Sarah Palin vows to battle political boys' clubs, but her mayoral record shows that girls' clubs can be useful too, the AP reports. While mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin accepted gifts from merchants—even thanking one for an "awesome" facial—and argued for rulings that favored her family. Other examples abound: A waiver eased the sale of her house, and tax breaks helped a snow machine shop she co-owned with her husband.
"Small towns are first-person politics, and if people are close, it's hard to separate one's own personal interest and one's own personal property from the work of the city," one ethics professor said. But "at the national level, there will be far more people watching, there will be far more pressures to come forward to try to influence the outcome."