Washington, Sept.26 : Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has accepted gifts valued at 25,367 dollars from industry executives, municipalities and a cultural center whose board includes officials from some of the largest mining interests in the state, a review of state records shows.
The 41 gifts Palin accepted during her 20 months as Governor includes honorific tributes, expensive artwork and free travel for a family member.
They also include more than 2,500 dollars in personal items from Calista, a large Alaska native corporation with a variety of pending state regulatory and budgetary issues, and a gold-nugget pin valued at 1,200 dollars from the city of Nome, which lobbies on municipal, local and capital budget matters, documents show. About a quarter of the entities bestowing gifts on the governor are represented by one of Alaska's most influential mining lobbyists, who said in an interview that she was not involved in the tributes.
Records show that 23 of the gifts were offered during Palin's early months in office, when she was pushing the legislature to address a state corruption scandal by passing a package of ethics reforms.
She accepted 18 gifts after the law passed in July 2007. Among other provisions, the law forbade executive branch officials from taking gifts from lobbyists or from interests with pending state business.
Gift rules for elected officials vary among states, with some such as Wisconsin banning all gifts and others with no applicable rules other than anti-bribery statutes.
When former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee ran for president this year, he faced questions about his acceptance of more than 150,000 dollars in gifts during a decade in office. The Alaska attorney general's office contends that gifts to a governor must be evaluated on "a case-by-case basis."
According to the Washington Post, under the new ethics laws, Palin may not accept lobbyist gifts unless the lobbyist is a family member.