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. Ben

    I bet McCain doesn't even know her middle name.

    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. more drama in asbury park press

    it seems like sarah is already lying about things, she keeps reading the same speech over and over again, afraid to speak with media, what is going on here, she has mccain lying more.....this is terrible.....obama all the way

    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. Just a Mom

    Stay tuned...more lies will be uncovered.

    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. Willa PA

    6 million lost jobs in the last 5 years, 35 states with home foreclosures...lets see...45 million or so without healthcare...record deficite...10 million for war every, what else...and what did the GOP convention talk about? McCain, true he was a war hero but how many times do you want to see his biography, was 30 or so years ago...and attacking a man who is truely for the people...Please no more republicans in the house, they'll never change, now Palin doing their dirty work. I just wish women were'nt so stupid to fall for this sham, they are not for you, just watch, Palin is just a ploy to gain women...and people who think the republicans will help them out with their mortgages and healthcare, they never did and they never will. Wake up blue color workers, they are not for you, they just exploit you and don't let them bamboozle you about not beign patriot by being a Democrat because there are lots of Democrats fighting the same war and are true patriots and serve this country. Four of the 5 men in my family serve, Navy, Air Force, Army and that is 32 years for some.

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

    After going unsold for months, the jet was put into the hands of Turbo North Aviation, an Anchorage aircraft broker, which put an asking price of $2.45 million on the nearly $2.7 million jet. It quickly sold to Alaska businessman Larry Reynolds for $2.1 million ($31,000 of which went to Turbo Aviation). Today the Westwind II jet spends its days ushering wealthy hunters around Alaska and Russia.

    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. Sandy


    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. Carl

    Some people are just stupid.Her remark was a joke people. The point was that she got rid of a plane that the former govenor bought and probably with tax payer money.

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

    Why dont u post my guys....Am I writing anything wrong ?

    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. Marie

    Well, technically she said " I put it on e-bay", not " I sold it on e-bay". But a very misleading implication for sure. But then nothing new there....the Republicans continually mislead Americans and have absoltuely no shame. And apparently Sara Palin has none either. Her entire speech was a bunch of baloney. And McCain is out there touting a profit from an e-bay sale that never happened. Has no one told him yet? A presidential candidate that doesn't even know what is going on in his own campaign is not someone America can afford to have in the white house!

    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. Bob Brewer

    I can see her trying to sell the jets of Washington. Little did she know
    that the people she will try and "reform" was the very audience that she
    was talking to. That's why the applause died down. I would not be
    surprised if McCain is forced to pick another running mate. This
    woman is toast.

    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  11. awin

    The fact that palin lied does not surprise me...after all she is a republican
    ...the fact tha they thought that story would not get looked into...again, does not surprise me..they are republicans

    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  12. Curt from PA

    She did not lie. She said she "put" it eBay, not "sold it on eBay. She did list it on eBay, so she told the truth.

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Michael from MA

    Dear CNN moderator:
    We are still testing your site and again we see that the comments in support of Governor Palin are not being posted.

    Lets all try to be fair and balanced, as should be the creed of all journalists.

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. McCain/Palin

    And what exactly is OBAMA going to do to created all the jobs he is talking about???????? What are the specifics of his plan. Can anyone answer that....

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. ytytyt

    If this odd duo wins, I'll eat my running shoes. I really, really hope the American public votes that gang of crooks in Washington out of office. Otherwise, in addition to having to eat my running shoes, I'll have lost all hope in humanity. Surely people cannot be so utterly dumb.

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  16. Rob

    Their both Bush part 2 –liars to the end.

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  17. Kjetil

    So stupid to lie about something like this. If she lie about this, then she probably is not someone to trust on other and bigger issues eighter.

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  18. Davyla

    Martha ...that's good! What about Airforce 1 and 2 on ebay? It appears to me that it is sarah who's running for office.

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  19. Carolyn Sollenberger

    You are not covering the sale of the jet from all angles. The state now does not have to pay for a pilot, potential benefits for that pilot, jet fuel, maintenance fees, etc. If she kept the jet and it needs $50,000 in repairs then the state would have to pay that anyway. These are expenses related to the jet that would compound over the years during her term. So the state of Alaska will break even eventually, its just a matter of when they will break even. Maybe "profit" was not the best selection of words, but it still was a darned gutsy move that benefits the citizens of Alaska. In addition, besides dumping the "symbol of corruption" palin makes a statement about energy conservation. There are luxuries in which politicians should not be indulging. Conservatives love to point out Gore's hypocracy regarding his utilization of a private jet even after he won the Nobel Prize. Campbell Browns' entire hour SHOULD be called the "bring down Sarah Palin Hour." You have the right to ask tough questions and to scrutinize her. You do not have the right to distort truth and omit context and leave out arguments. Even most MSNBC analysists have handled the reporting much more responsibly. It is obvious that CNN is going for the "Jerry Springer" ratings... there is a whole market of people out there that love to watch wreckage no matter how petty. I put Campbell Brown in the same crowd with Keith Oberman and Sean Hannity. Either they are propagandists or they lack serious intelligence needed to make logical fair arguments. Buchanan was right to insinuate that the "Campbell Brown Hour" is a circus. Hey Campbell, are you the journalist that Mika Brzezinski said was salivating over destroying sarah palin and her 17-year old daughter?Because you seem to be enjoying yourself. Come on people, let's name names. Let's fight. Let's fight for the truth finally. Let's stand up to the media and fight them in selectively reporting the news and deceiving the american people. Join me. Blog about fairness on all issues. Challenge all media outlets. Challenge them all: FOX! MSNBC! CNN!

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  20. Wynter

    From Jason George and Andrew Zajac of the Chicago Tribune...,0,3470364.story

    Palin's statement implied the plane was sold through the online auction site revered for empowering millions of small entrepreneurs, and Palin's spokeswoman insisted Thursday that the transaction occurred. But the plane failed to sell on eBay. ...

    Also, while Palin characterized the plane as an extravagance of former Gov. Frank Murkowski, who arranged for its purchase in November 2005, the plane saw heavy use transporting Alaskan convicts.

    Alaska does not have adequate prison capacity and contracts for space with a private facility near Phoenix. On Thursday, 24 percent of the 4,546 Alaskans in jail or in prison were serving their time at Arizona's Red Rock Correctional Center, said a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Corrections.

    When the state first began using the plane in November 2005, prisoner transport accounted for 58 percent of the jet's use, and Murkowski's office used it 23 percent of the time. Over time, Murkowski's usage increased.

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  21. aliou FL


    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  22. druid

    Rush You heard that the plane was not sold at ebay. I saw how excited you were with the ebay story many more to come stay tuned

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  23. C-Lo in Texas, Obama 08

    WOW she is already lying, typical Republican. How many fools will back her, she is an obvious liar. McCain doesn't have a clue, she probably was the stripper that he paid and as a result he offered her the VP spot so that he can get free lap dances. He is trash and he has been married twice, which means that he can't even rule in his own life. She has a pregnant teenage daughter which means that her words have no substance in her household. She probably encouraged her daughter to have sex in hopes that she too would deliver a child with down syndrome, that way she would not be the only one. GO figure

    September 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  24. RSB

    She lied. What a surprise. How can someone look directly at you and lie and think on one is going to find out? Worse yet, there are those that won't care for whatever reason. She would be in position to run our country but how would you trust her? I bet the coutries watching this are totally amused.

    September 5, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  25. Derrick

    She lies with such practiced ease, it;s no wonder she's a rrepublican.

    She'll fit right in with the fat cats in DC

    September 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
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