Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been targeted with some frivolous ethics complaints this led to the creation of a legal defense fund to help settle the legal debt that had been amassed as a result. Obviously Governor Palin is happy with the news that they are being dismissed left and right.
On Friday, the asinine complaint that Governor Palin’s role with SarahPAC was a conflict with her role as Governor, Sean Cockerham of the Anchorage Daily News reports was dismissed.
“I find that the complaint does not allege facts which constitute a violation of the Ethics Act. Therefore an investigation is not warranted. Pursuant to my authority…the complaint is hereby dismissed,” independent counsel Thomas Daniel concluded today.
Regarding her trip to Indiana Daniel said:
“The governor’s decision to leave the state at the end of the legislative session, may have been unwise. But the voters should express their opinion on that subject at the ballot box – not in an ethics complaint,” he wrote.
Daniel also wrote that “the fact that the Governor traveled to Indiana to attend a dinner (and a breakfast meeting the next morning) did not take significant time, if any, away from the Governor’s duties…the Governor has staff members who interface with the Legislature, and the Governor herself can communicate with members of the Legislature by phone or email, even when she is in another state.”
The ethics complaint also claimed that her role with the PAC constituted a “contract” to work for it’s interests on national issues, not so says Daniel.
"The real purpose of a leadership PAC is to allow nationally prominent political leaders to solicit funds to pay for the expenses associated with traveling and speaking on national issues. It is not al all clear that this will be incompatible with Governor Palin’s normal duties as Governor, which include expressing her opinion on a broad range of issues of concern to Alaskans and the nation.”
Today, two more ethics complaints were dismissed. In a press release from Governor Palin’s office said this proves the accusations lack merit.
Today the governor’s office was informed that yet two more ethics complaints filed against Governor Palin have been dismissed, part of the mounting evidence that accusations of wrongdoing by the governor lack merit and have been politically or personally motivated.
The complaints, one by Zane Henning of Wasilla, filed on November 13, and one by Anthony Martin of Talkeetna, filed on December 2, were dismissed by Michael Geraghty, an investigator for the State Personnel Board. Geraghty concluded “that the conduct asserted, if true, would not constitute violation of the ethics act.”
“These are the 10th and 11th actions taken on behalf of the Personnel Board that favorably resolve complaints against the governor or her staff, and to date there has not been any violation of the law substantiated,” said Thomas Van Flein, the governor’s attorney. “There are a few more complaints pending, and then we hope this abuse of the Executive Ethics Act will cease.”
Henning alleged that the governor used her official position and office for partisan political purposes because she conducted interviews with reporters in the Atwood Building in Anchorage on November 7, 2008, and again on November 10, during which the recent vice presidential campaign was discussed. After what he called an “exhaustive review” of the ensuing news reports, Geraghty concluded: “There was no indication that Governor Palin presented her official position as governor of the State of Alaska for an improper personal or financial purpose.”
Martin alleged that the governor and aide Kris Perry violated the ethics act during a trip to Georgia in which the governor campaigned for Senator Saxby Chambliss. Geraghty concluded: “The (ethics) act does not prohibit a public official from engaging in political pursuits independent of their position as a public officer, and the campaign efforts undertaken by Governor Palin are not prohibited by the act.”
Regarding Perry, Geraghty wrote: “To constitute a violation of the ethics act, the facts alleged would have to support a finding that Governor Palin coerced Perry to benefit her own personal and/or financial interests. The Martin complaint does not allege facts suggesting coercive conduct by Governor Palin.”
“Not one of the complaints actually reached the personnel board for its formal adjudication,” noted Bill McAllister, the governor’s communications director. “Rather the complaints have fallen short based on just a simple review of the facts and the law.” McAllister also responded to comments by critics of the governor who allege that the personnel board process is flawed because the members are appointed by the governor.
“This is an illogical argument: Why file a complaint with a board that you think is biased in favor of the person you’re targeting?” McAllister said. “But the fact of the matter is that all three members of the personnel board originally were appointed by the previous governor, and they could not be removed by Governor Palin except for actual wrongdoing. The governor’s opponents are just frustrated because they are batting .000 in their attempts to show a violation of the ethics act.”
Ok, enough already! Remember to donate to the defense fund (max is $150). If I were an Alaskan resident I would find a way to have some recourse against people who waste taxpayer money via frivolous ethics complaints. This shouldn’t be allowed to continue without some sort of recourse.
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