September 6th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Alaska state jet didn't fly on eBay

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Since being named as Sen. McCain's running mate, Gov. Palin has mentioned several times that she put a government plane up for sale on EBay - including during her speech before the GOP convention."]
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin bolstered her fiscal-conservative credentials early in her term by putting her predecessor's state jet up for auction online.

"That luxury jet was over the top," she told Republican National Convention delegates when she accepted the party's vice presidential nomination Wednesday night. "I put it on eBay."

Since Palin was chosen as Arizona Sen. John McCain's running mate last week, the story has become a cornerstone of the Republican effort to paint Palin as a reformer who took on her own party establishment.

"How many saw her speech a couple of nights ago? Wasn't it fabulous?" McCain said Friday during a campaign stop in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. "You know what I enjoyed the most? She took the luxury jet that was purchased by her predecessor and sold it on eBay - and made a profit."

But it turns out the twin-engine Westwind II was a tough sell on the Web - and the state eventually pulled it offline and sold it through an ordinary brick-and-mortar brokerage, for a loss, a spokeswoman said Friday.

"Governor Palin has been correct in saying that she put the plane on eBay," McCain campaign spokeswoman Maria Comella told CNN. "They did end up selling it for $2.1 million. But not on eBay."

Palin's predecessor, Frank Murkowski, bought the jet for $2.7 million in 2005. The following year, Palin unseated Murkowski in the state's Republican primary and became governor: Upon taking office, she wanted to unload what former aide Meg Stapleton called "a symbol of corruption."

Stapleton told CNN that Murkowski paid too much for the jet, and that it was costing taxpayers money just sitting in the hangar.

"Eventually you had to concede and say, 'How often are we going to pay these bills and waste more state dollars?' " she said.

When putting it on eBay failed, aircraft broker Rob Heckmann was called in to sell the jet. Businessman Larry Reynolds bought the five-passenger jet for sold for $2.1 million. And Reynolds is now seeking another $50,000 from the state for unexpected maintenance issues with the aircraft.

–CNN's Sara Lane contributed to this report

Filed under: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (340 Responses)
  1. Martha

    Are you Hurting?

    Probably you are,


    you can’t sell your home…answer- put it on e-bay
    you can’t pay your bills…answer- tell the creditors the “pit bull” ate it
    you can’t fill up your tank…answer- go to Alaska and start drilling and “Drill Now!”
    you don’t have insurance…answer- grow marijuana in your back yard and remember to have the “pit bull” guard it!
    The author of this ‘luxurious” jet, (oops I mean) joke might put it on e-bay, to “make profit”, ‘cos we are all hurting.

    September 5, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Ok, sarah, hope when you go home, you will decide to stay there.
    If you lie so easily about selling a plane on e-bay, then you will lie about anything.

    September 5, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Coach K

    To be fair .. PUTTING something one ebay is not SELLING it on ebay. That's all I heard Sarah Palin say at the convention. John McCain however made it clear that she SOLD it on ebay and MADE A PROFIT. You can be sure they will fix those talking points before they make another speech together. I certainly think it makes the case that the McCain campaign is hard-up for something, other than her family and her being a woman, that connects with the American people.

    September 5, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Chris

    Hmm not able to sell your airplane? Now what will you use to bring Alaska out of debt?

    September 5, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  5. LMR from Texas

    What family values! I was raise knowing if I told just half of the truth it was a lie. McCain/Palin stop your lying and finish your statement.

    "Obama wants to raise your taxes if you make more than $250,000 a year."

    See? How hard is that?

    What? You can't get votes saying that?

    Well that's your problem not Obama's.

    Obama '08

    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  6. independent

    what a liar.

    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. Frank

    This wasn't a lie, you pathetic Dems! She never said that she made a profit out of it, all she said is that she put it on eBay, which she did. For those of you who don't understand economics, it is always a win when you cut your loses, and in this case, the state was wasting money on the maintenance of the aircraft and by selling it, they will cut their losses! Now, try to find something more worthwhile to save your worthless, inexperieced candidate from the defeat he will face in November!!!! Enough is enough with the stupid rhetoric of the Obamanuts!

    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Texans for Obama

    Who cares about this jet.
    Why don't you talk about the pictures that are roaming around the internet showing Palin in a 2 piece bathing suit with the US flag wrap around her with a shot gun in her hand. It is the talk of the workplace.
    Double standard ** if Michelle Obama took a picture like the one I saw today. She would be labelled as a "radical and disgracing the american flag".

    I bet that picture is on utube now. Media, talk about that picture go find it and let people comment on it, and forget this topic about this stupid jet who cares, people are going broke under Republican administration. But we have this woman,Palin, running for Vp and disgracing the flag with a shot gun in her hand! One heartbeat away from being President!


    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  9. Anthony from N.Y.

    Last week I was telling my freinds that allthough CNN leans a little to the left they are still a somewhat fair source for politics. Wow, was I wrong. This week CNN moved completely to the left. Cambell Brown was just ridiculess in her bias. Even MSNBC was more fair to the republicans than you folks at CNN. I used to like Jack Cafferty but he also seems to have swung to the far left. Come on people. CNN used to be the place to go for even handed news. If you keep going down this road, FOX news may be the only plase to go to hear the other side of the story.

    Hope for balance

    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. E.Vaughn

    Oh my God, is this the best gotcha CNN has? Good grief, if all you CNN democrats were as vigorous in your investigation into Obama's past as you are quick to get Sarah Palin then I might believe you guys are fair. Quite frankly, after watching CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News over this whole convention, it is so evident that you and NBC are so liberally one sided...Too bad, no wonder you are losing your audience.

    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. Bilal, Illinois

    The plane was a lie.
    The earmarks in Wasilla were a lie.
    The "Bridge" narrative was a lie.
    Troopergate denial was a lie.

    She should fit right in with our friends out East.

    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  12. abina


    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. Hillary Supporter

    Oh Sarah, when will it end? You are a joke and so is your Grandfather, John McCain

    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  14. David, Silver Spring, MD

    We should also note that the jet was used to ship convicts to prisons. Alaska doesn't have enough prison space in-state, so it flies prisoners to places like Arizona and puts them in contracted prisons.

    So while we're right to blast McCain for saying she sold the plane at a profit when she didn't, we should also look into whether selling the plane was ultimately the financially smart thing to do. Presumably, Alaska still has to fly prisoners to their cells, so it's paying for that somehow.

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Americans Unite

    While is is admirable if she actually put the jet on ebay, it is appauling how McCain lied (excitedly) about the outcome.

    Just another reason not to trust the Republicans.

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. Joe

    I thought she said she PUT in on Ebay, not SOLD in on Ebay. Making a mountain out of a molehill if you ask me.

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. Lawrence for barack

    she just a big liar

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  18. Hillary Supporter

    I guess thats one change they will have to make on their stump speech.

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  19. lil yogini, san diego (north county)

    So, do we think McCain is blatantly lying about the jet or he doesn't know the actual details?

    To say there was a profit and it's actually a loss is not good. The eBay part is just a distortion, as she did put it up there, it just didn't sell. I take more issue with adding that she made a profit when that's not true.

    At least the media is investigating the remarks rather than taking them at face-value.

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  20. flozelle crosby

    Who cares about her selling a jet on e-bay, even if she didnt sell it, which wouldnt suprise me considering what a joke these republicans have CLEARLY become. Im more interested in this Garbage she's trying to sell the american public. if we as americans fall4 this republican hogg wash once again, we have no one 2blame but ourself for whats surely to come. and as far as her selling something on e-bay – STICK A SOCK IN IT!

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  21. Dready1rasta

    Let the lying begin!!!!!!! This woman is pathetic. Should fit right in with the Repug crowd.

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  22. Hillary Supporter

    Does anyone else see a pattern here?

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  23. drz

    Typical for this team. They can come up with great one-liners, but when you dig a little deeper (thanks CNN for doing your job) you feel lied to. We're suppose to trust this ticket? I've seen enough and I voting for the real change... Obama/Biden!

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  24. stone

    Campbell Brown; I don't undestand to be a member of CNN politic team,you looks so unknowledgeable. The story about the jet,Palin
    speak very clear. First, they put to e-bay for sell ,this is true, they did.
    Second, the jet was sold,dose't matter where did they sold,and how much they sold, the money did'nt go to her walloet. to be a governer,
    she did very good job.

    September 5, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  25. elle

    another half truth. But hey we can't ask questions :S

    September 5, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
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