Yesterday during an interview with a local Louisville, KY ABC affiliate, reporter Mark Herbert asked Sarah Palin about reports that she doled out political positions to friends, family and campaign donors. When Palin said the people she hired weren’t “cronies” or “politicos,” Herbert asked, “They weren’t politicos, they were just folks who deserved the job?” “Absolutely, yes,” Palin replied. Yet a recent Los Angeles Times examination of state records has shown otherwise:
— More than 100 appointments to state posts — nearly 1 in 4 — went to campaign contributors or their relatives, sometimes without apparent regard to qualifications.
— Alaska historians say some of Palin’s appointees were less qualified than those of her Republican and Democratic predecessors.
— [Tom] Lamal, a public school teacher in Fairbanks until he retired in 2006, was hired as a right-of-way agent despite reports of internal conflicts over whether he was qualified under state law.
The New York Times also reported last month that Palin appointed a high school classmate to a top position in the State Division of Agriculture who “cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.”