Sarah Palin could well be our first woman president. That makes her every thought and act a valid topic for scrutiny. Nobody ever said being president was easy. Even if you have to debate contenders on Friday nights.
Thus a new report out that Sarah Palin and family have been well lobbied by the Alaska mining industry is of great interest. Either because the mining industry is now proven to be an effective lobbyist, or because bribery by way of $1,200 gold-nugget pins is not your idea of independent decision making.
Here is a link to the report and here follows a brief extract:
About a quarter of the 41 gifts that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has received since taking office in December 2006 have a link to one of the state’s most influential mining lobbyists. Palin’s 41 gifts from mining industry executives, visiting dignitaries, municipalities and the nonprofit cultural center were worth $25,000.
I never could work out what politicians and royalty did with all those ugly gifts that other politicians, royalty, and lobbyist shower on them. I once spent a morning in the Truman Presidential Library in Missouri examining the ugly stuff he had showered on him. Seems he kept most of it for his Library and public display. Makes me wonder if Palin has already open a section of the Juneau vaults to start storing the stuff she is getting so that one day it too can go on display at the Palin Presidential Library.
The report notes that Palin kept for “personal use” a $1,200 gold-nugget pin given to her by the city of Nome. Thank goodness nobody will ever have to gaze on that pin hidden behind a glass case and ooh and aah at the personal rectitude of the first woman president.
Leaving behind the trivial issues of nuggets and pins, the linked report does tell us this about Palin and the Pebble Mine:
Meghan Stapleton, a McCain-Palin spokesman based in Alaska and a former communications official in Palin’s gubernatorial office, said: “From the moment Governor Palin took office, she made it clear she supports responsible resource development. On the issue of the possible development of Pebble Mine: this is not about whether you are for or against development because they haven’t even submitted a permit, this is about process and ensuring that any company that wants to come to Alaska and develop our resources is at the very least provided the opportunity to avail themselves of the state’s process.”
But some critics say Palin’s personal foray into the mining issue is dissonant with the image she projects as a reformer. “The tangled web here between big money and politics is really evident these days,” said Rick Steiner, a marine-conservation professor at the University of Alaska who supported the environmental initiative. “Palin ran on that campaign promise and may have done some positive things in that regard, yet we see this tight relationship between her administration and very powerful industrial interests in Alaska.”
A state watchdog agency has scheduled a hearing in November to determine whether the statement crossed an ethical line limiting partisan government intervention in ballot initiatves.
PS. Here are links to blogs that have additional comment on this issue.