Palin Misrepresents Ethics Complaint Dismissal Record

Ever since the stunning decision to quit her elected office, and abandon her constituents, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska has been relentlessly repeating the line that she has been victorious in every ethics investigation against her. This ABC News report is typical:

But she said a major factor in the decision was the mounting legal bills she and the state have had to incur to fight ethics charges from her political adversaries. None of the accusations have been proved but, she said, the costs of fighting them have been enormous.

This is a demonstrably false statement and, yet, every major media source has allowed her to utter it without contravention and many have blindly repeated it.

Perhaps Sarah Palin has forgotten the most extensive and professional investigation performed of all, the one by longtime Alaska prosecutor Steven Branchflower, appointed by the Legislative Council of the Alaska State Legislature, which found that Sarah Palin Unlawfully Abused Her Power:

Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired. She had the authority and power to require Mr. Palin to case contacting subordinates, but she failed to act.

Such impermissible and repeated contacts create conflicts of interests for subordinate employees who must choose to either please a superior or run the risk of facing that superior’s displeasure and the possible consequences of such displeasure. This was one of the very reasons the Ethics Act was promulgated by the Legislature.

The Branchflower report was not the only problem Palin had before she quit her brief tenure as Governor. Oh no, there is also the matter of the travel expenses she attempted to bilk her state out of and that she was forced to repay:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will repay her state for travel expenses for nine trips with her children as part of a settlement of a 2008 ethics claim, the attorney who investigated the matter said Tuesday.

Anchorage lawyer Timothy Petumenos said Palin’s office is still adding up the costs, but "I’m told it’s running about $7,000." Palin acknowledged no wrongdoing as part of the settlement, and her attorney said she has been "fully exonerated" by the investigation.

Complaints that Palin improperly took her children on state-paid trips emerged during the 2008 presidential campaign, when Palin was the Republican nominee for vice president. The state Personnel Board hired Petumenos to investigate that claim and others filed during Palin’s time on the GOP ticket.

Now, in fairness, by entering into a plea bargain settlement agreement with the state, and agreeing to promptly repay the ill begotten travel allowances, Palin was able to have the official record read that there was no abiding ethics violation, but the simple fact is if there was no wrongdoing, she would not have had to enter an agreement and repay the funds.

So, and perhaps the mainstream media should pick up on this, when Sarah Palin blissfully states she has been completely exonerated on all ethics complaints, and that she is oh so poor and picked on, it is a lie.

UPDATE: Edward Teller in comments gave a link to this information (h/t Henkimaa) on Palin that is further evidence of the dishonesty Sarah Palin has been engaging in with her convoluted and evolving explanations of her grounds for quitting:

Palin’s claim that $2,000,000 taxpayer (or rather, oil revenue dollars — this is Alaska, after all) have been spent on responding to ethical complaints against Palin.

Problem? Just two days before, on July 1, the Anchorage Daily News, the Juneau Empire, and the Associated Press all reported on figures released by the Alaska Personnel Board about the actual costs of its investigations into ethical complaints against Palin & members of her administration. The costs were considerably less than what Palin claims: $296,042.58.

What’s more, nearly two-thirds of that amount was attributable in no small part to an ethics case Palin filed against herself. As explained by Patrick Forey in his Juneau Empire story,

[T]he timing, scope and other factors of the single largest expense appear to fit the case Palin filed against herself that cost $187,797 to investigate. That’s almost two-thirds of the total $296,042 of all Personnel Board investigations in the last two years.

The self-reported complaint was a means to have a legislative investigator’s findings in the “Troopergate” case reexamined by a Personnel Board investigator. She said publicly that her self-reported complaint was without merit. [Ref #6]

Without merit, huh? Do I hear the word frivolous?

Sarah Palin is engaging in terminal misrepresentations with nearly every word she utters; and, yet, the mainstream media laps it up as gospel. Basic research of the facts on the ground in Alaska would put the lie to her disingenuous spiel, but that appears to be too much to ask of the worthies.

  1. Loo Hoo. says:

    She hasn’t forgotten, she just lies. Continually. Bridge to nowhere. She’s simply a liar.

  2. klynn says:


    Thank you!

    Let’s see her lawyer try to hit you on these points.

    Not. A. Chance.

    (btw, those are hugs for stating it “like it is!”)

  3. TheraP says:

    Glad you’re on this, bmaz! As I recall Palin herself appointed the members of the ethics committee which decides on ethics cases such as hers. Gee, how ethical is that?

    Yup, just linked above and here’s the quote:

    The Personnel Board is “an independent agency composed of members appointed by the governor,” according to its Web site. Its duties include hearing ethics complaints against Executive Branch employees.

    The quote above is from the article on the Wooten investigation and her lawyer’s contention it should be handled by those Palin herself had appointed!

    I’m not up on who, for sure, decided all the other ethics complaints. But this is surely up your alley! And you’re on the right trail here!

    • klynn says:

      You know, when all of that was happening, I was wondering if there was any way for citizens to fight for some kind of legislation that would not allow a seated gov in Alaska to be reviewed for ethics violations by a board appointed by said gov.

      Any suggestions bmaz?

  4. Neil says:

    And the press dutifully writes down her claim and repeats its ad infinitum

    “All but two of the 15 ethics complaints filed against Palin have been dismissed with no findings of wrongdoing”

    until the subject changes, with no sense that as reporters, they have an obligation, to the best of their ability, to verify the veracity of claims made by the people they report on. Trad Med political reporting in this country is in the crapper.

  5. bgrothus says:

    There is an article that also says Alaska is in the top 10 of states that are in debt, do not have finances to pay bills. She can’t deal with the budget crisis.

    Quit. Fail.

  6. scribe says:

    Is there anything – any fucking thing – she does not lie about? You show me. Please.

    I’m waiting….

    BTW, and this probably got mentioned somewhere in the comments over the weekend on her lawyer’s laughable threats to sue for defamation those who talked, wrote, or blogged about the potential for, or rumors about, possible criminality on the part of her or someone close to her:

    “Go ask Roger Clemens how that defamation suit he had his lawyer file against his former trainer MacNamee is working out”

    Because it’s working him into the position of perjury charges, if you don’t recall. And it’s opening him up to discovery. He’s coming out to be the picture in the dictionary next to the definition of “dumbass litigant who should have never filed suit”.

    Bitch would hate being deposed, particularly since she’s no longer governor and can’t rely on that to get her out of testifying any more.

    • Legion303 says:

      “her lawyer’s laughable threats to sue for defamation those who talked, wrote, or blogged about the potential for, or rumors about, possible criminality on the part of her or someone close to her”

      Did he say anything about me photoshopping (or at least “MS Paint”-ing) that picture of her so it looks like there’s someone peeing in her mouth? What if I implied that she was accepting a bribe to be peed on? I’ll get started immediately.

  7. oregondave says:

    None of the accusations have been proved but, she said, the costs of fighting them have been enormous.

    “None of the accusations have been proved” is a statement that ABC News is making. They are not attributing it to Palin. If they were, it would read

    None of the accusations have been proved, she said, but the costs of fighting them have been enormous.

    So this is the textbook example of, as you write, blindly repeating the lie. Accepted, as it were, as the starting point for discussion.

    • klynn says:

      Okay, let’s look at what she did say:

      Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt. The ethics law I championed became their weapon of choice. Over the past nine months I’ve been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations – such as holding a fish in a photograph, wearing a jacket with a logo on it, and answering reporters’ questions.

      Every one – all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We’ve won! But it hasn’t been cheap – the State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to “opposition research” – that’s money NOT going to fund teachers or troopers – or safer roads. And this political absurdity, the “politics of personal destruction” … Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn’t cost them a dime so they’re not going to stop draining public resources – spending other peoples’ money in their game.

      (my bold)

      A settlement is a bit different than a dismissal.

      • njr83 says:

        what she said
        Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt. The ethics law I championed became their weapon of choice.

        as I recall, the first wave of diggers were lawyers from the McCain campaign… doing the vetting they should have done BEFORE the nomination

        then the fun began

    • bmaz says:

      Go look around before you accuse me pal, she has relentlessly said that nothing has been proved and that she has won every complaint. That is a lie.

    • Blub says:

      ’cause in America (as opposed to Alaska) she thinks the Department of Law is gonna disappear anyone who criticizes or insults her. She’s daydreaming about what she will do to poor Ms Moore… and to Levi. Don’t cry for me Alaska!

      • tbsa says:

        After watching george in action I guess you can blame her for thinking she could be above the law.

        • Blub says:

          he.. Naomi Wolf did compare her to Evita Peron – clueless fashion-obsessed demagogue diva with a penchant for fascism and personal vendettas.

        • ratfood says:

          Dubya never played the victim card. Sarah does it almost daily. She’ll have to come up with something better than that to resurrect her career in politics.

  8. KenMuldrew says:

    But she said a major factor in the decision was the mounting legal bills she and the state have had to incur to fight ethics charges from her political adversaries.

    The most expensive ethics complaint was filed by Palin herself (she accused herself of an ethical violation in the troopergate business so that her hand-picked personnel board could clear her even though Branchflower had found that she abused her office (Branchflower was appointed by the legislature, not the executive)). But I suppose that she is one of her political adversaries, in an “own worst enemy” sense.

  9. maryo2 says:

    Palins’s exact words: “We keep proving that every time we win an ethics violation lawsuit, and we’ve won every one of them.”

    Settling or re-imbursing is not winning.

    • MaryCh says:

      I think she’s using the IOKIYAR measuring stick:

      not convicted = won

      Also, regarding

      she filed an ethics complaint against her self so that she could use her own “ethics” board to counter the report from the Legislature’s special counsel Branchflower

      Was this reported somewhere in the TradMed? Guess I was out on the Appalachian Trail that day, or was it Ipanema?

  10. maryo2 says:

    The Wall Street Journal blog has a new open letter from Palin’s lawyer.…..van-flein/
    It says:

    “Indeed, speculation about alleged embezzlement, kickbacks, and imminent federal indictments were so wide spread, and were crossing over into the mainstream media, that we took the calculated risk of actually addressing the issue, and the FBI took the unprecedented step of confirming that there never was any such investigation, there is no such investigation, and that there were no plans for any investigation.”

  11. Sufilizard2 says:

    Don’t be ridiculous. Sarah Palin has never told a lie in her life… unless, of course, by “lie” you mean saying something that is demonstrably not true.

    But by the Palinesque definition of “lie” she hasn’t done it.

  12. cjbr says:

    The real laugher was the fact that she filed an ethics complaint against her self so that she could use her own “ethics” board to counter the report from the Legislature’s special counsel Branchflower. I wonder where that fits in the won or lost column?

  13. cbl2 says:

    from that trainwreck of a resignation speech:

    the State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to “opposition research”

    uh, Sarah . . .

    JUNEAU, Alaska – The state of Alaska has spent almost $300,000 investigating ethics complaints against Gov. Sarah Palin or her staff


        • ratfood says:

          I saw she was wearing hip-waders earlier so she is evidently preparing to unleash a BS tsunami.

        • EdwardTeller says:

          That’s how you dress when handling set nets out in Bristol Bay. The orange rubber gauntlet gloves are a bit overboard, though. You can’t pick fish in those. So they’re just on as “show.” Couldn’t resist overdressing for the media.

  14. Twain says:

    And Chairman Steele said today that she is “off the table” for prez in 2012. hahahaha

    • ratfood says:

      I only skimmed Steele’s statement because I find him nearly as unintelligible as Palin but didn’t he attribute her off the table status to the current climate in which people are being mean to her, as opposed to the fact that she is unfit, inexperienced, corrupt, and so on?

    • STTPinOhio says:

      And Chairman Steele said today that she is “off the table” for prez in 2012. hahahaha

      Hahahahahaha (cont.) As if he’ll have any say in the matter.

  15. MarinCoUSA says:

    Same old same old Sarah. And PLEASE let’s not forget that she in her very first appearance on the national stage (repuke convention) she lied and misrepresented in the same way.

    IMO this is a style of speaking that has been refined on Wingnutistan radio: it’s pure propaganda, no fact checking allowed, unchallenged and unrelenting.

    Our ears- and especially those of her dittohead base- are completely inured. And call her out? Phalezz! Let’s have no unpleasantness, it would be impolite and disturb the nice dinner party.

  16. craigsays says:

    Sarah Palin is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

  17. tbsa says:

    Sarah lied what a shock. She’s been lying since she opened her mouth. Can’t remember how many thousand Olberman donated to charity at 100 bucks a pop for every lie she told on the trail.

    • STTPinOhio says:

      Sarah lied what a shock. She’s been lying since she opened her mouth.


      No disrespect to the post, but enough of this woman.

      Her 15 minutes are now officially up, and let’s not prolong them.

      • EdwardTeller says:

        Not so easy to say from Wasilla. She’s still my governor for a couple of weeks, plus change. That is, unless she decides to rescind her resignation at the last moment.

        • Blub says:

          hmm.. I hadn’t thought about that possibility. Could this whole thing have just been a publicity stunt.. and she’ll just declare next week that she’s been talked out of quitting?

        • Petrocelli says:

          ET, High Fives to you, Shannyn & all the Alaska Bloggers for the stellar work you’re doing.

  18. Blub says:

    slightly off topic, but I took a look at Shannyn Moore’s blog earlier. What struck me was the number of commenters proposing marriage. Now I know that the gender ratio in Alaska is something like 110 males to every 100 females, but still….

    • EdwardTeller says:

      Shannyn is holding up fairly well, under a lot of stress since Van Flein named her in his SLAPP threat. He should have named me instead, really, but he’s been pissed at her since she observed last year that the prosecutor who handled the AK Legislative Council Report, Steven Branchflower, was called “incompetent” by van Flein. Branchflower had, years earlier, successfully prosecuted a man who had murdered Van Flein’s girlfriend.

      • bmaz says:

        How is van Flein thought of up there separate and distinct from Palin? I just found out he went to University of Arizona Law School, but have not found anybody yet I know that knew him.

        • EdwardTeller says:

          He’s fairly well regarded.

          My only encounter with a member of his firm was when I objected to the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra honoring Exxon in a concert, three days before the Supreme Court was to hear the Exxon Valdez case, back in February 2008. The firm notified me, on behalf of the orchestra (which has played more of my music than that of any other Alaskan!) that if I organized a protest, we would be immediately ejected from the building.

  19. damagedone says:

    Some tax issues:

    The State of Alaska contributed to this mess up – per diems for living in Wasilla. Juneau is the tax home not Wasilla but state did not appear to know the law.…..03325.html

    However for Anchorage per diem while commuting from Wasilla, there is much less of a solid argument that it might be state of Alaska’s fault.…..26667.html

    For the expensive clothes that were bought by Republicans for the Palin family in costly retail establishments; this was not a ‘loan’ as suggested in one story (I believe AP). Sarah did not go over to Cindy McCain’s house and borrow a bunch of outfits. The clothes were a ‘gift’ that was accepted and the Palins should report income on their 2008 tax return. Around $150000 worth, if I remember correctly.…

  20. esseff44 says:

    Here is the link to the list of complaints filed with the ethics board and their disposition. There are 18 complaints listed, not 15. Two of them are still pending. I understand that another one has been filed in the last few days.

    I am pleased to see this item because it was exactily what I was thinking as I watched all the interviews on the beach at Dillingham with Sarah in her waders and pulling at fish nets. ABC, MSNBC, CNN all did long pieces but none on them called her on the pending cases or the others that had not been ‘dismissed’ but settled with her reimbursing the state. What about the claim for per diem for working from her own house?

    Palin said Monday she didn’t view the cost as just the $300,000 for the personnel board — but rather $2 million for the state. It is a figure her administration now uses — not meant to be actual checks written by the state but to also reflect time of state employees.

    It is a per-hour calculation that the Palin administration put together, involving time spent by state lawyers deciding which public information to release as a result of all public records requests, time spent by governor’s office staffers responding to media inquiries about ethics complaints, and time technicians spend on retrieving requested e-mail, among other things.

    The Anchorage Daily News questions the figure of the millions spent on these complaints.

      • EdwardTeller says:

        Why can’t the Anchorage Daily News or the NYT, for that matter, do what one patient woman with two full time jobs is able to put together? It is great work, bmaz.

        PS – she wants to meet Marcy.

        You might want to put a link to Mel’s article in an update.

    • esseff44 says:

      Yes, that addressed it pretty well. Here is another from the ADN that addresses the FOIA requests along with more details on the ethics complaints and lawsuits.

      From the article:

      Even as Palin assumes lame duck status till she formally leaves office July 26, the complaints continue. On Monday, Wasilla resident and North Slope worker Zane Henning said he would file his second complaint against Palin, charging her with inappropriately collecting a state travel allowance while living in her home in

  21. esseff44 says:

    A few other points about her claims:

    1. Every elected official has complaints filed against them. There is nothing ‘new’ about this being a part of politics and it did not begin with her.

    2. The complaints started being filed before she ‘was tapped’ to be the GOP VP nominee.

    3. The complaints were not related to any ‘opposition research’ done by outsiders as a result of her VP run. Only the CREW complaint about the clothes being a violation of the campaign and elections laws was from outside Alaska. The others were local and had to do with local issues.

    The MSM interviewers just let her run on and on and repeat the same lies and distortions over and over.

  22. Leen says:

    Pissed off Patricia over at Washington Note “every time Sarah speaks we all feel smarter”

    Hope she wrapped up a deal for a talk show host or reality show host.

  23. freepatriot says:

    Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt.

    and like the gold prospectors of who rushed to Alaska 100 years ago, they found a shitload of what they were looking for

  24. shell says:

    Don’t you get it YET? The “news” corporations just care about RATINGS. Anything that comes out of this woman’s mouth equals ratings. Truth, lies — they’re all the same.

    What you have to do is forget whether something is truthful or not — just whether or not people will watch.

    When you realize this, all will be clear. No sense pulling out your hair. It’s rather simple.

  25. tanbark says:

    The consistently low-and-getting-lower price of oil is about to hit Alaska right in the shorts. Here’s a clear thought on bailin’ Palin’ and why she did it. The freedom to run, or at the least, to fund-raise for the flat-earth wing of the party, dovetailed, but I think this was at the core of her quitting:…..26841.html