Report: Probable Cause Sarah Palin Violated Ethics Laws

The Washington Post and Associated Press report they have received an independent investigator's report into whether Sarah Palin violated ethics laws by seeking money from the Alaska Trust Fund to pay her legal bills:

The report obtained by The Associated Press says Palin is securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts through the Alaska Fund Trust, set up by supporters.

An investigator for the state Personnel Board says in his July 14 report that there is probable cause to believe Palin used or attempted to use her official position for personal gain because she authorized the creation of the trust as the ''official'' legal defense fund.

Palin responds "''There is no final report. The Investigator is still confidentially reviewing this matter. " The investigator responds, "[H]is report was final. [More...]

From the Washington Post:

Thomas Van Flein, Palin's personal attorney, said in a statement: "The resolution of the Trust Fund is not final. I have been working with the investigator regarding supplemental information. The matter is still pending. Whatever you have seen was released in violation of law. There has been no Board finding of an ethics violation and there is a detailed legal process to follow before there is a final resolution."

Repurcussions to Palin: Probably financial only.

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    Don't worry (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 09:03:11 PM EST
    I'm confident that Palin's own investigator will issue a report any day now that clears her.

    @ this point does it (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 09:49:43 PM EST

    Doubt it (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 10:04:19 PM EST
    Very little could happen at this point that wouldn't entrench people's feelings regarding Ms. Palin still further, whether pro or con.

    Sometimes it's all Media (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Fabian on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:15:54 AM EST
    WRT to the whole Harvard prof versus the cop thing, I found it interesting in a little plastic castles way, something to read once and forget.  Apparently the Media thought differently.

    Palin is much the same.  Objectively, she should have put the VP nomination on her C.V. and gone back to being governor of Alaska.  But the Media thought differently, so we keep hearing about her, even though she's relatively insignificant.


    She did not really go back (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by lilybart on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 12:44:01 PM EST
    to being Gov. She set up Pacs and funds and twittered and made speeches and called People Magazine every day to complain about the mean bloggers, she sent her not-abstinent daughter out to promote abstinence, picked fights with comedians....and then realized that after you have been famous, being Gov of a state with fewer people than Staten Island, is just no fun anymore.

    Let's not blame the media. She used the media to stay in the limelight.

    But yes, if she had quietly taken care of state business, without being paid to live at home, for example, she could have rehabed her image. But she can't. She is compelled by some metal quirk to just keep making a spectacle of herself. And the media makes money because people love a trainwreck.

    If she were NOT a trainwreck, the media would ignore her.


    There are trainwrecks galore (none / 0) (#18)
    by Fabian on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    to choose from!

    You only have to keep an ear out for political catastrophes to find a new one every week.  Some of them even deserve to be in the limelight for sheer chutzpah.  Some of them strive just as mightily as Palin to attract media attention, to no avail.

    It's like Bradgelina - what have they got that other celebrities haven't got?  


    It does matter, until she is (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by lilybart on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 12:38:36 PM EST
     no longer a danger to me in the lower 48.

    If anyone has seen the movie A Face in the Crowd they might also be as worried as I am about her.


    Fantastic, prophetic film (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 12:48:16 PM EST
    that "came true", first with Reagan and then with any number of others, up to and including Sarah-the-Maverick.

    Sow's ears can now be "packaged" into silk purses, for all intents and purposes.

    Btw, how Andy Griffith didnt get the Oscar is beyond me.


    Showed a whole new Andy (none / 0) (#17)
    by lilybart on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 12:53:11 PM EST
    Griffith to me! He was small town handsome as the sheriff of Mayberry, but I had no idea what a FORCE he was!  He should have won an Oscar.

    If the world turns ugly instead of getting better, she could lead a know-nothing populist movement full of racists and it could be ugly.


    I don't know (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by BernieO on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 07:55:21 AM EST
    This all sounds like the same kind of piling on that conservatives did to Bill Clinton in the 90's. I was sceptical then and I am sceptical now. Let's not forget that Palin has some powerful friends in the Alaska Republican Party after getting some of them in trouble for corruption. The number of accusations alone make this suspect. I urge people not to jump to conclusions just because they don't like her.

    Hilarious (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 12:31:12 PM EST
    This all sounds like the same kind of piling on that conservatives did to Bill Clinton in the 90's
    Where did you hear that, from Sarah Palin?

    Some people are more susceptible to crazy stories than others, seems like Palin's fan base include many of them.

    $70,000,000 is sort of close to $296,042.58 if your brain has stopped functioning.


    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,

    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]


    Complaints by persons other than Palin against Palin cost only $108,294.66.  That's a far cry from $2 million.

    link via media matters via digby

    There are zero well funded liberal hit groups trying to get Sarah Palin. The ethics complaints that have been filed against her are coming from her own constituents and local officials who are fed up with her. And she's lying about the extent of the complaints remaining and calculating the costs in the most ridiculous way possible. Her endless hyperbole on the subject indicates that she can't do her job if people are criticizing her, which disqualifying in a politician.

    Let's put it this way; if she can't handle this, there's no way she can handle higher office.



    Your sources (2.00 / 0) (#23)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 04:17:02 PM EST
    $70,000,000 is sort of close to $296,042.58 if your brain has stopped functioning.

    and your numbers? What was reported at $70M vs. $296,042.58?

    Eric B. promoted his book in that article, and he quoted a bunch of liberal bloggers as though they were investigative journalists with access to accurate information. It's all opinion, and rumor. All of those accusations have been proven false, but that liberal blog will never admit that.

    I no longer trust Media Matters because it really should be 100% non-partisan and hold the media accountable to truth.

    I'm no Sarah Palin fan, but I sure am a fan of the truth. You are welcome to take such biased prose as absolute truth.

    Let me save you some time on replying.



    Poor Baby Palin (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 04:34:28 PM EST
    Was compared to Clinton:

    like the same kind of piling on that conservatives did to Bill Clinton

    $70,000,000 Ken Starr witchunt.  $260,042.58 Palin ethics violations.

    The $1,900,000 figure, rounded up by Palin to $2,000,000, was money already allocated to the legal services department, iow, it was their total of the state lawyers full time salaries already in the budget.

    Turns out that $260,042.58 was the actual number spent on 20 ethics complaints.

    It is truly hilarious to compare Palin to either Hillary or Bill Clinton regarding sexism and 'conservative piling on'.


    So why did you do it? (2.00 / 0) (#26)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:49:45 PM EST
    I didn't say one word about either Clinton.

    You didn't read any of the comments in this thread, did you? You just went looking for something you wanted to say and shoved it in anyplace you found a spot.


    Are You Insane? (1.00 / 1) (#27)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:21:30 PM EST
    As big as your ego is you are not the only one commenting on this thread.

    I responded to BernieO's comment comparing Palin to Clinton

    This all sounds like the same kind of piling on that conservatives did to Bill Clinton in the 90's.

    You asked about the $70,000,000 figure. I responded that it was what Ken Starr spent and in no way compared to the paltry sum Palin spent.

    I can see why you need medical insurance.


    I thought (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 02:31:44 PM EST
    Sarah Palin was filed under news we couldn't care less about?

    This is ridiculous! (2.00 / 0) (#3)
    by ghost2 on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 09:51:01 PM EST
    She is facing bogus ethics complaints, has taken on personal debt in defending herself, and even though she's cleared of every complaint, she can't raise money to defend herself?

    Meanwhile, I suggest TalkLeft cover some stories that seem to be very important, especially since I can't find even a mention of them in this blog:

    Fired Inspector General Says His Lawsuit Was Filed to Protect Future IGs

    Gerald Walpin, the man who President Obama fired last month as Inspector General of the Corporation for National and Community Service, will issue the following statement this morning, a few days after filing a lawsuit seeking reinstatement to his job.

    "I am bringing this lawsuit primarily to protect the system of Inspectors General, which cannot remain viable without insulation from  political and other interference," Walpin will say in the statement. "While I also am troubled at the mud-slinging lengths those who sought my removal have gone to attempt, belatedly, to rationalize their actions, the most important objective of this lawsuit is to prevent a successful illegal removal of one Inspector General from being used as a precedent for other similar interferences and the chilling effect that it would have on the willingness of other Inspectors General effectively to perform their job when faced with proceeding against friends of people in high places."

    The Little Scandal That Could

    Seems to me that the firing of the Inspector General is far more important than some second rate story on some Governor in Alaska.  Especially when lefty bloggers claim to be tired of the said Governor.

    As usual (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 10:03:29 PM EST
    TalkLeft is way ahead of the game.  Why, this site was even keeping an eye on Mr. Walpin way back in 2005:

    "Today when most of the country thinks of who controls Massachusetts, I think the modern-day KKK comes to mind - the Kennedy-Kerry Klan." Gerald Walpin, a Federalist Society board member, made the remark while introducing Gov. Mitt Romney.

    Does this sound like the kind of person who should be considered credible when they make accusations against Democrats?  Your call.  Either way, Joe Conason pretty much puts this non-story to bed.


    if you want to pick the topics (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 10:42:50 PM EST
    you'll need to start your own blog.

    Bogus ethics complaints (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 12:34:21 PM EST
    is for the courts to decide. If Jack the Ripper were around today and a semi-prominent Republican, you guys would be jumping up and down and caterwauling about how his family was suffering from these transparently partisan attacks. That's been the consistent history from Tricky Dick to the present.

    But, if you're upset, maybe you should call Rush and get it out of your system.


    She was NOT cleared of (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by lilybart on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 12:50:45 PM EST
    every complaint, not at all.

    If any or all of these complaints... (none / 0) (#9)
    by gtesta on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:22:44 AM EST
    were filed by using official avenues (e.g. say an EEOC complaint), then Sarah Palin should have every right to defend herself against the charges without having to use personal funds.
    I honestly don't know the originating source of all of these allegations, but it really does sound like political mischief to me.  Especially if these charges can be filed anonymously.
    I really do get riled up when I see attempts to drive "not independently wealthy people" out of the political arena.  Looks like that is what is happening here.

    You are missing a lot of information (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by lilybart on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 12:48:33 PM EST
    If you don't know the source of allegations and you don't know that ethics complaints are NOT filed anonymously then you haven't bothered to find out what you are commenting on!!

    Only two of the 20+ complaints are from any democrats. She had to pay the state back for bogus charges for her family to travel. The Artic Cat complaint is still pending, and it may be that Todd promised the Gov would wear their clothes as part of his sponsorship.

    Themudflats.com is a good place to start if you want to know what is really going on in alaska.


    Perfect example of the nuttiness (none / 0) (#19)
    by ks on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 02:28:12 PM EST
    "The Artic Cat complaint is still pending, and it may be that Todd promised the Gov would wear their clothes as part of his sponsorship."

    You're kidding me, right?  That such dubious nonsense is a pending "ethics complaint" pretty much says all you need to know the suspect nature of most of the claims.


    Meh. (none / 0) (#20)
    by gtesta on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 02:29:37 PM EST
    Ethics Page

    Reviewed the process and I stand by my comment.  Looks like I could create a helluva lot of grief for a political oponent without having to spend a dime of my money.  And it appears my complaint wouldn't become public at any time (although the complaintant would be given a copy).


    Ethics (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 03:39:03 PM EST
    Palin had signed a law making it easier to file such complaints.


    Of these inquiries, the one that cost the most and drew the most attention was centered on whether Palin inappropriately fired the state's director of public safety. This complaint had been filed weeks before Palin's run for vice president. [Filed by Palin]

    Although the governor and her supporters have criticized the investigations, Andree McLeod [a registered Republican], who has filed four complaints against Palin, thinks they are entirely appropriate.


    Watch Zane Henning, a conservative Wasilla resident talking about Palin pulling a Cheney regarding emails.

    Your characterization of the ethics complaints seems waaaay off to me. Here is a letter from a local. Sounds like she got less back than she doled out, politically speaking.


    The RNC, in a hyper-cynical (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 07:30:20 PM EST
    move, pulled her out of their as*es from nowhere in an attempt to pull off a two-fer: insult the intelligence of American women and get the PUMA vote. Now, after all the p.r campaigning and expended spit 'n shine, their permanently stuck with her -- and I would have it any other way.

    BTW (none / 0) (#28)
    by gtesta on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 07:54:31 AM EST
    I agree with you that the RNC "created a monster" and now they don't know what the hell to do.
    My point in posting all this is merely to point out that this is all politics 101.  Some people are abusing a system (imo) to create a sh!tstorm around SP.
    It's actually amateur hour as far as I'm concerned with these allegations.
    I don't like to see systems set up for good intentions being put to selfish uses for game playing.
    I don't support SP's politics but the irrational level of Palin hate just has too many parallels with the Hillary hate.

    Yes (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 09:55:16 AM EST
    Palin believes that she was treated worse than Hillary, but also believes that Hillary whines about it, and therefore causes a disservice to the women's movement.



    It's because, deep-down (5.00 / 0) (#30)
    by jondee on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:20:38 PM EST
    they're both delicate little things in need of protection. Otherwise, rather than constantly characterizing the attacks as irrational HATE (which is also a counterattack manuevre), they would be seen in the context of a long-standing tradition of typical, cutthroat, American political attacks.  

    When you're "hated" (5.00 / 0) (#31)
    by jondee on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 04:23:20 PM EST
    you go from being just another American pol to being a righteous martyr victimized by moral inferiors.