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McCain Campaign Stonewalling Palin-Rape Kit Questions

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Dorothy Samuels at the New York Times dug into the story that Wasilla charged rape victims for forensic exams and rape kits while Sarah Palin was mayor -- or at least she tried to. Apparently the McCain campaign is stonewalling:

If Ms. Palin ever spoke out about the issue, one way or another, no record has surfaced. Her campaign would not answer questions about when she learned of the policy, strongly supported by the police chief: whether she saw it in the budget and if not, whether she learned of it before or after the State Legislature outlawed the practice.

All the campaign would do was provide a press release pronouncing: "Prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault is a priority for Gov. Palin."

There's more circumstantial evidence that Palin knew of the policy, which Samuels lays out below. You can read her full piece here.

Eric Croft, a former Democratic state lawmaker who sponsored the corrective legislation, believes that Wasilla's mayor knew what was going on. (She does seem to have paid heed to every other detail of town life, including what books were on the library's shelves.)

The local hospital did the billing, but it was the town that set the policy, Mr. Croft noted. That policy was reflected in budget documents that Ms. Palin signed.

Mr. Croft further noted that right after his measure became law, Wasilla's local paper reported that Ms. Palin's handpicked police chief, Charlie Fannon, acknowledged the practice of billing to collect evidence for sexual-assault cases. He complained that the state was requiring the town to spend $5,000 to $14,000 a year to cover the costs. "I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer," the chief explained.

"I can't imagine any police chief, big city or small, who would take on the entire State Legislature on a bill that passed unanimously and not mention to their mayor that they're doing this," Mr. Croft said. Even if he didn't inform her, the newspaper article would have been hard for her to miss.