The ADN’s (Anchorage Daily News) comprehensive listing of all ethics complaints filed against Sarah Palin between 2008 and 2009 is archived here.
According to a statement by the Alaska State Personnel Board, Ethics Violations Complaints that reach their offices do not require a legal defense on the part of the state worker named in the complaint until and unless the board determines a violation has been made. (I apologize for not being able to recover the link to this past quote. It is out there, though, and I would ask the author of the newspaper article to please verify the accuracy of this information.)
Of 18 complaints filed and cited in the article above, fourteen were dismissed outright (many within just a few days of filing), one was settled with the ex-Governor agreeing to reimburse the state for her children’s travel expenses on ten state-paid trips and two findings (as of the date of the ADN article) are still pending.
The first complaint to be aired nationally (although I’m not at all certain it was the first complaint registered) was split into two decisions. The first finding determined that one-half of the complaint, the half concerning the alleged improper firing of an employee, was not improper under the guidelines of the governor’s office. The second half of the complaint, the half concerning the alleged improper use of her authority as, and office of governor of Alaska, was determined to show Sarah Palin had in fact abused her power as Governor of the State of Alaska.
When Ms. Palin did not get a complete dismissal on this complaint, she personally hired a second set of legal eagles to give her the ruling she was after. That attained, she went on national television (literally hours before the 2008 national election of which she was a candidate) to thank the personnel board for finding in her favour (even though they hadn’t) and to wave the flag of ‘see I told you I didn’t do anything wrong’ in front of media cameras.
Evidently, and according to state lawyers, (including, coincidentally, the then State Attorney Joe Miller who is rumoured to have contributed to this ruling), abuse of power on the part of their governor isn’t even a misdemeanour in Alaska. But I digress.
Fourteen cases dismissed outright. One retried by the accused to get a favourable dismissal. One settled without dispute or penalty. Two still pending judgement by the Personnel Board. The same Personnel Board, (also coincidentally), personally hand-picked and hired by none other than Sarah Palin herself.
Where are the “millions of dollars in legal defense costs” so generated by these ethics violations complaints that a woman worth more than $20,000,000 needs to accept and continue to fundraise for reimbursement of said costs?
How many times, and by how many different organizations and private citizens must these same costs be repaid to the Palin family?
Sarah PAC, in their quarterly financial disclosures in 2009 and 2010 have listed reimbursement of these costs to the Palins and their lawyers. (In fact, Attorney Van Flein is listed as a paid expense on more than one line of more than one SarahPAC quarterly report. Are we to believe his services need to be paid by a public PAC when his client earns in excess of 10 million USD per year?)
A Texas millionaire who said he felt sorry for Sarah has claimed to have reimbursed her for these same costs.
Two websites were created to raise funds to pay these costs so Sarah wouldn’t have to – both still exist online and at least one continues to collect public donations to pay for these costs.
And now – The RNC has recently claimed, in a financial disclosure that a portion of their payment to Sarah Palin was specifically for covering these same legal costs.
I don’t believe these costs actually exist. Any legal costs incurred by Sarah Palin have been derived from her own paranoia, not from any actual necessity to set up a proper legal defense. Why should the public or publicly collected funds such as those that come from PACs, Republican Committees or online fundraising websites be responsible for legal fees incurred by someone who didn’t need them in the first place?
How many times are the Palins to be paid for the same set of fees – fees they need not have incurred according to the Personnel Board’s own statements regarding the procedure for handling ethics violation complaints in the state of Alaska, and fees which (albeit I’m no mathematical genius) have never actually been tallied on any public document?
Please, please note: There have been no decisions made by the Alaska State Personnel Board against Sarah to prompt launching a legal defense at all. One-half of one complaint plus a settled disagreement does not equal hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in legal defense.
The final, real troubling aspect of these supposed legal fees incurred by the Palins caused by so-called frivilous complaints is this: The dollar amount of these fees keeps morphing. According to the Personnel Board’s own estimate, a legal defense on any complaint found to have substance should have cost no more than around $10k.
This same set of legal fees has been reported by Sarah Palin to have cost her and Todd personally $50k, $250k, $500k and $2 million +
It’s my humble experience that the truth is a constant. Oh wait. I forgot. We’re talking about Sarah my son was born two weeks premature in Wasilla – scratch that I mean a month premature in Anchorage Palin.
- I’d like to see the original, actual, itemized bills for these Ethics Violations Complaints incurred legal fees.
- I’d like to see a corresponding list of all the people – slash – public entities who have donated to, fundraised for and/or have claimed payment of these fees on public financial reports and federal income tax returns.
And then I’d like to see the Anchorage Daily News finally do its job.
* * * * *
My thanks to all the contributors who helped with this post:
Sarah: I quit Alaska
Rocky in Texas
Lori in Los Angeles
To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title “The Great Grifter .02 Show Me The Money” and click on the word comments just beneath. Thanks, OzMud