis filed for a business license in the name of Davis/Palin Race Team with Scott Davis as the sole owner. This is a first as well since Scott and Todd have been partners for 7 years now, with no indications that Todd works for Scott.
These are good indicators that something changed dramatically this last year and I think that we all know what that was. Sarah Palin got nominated for the VP slot on the republican ticket and Todd Palin, being her husband, generated a TON of publicity for Arctic Cat due to that, which in turn would mean a much better sponsorship deal for Todd & Scott. In order to avoid disclosure showing that, Scott created the business, listing himself as sole owner of that business, implying that Todd was simply an employee and therefore not able to disclose the deal. When that failed to work with APOC, the Palin clan came up with this generalized statement without giving any specific numbers for the sponsorship. But they forget that Palin admitted to getting free snowmachines that Todd rejected the year before, and they also seem to forget that the Sports Illustrated article about Todd & the Iron Dog gave a lot of information about just how little $$ Todd & Scott pay out for the race, especially in comparison to other racers.
If you do a search on those licenses it will show previous and expired licenses as well as current ones and there is absolutely nothing showing a business license for Todd & Scott for years previous to 2008, so that tells us this was a new happenstance and not something done previously that was just renewed.
Here is a video showing Sarah admitting how she "inherits" the snowmachines from Todd's previous years rejects:
The telling info from the Sports Illustrated article:
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, appliquéd 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.
EyeOnYou also wrote a very good note on Facebook, demonstrating how Sarah Palin, "the Arctic Cat billboard", enhanced the benefits Todd received from AC, therefore enhancing the benefits to herself as family income.
We know that Palin can increase sales on anything she wears. Sales of the glasses that she wears went through the roof, and the shoes she opts to wear brought about an increase of sales, so it does make one wonder why you would not expect the same results when she wears Arctic Cat Gear. Or any other brand name of clothing. Her fans rush out and buy the same items to be like her. Why else do companies provide sponsorship deals with celebrities? To increase sales.
Considering that in previous disclosure forms, the Palins' had no problem issuing a dollar amount on their forms for the Arctic Cat sponsorship, it is reasonable to conclude that the sponsorship increased due to Sarah gaining the nomination for VP and wearing the Gear during the Iron Dog race this year. She and her daughter Piper were decked out head to toe in the Arctic Cat Gear, unlike previous years.
What's wrong with her doing this?
Well, she was there in her capacity as Governor and she is wearing clothing from the company that pays her husband. That is just a bit more than unethical. She is a walking billboard for this company and no doubt this helped her family out financially. Would any of the other team sponsors have liked to have the Governor wear their clothing? No doubt. Free publicity for them, but she wore the clothing of her husband's team, which, had she been a private citizen no one could or should complain about, but she wasn't a private citizen at the time, she was the Governor and that company was paying her husband (and by extension...her).
What we conclude from all of the above is that just as Todd Palin was a shadow governor, Sarah Palin was a shadow member of Arctic Cat, at least since the vice presidential campaign.
The Personnel Board decided that Sarah Palin didn't act unethically in the Troopergate scandal but that her husband crossed the line. As Todd was never a state official, it didn't matter. Very neat.
The same Personnel Board didn't see anything wrong with the free advertising for Arctic Cat. Sarah Palin had nothing to do with the company. She was cold and just being supportive of her husband.
I don't know how much truth there is in the divorce rumours, but theirs appears to be a match made in heaven. When it comes to crossing the lines of ethical conduct, they're very much together...