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Congressman Asks If National Park Service Went Too Far to Accommodate Citizen Palin


Did the National Park Service bend over too far to accommodate Sarah Palin and her family during their East Coast tour, which had more than a few political overtones? That's what at least one congressman wants to know, and he's asked Park Service Director Jon Jarvis for an explanation.

In his letter Tuesday to the Park Service director, Rep. Earl Blumenauer asked how much the agency spent to accommodate the former Alaskan governor and Republican vice presidential nominee during her "'One Nation' partisan political tour,'" which included stops at the National Archives, Gettsyburg National Military Park, and the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

"Many of the press accounts of stops included in this tour, which provided personal and political benefits to former Gov. Palin, suggest that National Park Service resources were made available to an extent beyond that which an average American family would receive,” the Oregon Democrat wrote (see attached).

According to news reports, the Palins received early access to the National Archives, a building that often draws long lines of visitors waiting to enter, and a private escort of the Statue of Liberty.

In the letter, Rep. Blumenauer asked Director Jarvis for a "written explanation of the Park Service's policies on the use of taxpayer-funded resources for publicity events, as well as an accounting of Park Service resources that have been utilized by the 'One Nation' tour."

"For cases in which the Park Service did not have additional personnel on duty as a result of the tour, was manpower diverted from regularly-scheduled services to accommodate the Palin family's visits  and is this a routine practice for visiting celebrities?"

Contacted by Politico, Park Service spokesman Jeff Olson said the Palins received pretty much standard treatment for celebrities.

“We see celebrities on a regular basis, it’s something that we’re used to,” he said. “We give them a tour but we also try to not make it a big hoo-ha for all the other visitors. So it’s kind of standard fare if there’s a celebrity or two that show up, we do a special program for them.”

Park Service spokesman David Barna told the Washington Post that, “The Palin visit was a very minor issue. We reached out and contacted her first. They assured us that this was a small family visit, and it was.”

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I don't think this is unwarranted as some people are suggesting. In my opinion this is the kind of stuff that needs to be done in order to keep every one honest. He asks them to look into it, and if they do and find nothing, great - move on. But leaving every one unchecked is not the answer. 

Um, the fee waiver for Ken Burns filming cost the government a ton more money than this ever would have, but promoting one private citizen that happens to make documentaries vs another isn't fun to talk about.

This is pretty clearly politics all around: Palin using the parks to show off her "campaign" bus (and muffle Pawlenty's announcement).  And Blumenauer scoring in the OR-3, which has a PVI of somewhere in the neighborhood of D+infinity.

The last three short paragraphs tell it all.

What would have been the situation if Mrs. Palin just showed up with no official pre-visit notification to the NPS and why does the congressman even care? Because he'll ...  do anything to try to make Palin look disfavorable. Sarah Palin has just as much right to access to any national park as does anyone else does. She is currently NOT in office or even running for office, she is just a citizen like you and I, what's the big deal?

This comment was edited to remove gratuitous verbiage.--Ed.

I find it ridiculous that anyone in Washington, D.C. would take the time to complain about anyone else getting "special treatment" at the expense of taxpayers.  Every person sitting in the ranks of Congress and the Executive Branch receive untold special treatment at the expense of taxpayers.  Special healthcare that no one else has available, special retirement benefits that no one else has access to.  Countless millions of dollars are spent on special treatment for people who are supposed to be working for us, and this guy has nothing else better to do than waste valuable time demanding an accounting of something like this.  How much of a "waste" do we expect to find here...a few thousand dollars?  Let's try concentrating on the real sources of millions and billions of wasted tax dollars.

OK, So now the Folks that like Sara Palin still like her and the ones that hate her still hate her.
I took it that possibly the Park Service, Etc.,Thought that there would be considerably less chaos if she toured seperately, thus giving consideration to the other citizens interested in touring that day. If I were going to experience The Statue of Liberty, I would hope to avoid being there at the same time as Ms. Palin. If I were in charge I might very well have done as they did.
And I whole heartedly agree with Steve O. Has to be a better way to spend your time and thoughts right now with the work that needs doing in This Country.
So, in my humble opinion this is another wash.
Ron (obxguys)

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