Paul Kengor and I have an article in today’s National Review Online which addresses the claims that Sarah Palin cut the budget of the Special Olympics.
Newsday points out that Keith Olbermann of MSNBC said on September 10 that he would give a charity $100 for every lie told by Sarah Palin.
After showing a clip of Sarah Palin supporting the Alaska Bridge, which she now says she opposed, this is what Olbermann said:
“By the way, as of tomorrow, every time Senator [sic] Palin repeats one of her standard lies about the Bridge to Nowhere or the plane she sold on eBay that she didn’t sell on eBay, or the fired chef she didn’t fire, I will donate $100 to charity. It will be $300 if she somehow says she sold the chef on eBay.”
Then on September 17, he said he had decided what charity would get his money.
Twice now in two days – in Colorado, then today at Vienna, Ohio – Governor Palin has again invoked – that is the polite term – her status as the mother of a special needs child and the role of advocate she wants to play for special needs kids. Yesterday, she said, “Ever since I took the chief executive’s job up north, I’ve pushed for more funding for students with special needs.” Today the quote was, “I sought more funds for students with special needs.”
Problem: As the chief executive up north, she vetoed $275,000, crossed it out, of the state funding of the Special Olympics. She cut the Special Olympics budget in half and is campaigning as an advocate for special needs kids. That’s pretty sick. Well, at least we do know which charity I should donate that hundred bucks to every time she lies about her record: the Alaska Special Olympics.
Here and at Newsbusters, the claim that Palin cut the Special Olympics budget has been debunked. She signed a budget which gave them a 10% raise.
Olbermann apparently takes his reporting from blogs without fact checking. In fact, the ThinkProgress blog has attempted a correction but could not get that right either.
And so, if a charity gets $100 for what he perceives to be a lie, what will the charity get when he spreads false witness via his reporting? I think he should double his contribution, do you?
ThinkProgress has produced another inaccurate and misleading claim about Sarah Palin’s actions as Governor of Alaska.
They claim that she cut funds to Special Olympics in an obvious bid to paint her as a hypocrite given that she has a Down Syndrome son and she asserts that she will be an advocate for families with special needs kids.
Here is the 2007 budget with the Special Olympics line item:
The program was alloted received $250,000 in FY 2007.
Here is the 2008 budget with the Special Olympics line item:
The program received $275,000 for a 10% increase.
This type of attack is getting old. Palin opponents are going through these budgets looking for reductions in legislative allocations and then calling Palin’s program management “a cut in funding.” In fact, under Palin, Special Olympics received a 10% increase in funding.
ThinkProgress says that the Special Olympics operating budget was cut in half. Given what the 2007 budget says, I believe that claim to be incorrect. It appears that the projects funded “facility upgrades” in 2007 and “travel and event related costs and property acquisition” which were designed to supplement the Special Olympics. I went back to 2005’s budget and the Special Olympics only received $125,000 in that year. A review of Special Olympics 990 form shows that they received just over 1.8 million in revenues in 2006 and so this allocation from the state of Alaska did not slash their operating budget.
UPDATE: 9/18/08 – ThinkProgress made a bit of a clarification but didn’t really correct their misleading post with this:
It’s a stretch to say she “pushed” for any policy improvements. Though Palin did sign a law increasing special education funding in Alaska, “she had no role whatsoever” in its development, according to the bill’s author, Rep. Mike Hawker (R). Moreover, as governor, Palin vetoed $275,000 in Special Olympics Alaska funds (Page 100, SB 221 with vetoes),
slashing the organization’s operating budget in half.
Update: To clarify, the documents show that Gov. Palin proposed cutting the Special Olympics budget in half. The actual budget as passed slightly increased Special Olympics funding, though by only half of what the organization had requested.
No, Gov. Palin did not propose cutting the Special Olympics budget in half. She reduced a proposed 120% increase to a 10% increase.