(CNN) - A top ally of Alaska governor Sarah Palin denied that politics were behind her decision last week to turn down federal stimulus dollars, but said that the governor and her staff examined how other top conservative governors with national ambitions - including Louisiana's Bobby Jindal and South Carolina's Mark Sanford - had pursued alternatives to the president's financial recovery plan.
Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell told reporters on Friday that "there were no political, you know, campaign or candidacy type issues that arose" during internal discussions about whether to say no the federal money. "It was pure policy," he said, in a video recorded by the Anchorage Daily News.
Asked if Jindal's or Sanford's name came up during discussions about how to approach the stimulus money, Parnell said it was necessary for the governor's staff to look at their approaches.
Parnell said "we had to lay out the options for the governor, you know, take it all, take part of it, take none it. It was in that context that we said, what are the options here, and you get options from Nevada, from Louisiana, from South Carolina to Massachusetts."
But he rejected the notion that Palin was shadowing the moves of any potential 2012 rival.
"There was no guiding of the process by anybody other than real Alaskans thinking and serving real Alaskans," he said.
But does Palin actually plan to reject the stimulus money?
Parnell seemed to hedge on that front, saying that the governor hasn't officially turned down the money, and that her announcement last week that she would only accept about half of the money was intended to spark a broader discussion about spending.
"The ultimate decision hasn't been made yet," he said of the stimulus funds.