Monday, October 06, 2008


by DM

One of the biggest scams in America is the white-collar benefit of "reimbursement."

Executives in the business world are reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses, like meals and travel, incurred in the course of doing business.

These reimbursement payments are not considered tax deductible, or tax-exempt, if they are simple commuting costs (like parking, gas, tolls, or subway fare). These reimbursements are deductible only for long-distance travel, when the executive is away from home.

Some companies have simply reduced the process to a per diem, an amount of money that is simply paid to an executive for each day of travel in the course of business. This per diem is not generally paid for days the executive is working at his desk, in his office; but, it is not unusual for the money to simply be paid to the executive as part of annual compensation.

This would be, of course, illegal; but the practice continues because it's generally only $30, or $100, or a couple hundred dollars a day. Not enough to make a fuss over, if you are managing a billion dollar budget.

It's sleazy and it should be stopped.

It's sleazy and immoral, so it is a popular practice among conservatives.

Come now, Governor Sarah Palin, of Alaska, who

. . . collected per diems for scores of nights spent in her own home and working at a state office in Anchorage rather her office in faraway Juneau, the state capitol. The patterns varied, but the state paid her, on average, $890 a month, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the payments.

Sure, it's only $890 per month, but the problem is not the amount of money, it's the judgment of the governor. She thinks she is simply entitled to the money and needn't play by the same rules as those over whom she governs.

This is the problem with conservatives. All the rules apply to everyone but them. And when you investigate them or complain about them, then you are being mean, or unpatriotic.

See, Palin's Tax Return Missing Travel Reimbursements, and Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home.

The Washington Post article also discusses Governor Palin's use of government fund for family travel.

Palin could have made all this right by filing the proper forms and filing appropriate tax returns; but she didn't. If you made that choice, you would be prosecuted. The IRS and Alaska State Police should be investigating this situation.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Free Ride: John McCain and the Media
David Brock, Paul Waldman

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