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Palin to reimburse Alaska for family trips

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has agreed to reimburse the state for the costs of nine trips for her children. An agreement announced Tuesday settles an ethics complaint filed in October.

The settlement was signed by Palin and Anchorage lawyer Tim Petumenos, who was hired by the state Personnel Board to investigate the complaint.

The settlement doesn’t specify how much Palin will repay the state, but Petumenos said he was given an estimate from the governor’s staff of about $7,000. For some trips, only a portion of the children’s expenses will be repaid because parts of the trip were determined to be legitimate.

The vast majority of trips that included the Palin children appeared appropriate, Petumenos said. But for nine trips, the personal benefit outweighed the public benefit, he found.

He said the state’s existing rules on family travel are “dizzying.” The settlement agreement says the Department of Law will be asked to provide more specific guidelines.

In some cases, after Alaska reporters began asking for the records but before Palin began running for vice president, Palin had her staff amend records to state clearly that the first family had been invited. But Petumenos said an invitation isn’t the key issue.

The news comes just after state officials announced Palin had turned in her state Chevy Suburban and also would have to pay taxes on expense money she received while living in her Wasilla home.

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