Two additional damning elements of the Sarah Palin “home per diem” scam:
1. Since sleeping in your own bedroom is not a tax-deductible business expense, those per diems (and perhaps the travel expense for Palin’s children traveling with her) represented taxable income to Palin. As far as I know, she hasn’t released her tax returns yet, but there could be an explosive issue there. Voters don’t like petty chiselers, and they don’t like tax cheats.
2. Palin changed the records to conceal that some of her “lodging” charges were for the use of her own bedroom. Years ago, when I took the two-week course for IRS agents working on tax fraud cases, we were taught to call that sort of behavior “evidence of consciousness of guilt.” Evidence like that converts a simple error, calling for a mere civil penalty, into a criminal tax-fraud investigation.
Bonus fact: The people of Alaska got to pay for to send Todd Palin and the rest of the gubernatorial family so he could compete in a snowmobile race and they could watch him. Thrift! Thrift, Horatio!
Footnote: No, I was never an IRS Special Agent. I took the course because I was thinking about the Justice Department’s needs for financial investigators.