You’ve probably read just about everywhere by now that while Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, the city billed rape victims the $1200 fee for their rape kits. Of course, Palin has tried to sidestep the question and insinuate that she had nothing, nothing at all, to do with this mess. This was clearly bullshit from day one, since the mayor of such a small town (my town is tiny and still has 2,500 more people in it than Wasilla) really has no excuse for not knowing what the fuck is going on in it.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that there is now a verified paper trail showing Palin had a direct hand in the policy.
Under Sarah Palin’s administration, Wasilla cut funds that had previously paid for the medical exams and began charging victims or their health insurers the $500 to $1200 fees. Although Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella wrote USA Today earlier this week that the GOP vice presidential nominee “does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test…To suggest otherwise is a deliberate misrepresentation of her commitment to supporting victims and bringing violent criminals to justice,” Palin, as mayor, fired police chief Irl Stambaugh and replaced him with Charlie Fannon, who with Palin’s knowledge, slashed the budget for the exams and began charging the city’s victims of sexual assault. The city budget documents demonstrate Palin read and signed off on the new budget. A year later, alarmed Alaska lawmakers passed legislation outlawing the practice.
News of the controversial policy has leaked slowly into the press this week as the presidential campaign has heated up and Palin’s record has been subject to increasing scrutiny. The practice of charging rape victims has called into question Palin’s stated commitment to women’s issues, her judgment as an executive and her honesty about her record.
The story of the Wasilla policy has made its way from comments on Daily Kos to the pages of USA Today. But clear evidence suggesting Palin knew Wasilla was charging the victims of sexual assault has been hard to find. Placing the city budget records, however, alongside a timetable of Palin’s firing Chief Stambaugh and hiring Chief Fannon makes it clear the policy was put in place as a direct result of Palin’s leadership.
Guess what? You sign off on a budget, Mayor, you’re responsible for knowing and defending everything that’s in it. You’re also responsible for the actions of the people you personally hire — particularly when the you fired the last guy on such fishy grounds of “not fully supporting [your] efforts to govern.” You know, the guy who like any remotely reasonable person felt that it was the government’s responsibility to pay the cost of criminal investigation, who was then replaced with the guy who felt that investigating rape and not treating victims like shit was a “burden” on taxpayers.
I guess we can just add this to the long, long list of the McCain campaign’s recent lies.