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. 

  1. I’d like to see the original, actual, itemized bills for these Ethics Violations Complaints incurred legal fees.
  2. 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
SME131
AKRNC

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

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Hi everyone…

Am so stretched for time these days but in keeping up with the blogs a nagging thought keeps running through my head that I need to share  with all of you. It’s a question, actually, and it goes like this:

How many organizations/donation drives/PACs have paid for Sarah Palin’s legal fees incurred through her defense of the ethics violation complaints in 2008-09?

I don’t have the time to go back and peruse even my own blogs but if any of you have links to this information I would be delighted to post it all as you send it in.

Seems to me, just after Sarah quit as Governor of Alaska, there were articles written describing how the complaint process worked and that the governor wasn’t meant to incur any legal fees at all. This is why her quitter-speech (reflecting the claimed number of hours wasted by her staff on addressing the complaints and her claim of owing millions of dollars to attorneys) had been so widely criticized in the media as a complete exaggeration of the true costs.

My memory can be shakey but – I’m remembering a cost projected (by the Personnel Board I think) of less than $50k if she were to address all of them – less than that if she only addressed the few of which they found her guilty. Then Sarah posted an amount of $250k but I forget where or why.

Then we saw SarahPAC financial statements both in 2009 and 2010 which reflected their having paid her legal fees (again, purportedly due to costs directly linked to her legal defense of the ethics complaints).

Then there was the Alaska Fund Trust which was created expressly to pay for these legal fees – and when that was declared unethical, a second, supposedly legal online fund was created to cover her attorney fees (from the ethics complaints).

Now we hear that the RNC has paid for these same legal costs?

How many groups/funds/drives/PACs have paid for the same set of legal fees – fees which should not have been incurred to begin with as the Personnel Board fully explained in 2009 that she did NOT need to respond to each and every one, only those which they felt were in fact, true violations – which they hardly ever did – so…

Would someone who has the time and ability to research this please look into it? Because this just smells funny. And I don’t mean funny in a ha ha way either. I’m thinking it’s entirely possible that Van Flein is the bigger crook here, accepting payment from more than one source for a single set of attorney fees.

And then – on top of this, when you look through Palinbot comments on other blogs/articles, you see quite often her followers talking about having just sent in my $5 because poor Sarah shouldn’t have to pay for all those legal fees from those phoney ethics complaints…

Just how many times and from how many different sources are Sarah and Van Flein collecting money to cover her past ‘legal fees’?

And… why are so many people still sending this multi-millionairess $5 donations anyway? Does no one outside of Alaska realize yet just how wealthy she’s become on the bogus back of public sympathy?

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title “The Great Grift” and click on the word comments just beneath.  Thanks, OzMud.

Spent a good portion of my day reading a few dozen blogs and newspaper articles on Sarah’s latest ethics violation. It’s like sitting center front at a tennis match.

Sarah says the reports are false.
The papers say the reports are true.
Sarah says the frivolous complaint is still being investigated.
The investigator says he’s finished and the report he’s submitted is final. I’m quite literally dizzy.

One thing is clear.  There’s a report out there – the result of an investigator havng completed his work – which states Sarah Palin’s Alaska Fund Trust is not a legal fundraising vehicle and yet… it’s still running down Main St. picking up passengers. I mean donations. Donations which have now been classed as inapropriate and a violation of Alaska Ethics for the states’s Executive Administration. 

So here’s my new plan for a 2012 campaign strategy:

OzMud-AKFT-550x440

This is just off the top of my head so please bear with me through the bits I’ve probably got wrong but…

In trying to keep current with all the many ethics complaints lodged against Gov. Sarah Palin, the investigations either reported on or instigated by The Immoral Minority and Celtic Diva’s Blue Oasis (both ventures to which I have made modest donations ) and the online descriptions of the fund itself (both at the fund’s website and scanning the C4P blogs) I am hit this morning with the troubling thought that, perhaps, the fund itself is a sham.

The Alaska State Personnel Board purportedly responsible for deciding whether or not a complaint has merit enough to be investigated, has dismissed more than a dozen of the 18 known ethics complaints lodged. So, no investigation and therefore no need for defense, right?

My understanding of  ‘how it works’ is that a complaint is filed. The board reviews the complaint and decides whether or not to proceed with an investigation or dismiss the charge. If it is to proceed, the next step is an investigation. After that, if the investigation proves fruitful, allegations become charges and the Governor needs then to answer said charges in a court of law. The Governor would at this point need to hire an attorney to defend her actions.

Help me out here Alaskans – why, if so many ethics violations complaints were dismissed at the first step in this process, was there ever a need for this collection of funds from the public? Surely the part about the Alaska State Personnel Board deciding if a complaint has merit or not is in it’s very basic job description and therefore already paid for?

Would not the governor’s need for defense only become necessary if a charge was finally made by the state? Why should Sarah Palin need a ‘defense fund’  for ethics violations complaints which were truncated at the earliest point of the procedure?

From my perspective this is either fraud in itself – or I’m missing a big piece of the puzzle. I’m not understanding why any governor would need to reimburse their personnel board for an initial inquiry already mantled by payroll.

Sarah Palin herself has many times told the press that it is the responsibility of the Alaska State Personnel Board to ‘look into and make determinations’ of these complaints. This was her justification for having the Troopergate decision overturned, was it not?

For the sake of arguement: If a policeman in Alaska, through the normal course of his duties is accused of misconduct does he have to personally pay for the investigation ‘before’ it’s an actual charge? I can’t imagine this being the case. It would seem to me that only at the point in an inquiry where it is determined a complaint might have merit and the officer is asked to stand down while a full investigation is underway, that there is an attorney assigned to the officer for defense.

Are elected officials so different?

So here are my concerns:

1. If determining whether or not a complaint lodged against an elected official in the state of Alaska is one of the duties of the Alaska State Personnel Board, why would Sarah Palin need a privately collected defense fund to pay for that inquiry?

2. Why would Sarah Palin need to hire a defense team prior to being charged with any allegations of wrong-doing? Especially when these complaints have been summarily dismissed before charges were made as frivolous. If one hasn’t actually been charged with wrong-doing, where is the need for defense?

3. If determining whether a complaint against a public official warrants investigating or not is the job of the Personnel Board, and the Governor is collecting monies from citizens to also pay for these determinations, does this mean someone on the personnel board is being paid twice?

Your input is greatly appreciated – OzMud

To comment on this post please scroll back to the title: Alaska Trust Fund: The part I don’t understand – and click on the word comments.