When you think of the term “Transportation Costs” for Presidential candidates eager to spread their views, you generally think of costs for private jets among other things. Needless to say, for many of the candidates in the all-important 2008 race for the Presidency, transportation costs are sky high and often a cause for concern.
Of course, apparently not for Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel. A recent analysis of Gravel’s expense reports shows an interesting fact – in June, Gravel sent a check for $5 (US) to Leland Parking Services in Anchorage.
Apparently, the “rugged” Democrat from Alaska doesn’t like parking his own car.
“Yeah, we’re a valet parking service,” said Leland Hansen of Wasilla, Alaska. “We handle the valet parking at the Alaska Center for Performing Arts.”
Gravel and his campaign could not be reached for comment, but a three-month review of the Senator’s records show that he has often splurged – possibly using campaign funds – on such luxuries as valet parking and dehydrated meat.
“It was a few months ago, I believe Norah Jones was playing a concert when the Senator used our service,” said Hansen. “He got out of his car — a Jeep, I believe –and we handed him a stub.
“We then took his car away from the normal public parking area, and drove it … I’d say a quarter-mile down the street to a parking structure that the Performing Arts Center owns. We pulled it in face-first and parked it between a Buick and a Cadillac. I can’t tell you this for sure, but I believe the Cadillac is owned by an assistant District Attorney. I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
Asked if Gravel could have parked his own car, Hansen answered in the affirmative.
“Oh yeah, there were plenty of spots available for him,” said Hansen. “It was February, though, so it was pretty cold, so a lot of people used valet that night, I remember. But he is a Presidential candidate, he should know better, right?”
Gravel’s valet parking payment is just one example of the interesting nuggets that await those willing to dig through the thousands of entries in campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Other interesting info gleaned from Gravel’s reports include $23 for moose jerky – ironic considering his stance on Universal health care in the U.S. – and more than $75 for a pair of mukluks, which are a type of Native American moccasin favored by many Alaskans.
“When he came in here, he was wearing shoes, so I don’t know what he needed more for,” said Nick Hines, a salesperson at Mimi’s Mukluk Emporium in Eagle River, Alaska. “Maybe they were a gift, I’m really not sure.”