The New York Times has run an article comparing Sarah Palin’s per diem travel expenses with other Governors and states. Compared to other states, her decision to bill the state for travel expenses while staying at home is highly unusual. On her side, Alaska is an unusual situation. Its capital, Juneau, is isolated. Her decision to work near Anchorage, the largest city, makes some sense. On the other hand, she is not incurring any extra expenses while staying at home, and that is the purpose of the per diem charge.
Here is the article by the Times.