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Tuesday
Jun072011

Congressman Launches Inquiry into Cost of Sarah Palin's Tour

Ray Tamarra/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sarah Palin is set to continue to tour national monuments around the country this summer, and one congressman wants to know how that will affect everyone else.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., sent a letter to the National Park Service Tuesday asking how federal resources were used for the Northeast leg of Palin’s “One Nation Tour,” which traveled from Washington, D.C., to New Hampshire last week. His concern: press accounts of the tour “which provided personal and political benefits to former Gov. Palin, suggest that National Park Service resources were made available to an extent beyond that which an average American family would receive.”

Palin was surrounded by park rangers and, at times, police officers during her tour stops. Last Wednesday, she and her family were accompanied by approximately 10 authorities as they toured the Statue of Liberty.

David Barna, a Park Service spokesman, told ABC News that with the exception of the Statue of Liberty visit, it was business as usual at all the sites Palin saw (with the exception, of course, of dozens of spectators and press following the former Alaska governor).

“We recognize she is not a government official, she is not a candidate for public office, so we treated her as any other celebrity that might come in,” he said. He compared the Park Service’s treatment of Palin last week -- organizing private tours, opening specific monuments early -- to what they might do “for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie."

“If there was any cost, it might have been for the park police at the Statue of Liberty,” he said. “Right now, I don’t know the answer to that."

Barna is seeking answers to Rep. Blumenauer’s question about how much money went into hosting Palin. As far as planning for Palin’s potential visits to other national monuments -- she said she plans to visit the West Coast, Iowa and South Carolina this summer -- he said, “We haven’t done anything, we’re not involved in anything. We’re just like everyone else, waiting to see what happens.”

Aides for Palin declined ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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