Wow. Are some in the press really s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g here, or what?
You have to read the article carefully to figure this out, but what the story ultimately reveals is that Palin (a) billed the state for most expenses allowed by law, including per diem when she stayed in her own home (her "duty station" was the state capitol of Juneau) in Wasilla; (b) didn't bill the state for other expenses, when she could have done so lawfully, such as per diems for her children; and (c) spent a lot less money on expenses than did her predecessor, especially on travel and by ridding herself of the state's personal chef. [FWIW, she apparently maintained two residences, the governor's mansion in Juneau, where assumedly she didn't get a per diem (but where her predecessor had a personal chef), and Wasilla, from which she commuted to Anchorage for work when the legislature wasn't in session. Saintly to take the per diem when in the second residence? No. Worthy of the lead headline on Washingtonpost.com? Please! Not illegal, not unethical, and not a scandal.]