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Parnell overseas trip costs about $20,800

Posted: January 30, 2012 - 10:07pm

JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell’s first state-sponsored overseas trip cost about $20,800, records show.

Parnell was away for more than two weeks last fall, visiting Israel and several European countries. 

Part of the cost, $3,901.50, was paid by the Israeli government. Parnell has said his trip to Israel came at the invitation of the Israelis, who also has reached out to other state and federal leaders from the U.S. The gift, listed on an ethics disclosure form and sought in an open records request by The Associated Press, was for expenses including meals, transportation, site visits and a hotel for three nights while he was there.

While in Europe, Parnell promoted Alaska seafood in London and sat down with leaders of three energy companies now doing business in Alaska. Parnell and his wife also visited a military hospital in Germany.

The governor said the trip helped him see the importance of energy independence for economic and security reasons, and the possibility of opening new markets for trade with Alaska. 

About $7,500 — outside the gift from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs — was for lodging, or meals and incidental or other expenses. Airfare was about $9,430, and Parnell flew commercial airlines.

Among the other gifts he reported: English tea, valued at $40, from Lord David Howell, minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the British government; a book, “The International Court of Justice,” valued at $125, from the court, provided after a briefing and tour; a T-shirt, valued at $25, from Col. Jeffrey Clark, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s commander; and a pen set, souvenir medallions and table banner sets for the first couple, valued at $105, from Roni Bar-Sinai, director of Haifa Customs at the Port of Haifa in Israel.

Separately, Parnell also reported airfare to Orlando, Fla., and a hotel room, valued at $1,613.10, as a gift from the Republican Governors’ Association. It was for an association gathering, which Parnell attended Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

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