Latest Palin

1. Cheats on taxes. (Didn’t report those per diems.)
2. Lies like a rug. (Her administration killed the Darfur divestiture she bragged about supporting.)
3. Her ties to the Alaska Independence Party aren’t just through her husband, and it’s not only an unpatriotic group but an affiliate of the much scarier Constitution Party.
4. Support for her from conservative pundits reflects the big sophistry of low expectations.

1. No, Our Sarah didn’t pay taxes on those per diems she collected while staying at home. The payments seem to have been legal under Alaska law, but they were clearly taxable income under IRS rules: not only was the “posting” to Anchorage rather than Juneau permanent, Palin charged a flat amount rather than submitting expense receipts.

Here’s the relevant section of the IRS regs:

When are per diem payments taxable?

Payments will be taxable to the employee when any of these situations are true:

• No expense report is filed with the employer,

• The expense report filed does not include the date, time, place, amount and business purpose of the expense,

• A flat amount is given to the employee and no expense report is required, or

• Per diem is paid in excess of the allowable standard federal rate.

Even if Palin had been filing actual expense reports rather than collecting a flat per diem, the notion that her home was only a temporary duty station while her “tax home” was Juneau can’t be made to work for more than a year. Her “assignment” to work out of Anchorage rather than Juneau lasted more than a year. That made the per diems taxable income from the beginning (not just after the one year had elapsed). The Alaska Finance Department has a posted explanation of the rule, so I don’t even see how she could claim that her employer told her the money wasn’t taxable.

If the employee does not work at their PCN duty station at least 50% of the time (vacation time does not count toward time worked at the duty station), then the State must first consider whether the employee works the majority of their time at another location, making this location their principle place of business. If they do, this other location becomes their tax home. This occurs in situations where an employee is in long-term travel status at this other location for a period of time which is expected to exceed one year. It can also occur when a seasonal employee is assigned to a project or series of projects in one general location for two or more years in a row.

Please note, per diem becomes taxable at the point at which it is determined the assignment will last one year or more.

2. Not only didn’t Palin support divestiture from Darfur by Alaska’s sovereign wealth fund, her administration testified against it, and it never came to a vote in committee. “The administration killed our bill,” says one of the sponsors.

3. Palin was never a registered voter in the Alaskan Independence Party, though her husband was for several years. But she attended the AKIP convention in 2006, when she was running for Governor, and sent a friendly video to the 2008 convention. In addition to AKIP’s anti-patriotic rhetoric and its insistence that Alaska has the right to secede from the Union, AKIP is an affiliate of the Constitution Party, which is both neo-Confederate and Christo-fascist.

4. A reader write that the praise for Palin from some conservative pundits reflects “the big sophistry of low expectations.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com