Palin, Sanford may have to take stimulus cash after all

The two governors, who'd made big shows of refusing the money, were both overridden

Published June 5, 2009 11:36PM (EDT)

Earlier this year, rejecting some of the federal dollars provided for their states in the stimulus package was practically de rigeur for prominent Republican governors, especially ones with national ambitions.

No one did this with more pomp and circumstance than South Carolina's Mark Sanford and Alaska's Sarah Palin. Both rejected what they said were large portions of the stimulus cash, and then made a show of dragging their heels as, gradually, they were forced to -- or just decided to -- accept greater and greater portions of the funding. Now, it looks like both of them will just have to take all of the money.

Sanford fought a very public battle over the money directed to South Carolina, sparring with the legislature over $700 million that was primarily intended to help the state's education system. So when legislators passed a budget that required him to request the funding, he took them to court. But on Thursday, he lost there too, as the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in the legislature's favor and ordered Sanford to ask for the money. He's said he won't try to keep fighting, and will sign the request on Monday.

Palin's stand looks like it might be headed to a similar fate. So far, she's caved on accepting all but roughly $29 million, and now the legislature is set to force her to take that money too. The Anchorage Daily News reports that the legislative leadership says it has the votes to override Palin's veto -- an impressive feat, considering that in Alaska, a veto override takes a 75 percent vote in a joint session.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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