July 7, 2009 / by bmaz


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.

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Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/2009/07/07/palin-misrepresents-ethics-complaint-dismissal-record/