Politics & Government

Palin's staff defends expenses as she gives up state car

Gov. Sarah Palin, under scrutiny for charging the state for expenses while living in her Wasilla home, is actually living much more inexpensively than her two immediate predecessors, according to an analysis provided Monday by her staff.

Officials compared Palin's expenses for items including travel, lodging, and meals to that of former Govs. Frank Murkowski and Tony Knowles. They said she's spent about $900,000 less in her first two years than Murkowski did his last two years.

Her expenses were also lower than for Knowles his last two years, though the difference was not as dramatic.

"With the exception of former Gov. Murkowski's much derided purchase and use of a jet, Gov. Palin is not criticizing her predecessors' expenses, but rather demonstrating that she has been frugal," said Bill McAllister, Palin's communications director, in a news conference Monday.

Still, Palin has decided to give up a state Chevy Suburban – a loaner from her security detail – that she had use of while working in Anchorage and living in Wasilla, said Bob Cockrell, part of her security staff.

"We turned it in today," Cockrell said.

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