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Ex-Gov. Palin now free to cash in at Iron Dog, but does it matter?

Craig Medred
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin waiting to wish good luck to her husband, former Iron Dog champion Todd Palin, before the start of the race in Big Lake, Alaska, on Feb 17, 2013. Loren Holmes photo

Free of concerns about pesky ethics problems related to remote possibilities of engaging in crony capitalism, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was decked out on Sunday as a walking advertisement for husband Todd's new Iron Dog sponsors -- among them the Canadian company Ski-Doo.

Some will remember that Palin as governor was taken to task, in what is arguably the dumbest ethics complaint in state history, back in the day when she wore Arctic Cat logo-wear to the start of an Iron Dog in which Todd was racing Arctic Cat snowmachines. He was then sponsored by that company, based in Thief River Falls, Minn.

Palin adversary Linda Kellen Biegel, a Democrat who blogs under the name "Celtic Diva," complained that Sarah was improperly using "her position and state resources to serve her personal financial interests by being a walking billboard for Arctic Cat, a private for-profit company and family business sponsor."

The complaint was eventually dismissed as silly. But not before the then-governor shot back with the suggestion she was only wearing the jacket to stay warm.

"Yes, I wore Arctic Cat snow gear at an outdoor event, because it was cold outside, and by the way, today, I am wearing clothes bearing the names of Alaska artists, and a Glennallen Panthers basketball hoodie," Palin said in a press release at the time.

Innocent though she might have made her outerwear sound at the time, Sarah's Sunday Ski-Doo attire would indicate she is a little more market savvy than she was letting on. Whether that is worth anything to Ski-Doo, or was worth anything to Artic Cat, is hard to say.

Did anyone out there buy an Arctic Cat because the Palins promoted the brand in 2009? Will anyone buy a Ski-Doo because the Palin's are supporting that brand today?

Contact Craig Medred craig(at)alaskadispatch.com