So it turns out Sarah Palin told a lie when she reminded America that one of her best qualifications to serve in high office was putting a jet for sale on eBay. “I came to office promising major ethics reform to end the culture of self-dealing, and today that ethics reform is the law. While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the Governor’s Office that I didn’t believe our citizens should have to pay for. That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay,” she said.
Turns out eBay was really a bad move on Palin’s part — poor judgment. Yes, she put the plane on eBay, but she did not sell it on eBay, and she did not sell it for a profit, as she and John McCain claimed.
I know — she never actually said she sold the plane on eBay. She did, however, infer it. And we were supposed to be happy being duped.
From the Anchorage Daily News:
The state has tried selling its unwanted jet online four times and failed. So last week, the Palin administration signed a contract with an Anchorage aircraft broker who thinks he can succeed where eBay couldn’t The eBay thing didn’t work out very well, said Dan Spencer, director of administrative services for the Department of Public Safety. He’s the person charged with trying to get rid of the infamous Westwind II.
The administration made a deal last week with Turbo North Aviation, promising the broker a 1.49 percent cut of the selling price.
The New York Times tells the story of the sale:
It grounded one governor and did not exactly fly off the shelf on eBay, but the jet that came to symbolize the troubles of the former Alaska governor Frank H. Murkowski has landed with a new owner.
A businessman from Valdez, Alaska, Larry Reynolds, paid $2.1 million this week for the state-owned Westwind II jet that Mr. Murkowski’s successor, Gov. Sarah S. Palin, promised to purge from the state inventory when she ran against Mr. Murkowski last fall in the Republican primary.
Mr. Murkowski’s office tried to obtain money from the Homeland Security Department to buy the jet, saying it would help “defend, deter or defeat opposition forces.” He was denied. Later, in 2005, against the wishes of the Legislature, Mr. Murkowski used state money to buy it for $2.7 million.
So the state of Alaska bought the jet for $2.7 million and sold it for $2.1 million. That’s well over a half-a-million dollar loss.
I learned this by doing a few quick searches on Google. This isn’t exactly national security information.
Did the McCain campaign vet Palin at all? Did they even go online to see if perhaps she was telling the truth?
One final note: several times this week we heard from the McCain campaign and from John McCain himself that one of Sarah Palin’s qualifications for the vice presidency is the fact that Alaska is right next to Russia. Maybe that’s supposed to be national-security-knowledge-by-osmosis — I don’t know.
If Alaska is so critical to our national security, isn’t it strange that Homeland Security would deny the governor a jet to help patrol the nation’s borders?