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Thread: A couple of articles about Sarah Palin and her ethics complaints

  1. #1
    Elite Member WhoAmI's Avatar
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    Default A couple of articles about Sarah Palin and her ethics complaints

    Governor might try rising above fray

    Once in a while, usually in the smarmy he-said, she-said fallout from the latest trailer park theatrics, I am left to wonder whether the governor's office has lost its collective mind.

    Take, for instance, the "latest complaint deemed outrageous" blurb on the state's official Web site. (If you missed it there, you can take a gander at it over at the state's official Gov. Sarah Palin Web site, which nowadays is difficult to distinguish from the official state site, but that's another story for another time.)

    In this case, an Alaskan had the temerity to allege the governor broke state law by signing a contract with SarahPac, a political action committee, outside her official duties. (By law, governors cannot have an outside job.) The complaint also said Palin violated the law when she went to chat it up with a partisan, anti-abortion rights crowd at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life fundraising dinner in Evansville, Ind., to pursue her interests, not the state's.

    In its announcement, Palin's office "expressed outrage" over the "baseless ethics complaint." Chief of staff Mike Nizich fumed the allegations are "categorically false and ridiculous." He said Palin has spent tons of money fighting bogus ethics charges. Her mouthpiece, Bill McAllister, warned the complaints against Palin are designed to "paralyze" the executive branch. He's gotta be kiddin', right? This executive branch?

    Then, the two of them accused the complainant of hypocrisy, unethical behavior and trying to bury the Department of Law in paper. Good grief.

    It turns out that the embattled and lovely Sarah P. -- her nascent national political career dangling over a cliff -- finds herself increasingly under attack, accused of breaking state ethics law more than a dozen times. (Not counting the one she filed against herself during Troopergate to get the Personnel Board, which she appoints, to handle the case.)

    Chief of staff Nizich says the pesky complaints are orchestrated by "opponents," offering entrepreneurs yet another T-shirt possibility to go along with "Haters" and "Lying Blogger." Palin has been forced to set up a legal defense fund, the Alaska Fund Trust, to help defray her rising and significant legal costs (and, dang it, that fund itself now is the subject of an ethics complaint despite its high-falootin' name).

    In the face of all that, what does she do? Does Palin loose ankle-biter Meghan Stapleton at SarahPac to joust with "opponents" while she retains her dignity as governor and potential president?

    Not a chance.

    Somebody decides to beef about the SarahPac ethics complaint on an official state Web site. That is your Web site and mine. It belongs to all Alaskans. We pay for it. It is more than a little disturbing that her office, apparently swept up in some kind of vengeful tizzy, would bring to bear state resources to castigate, harangue, insult and accuse individual citizens who make legal complaints.

    I'm no lawyer, but state law seems pretty clear: "A public officer may not ... use state time, property, equipment, or other facilities to benefit personal or financial interests. ..." Without much doubt, state time, property, equipment and other facilities were used to toss that hissy.

    This much is clear: Politically, things are changing for Palin. The cookies are not working anymore. There are signs of frustration and anger. Writers, pundits and broadcasters see her as the gift that keeps on giving.

    People already are wondering whether she will, or should, consider running for governor next year. She could lose. She could just barely win. Either is a career-snuffer. The sins of the first term could come home to roost.

    Some say it would be dangerous, even political suicide, for her to run -- and she dare not if she plans a career at the national level. Her role as a GOP fundraiser remains unsettled and her plans for the 2012 presidential race are unfocused.

    If she does not start getting better advice from someplace, and making better decisions, none of that will matter. She will end up just another victim of "Saturday Night Live" and the "Tonight Show."

    Here's my best and cheapest advice to the governor. Do not let state-paid employees get involved in your personal imbroglios and make fools of themselves -- and you. You are, as governor, supposed to be above the fray. Think Bill Egan. Let somebody else wade in the mud.

    And if you or your worker bees are determined to melt down because somebody says you broke the law, for crying out loud don't abuse the law to make your point.

    I'll send the bill later.
    Governor might try rising above fray: Comment | adn.com

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin receives deluge of ethics complaints

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s life has changed in a myriad of ways since she became the Republican vice presidential nominee last August, but one aspect of her newfound fame has been more bracing than the others: Since entering the national spotlight, Palin has been inundated by ethics complaints, most of them filed against her after she agreed to become Sen. John McCain’s running mate.

    The complaints run the gamut, ranging from the governor’s use of state funds and staff to the workings of her political action committee and even to a jacket she wore to a snow machine race involving her husband.

    It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how many complaints have been filed because the state doesn’t keep count and the complaints are kept confidential by the attorney general’s office unless the state moves forward with a public accusation of wrongdoing. But in total there have been more than a dozen, and most of those have surfaced in the last seven months.

    That much is clear because the complainants have a habit of notifying the media and bloggers each time they lodge a grievance. It’s evidence, say Palin’s defenders, that there is a clear political component to them.

    “As we've been saying, the number of ethics complaints filed against the governor and her staff — as well as the tortured logic they contain — continue to constitute the most disturbing trend in Alaska politics,” said Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow in a recent statement after one ostensibly confidential complaint was sent to the Anchorage Daily News and other news outlets.

    “In the past several months, we have seen an orchestrated effort by the governor’s opponents to make differences of opinion and ideology almost criminal,” said Mike Nizich, the governor’s chief of staff, in a statement. “Governor Palin has spent a considerable amount of time and money fighting ethics complaints – and no charge has been substantiated. I hope that the publicity-seekers will face a backlash from Alaskans who have a sense of fair play and proportion. I served six previous governors, and I’ve never seen anything like the attacks against Governor Palin.”

    The deluge of complaints is, in part, a reflection of the ease with which they can be filed. Any Alaska resident can submit a complaint in writing as long as it is signed under oath and contains details of the alleged ethics violation.

    Judy Bockmon, who as the state ethics attorney at the Alaska Department of Law conducts the initial review of all complaints, said the state doesn’t keep track of how many are filed. “It’s not information that is useful to anybody,” she said, adding that the number of complaints seems “unusual.”

    Many of Palin's opponents have taken advantage of the low bar for filing and used it as a license to highlight their grievances with the governor.

    “The number of complaints is a function of the misconduct of Governor Palin, Todd Palin and certain state workers,” said self-described government watchdog Andrée McLeod, who has filed four complaints alone. “Governor Palin constantly blurs the lines between her personal and political interests and the interests of Alaska and Alaskans. Alaskans are fed up and are finally doing something about it.”

    Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, a California-based think tank that studies government reform and campaign finance issues, noted that Palin’s high-profile may be generating the extra scrutiny since Alaska’s ethics laws aren’t all that different than many other states.

    ‘It’s not just Alaska,” he said. “She’s an interesting official and attracts a lot of attention.”

    Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich, who tangled with Palin when both served on the state Oil and Gas Commission before she became governor, said Palin may be more susceptible to attacks on her ethics from opponents because she “raised the ethics issue years before she came into office and made a major point of working to change the state ethics laws and regulation.”

    “Some of the complaints over the last several months have been frivolous,” he said, “but others have been brought about by the high level of interest in ethics issues around Palin.”

    Former Alaska governors “all did extremely similar things” that did not lead to ethics complaints, Ruedrich added, referring to the number of complaints as “unprecedented.”

    The business of defending against the claims has been expensive. In late April, Palin was forced to form a legal defense fund in an effort to pay for more than $500,000 in legal debts accrued by the governor—though much of it stems from the “Troopergate” episode surrounding her attempts to fire a state trooper who was once married to her sister.

    "Over the past months it became increasingly clear that supporters of Governor Palin needed to help defend against the onslaught of frivolous attacks against her,” said Trustee Kristan Cole, a Wasilla native and Palin friend, in a statement. “These baseless accusations are designed to inhibit her ability to focus on the issues Alaskans truly care about and force massive personal debt on her and her family.”

    To avoid additional accusations of impropriety, the fund set an unusually low, self-imposed cap of $150 per donation. It also volunteered to disclose the names and dollar amounts of each donor, leading Cole to call it “one of the most restrictive and transparent legal funds in history.”

    Three days later though, another ethics complaint was filed--this time against the legal defense fund itself.

    An Eagle River resident who had recently joined a federal lawsuit against Palin for failing to issue a proclamation commemorating the Juneteenth emancipation holiday in 2007, complained that Palin is misusing her office and receiving improper gifts by setting up the fund, accusing the governor of intending to raise much more than she needs to pay her legal debts.

    “Governor Palin has at least 500,000 supporters between her Facebook, TeamSarah, and other groups in support of Sarah Palin,” the complaint read. “If each of them were to contribute an average of $100 it would equate to $50 million. If they contribute an average of $50 it equates to $25 million. If half of them send $10 it equals $2.5 million. That’s personal wealth created for Governor Palin by putting a for sale sign on our Alaska Governor’s Office.”
    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin receives deluge of ethics complaints - Andy Barr - POLITICO.com

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    This is so horrible! How will she be able to work on collaborating with the legislature? She's been so good at it since the election!

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Palin really is the gift that keeps on giving...if you vote Democrat.

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