One Palin defender wrote here that it's unfair to attack Mayor Palin for being silent on the issue or even to assume that she shared the opinion of the police chief who defended the policy. Maybe she didn't even know her police chief had been carrying out such a policy.
Palin's spokeswoman directly addressed the rape kit issue in USA Today:
Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said in an e-mail that the governor "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test."
"Gov. Palin's position could not be more clear," she said. "To suggest otherwise is a deliberate misrepresentation of her commitment to supporting victims and bringing violent criminals to justice" [Ken Dilanian and Matt Kelly, "Palin's Town Used to Bill Victims for Rape Kits," USA Today, 2008.09.11].
So how much support for victims did Palin show by signing off on budget cuts that represented a deliberate change from previous policy and meant rape victims had to pay for their rape kits? Wasilla's first police chief, Irl Stambaugh (the Wasilla Police Department came into existence in 1993), "included a line item in the budget to pay for the cost of such exams." Charles Fannon, the chief Palin appointed after firing Stambaugh when she took office, changed the policy and cut the budget. The FY1998–99 audit showed that Stambaugh cut the contingency fund and spent almost none of it. Palin read the audit and signed off on it [see Jacob Alperin-Sheriff, "New Evidence: Palin Had Direct Role in Charging Rape Victims for Exams," Huffington Post, 2008.09.11].
So Palin's defenders are left with two logical conclusions, neither of them terribly palatable: either Mayor Palin didn't know what policies her police chief was carrying out (not a positive reflection on her vaunted executive skills) or she authorized a policy so reprehensible the Alaska state legislature felt the need to intervene to defend victims' rights.