(CNN) - Supporters of Sarah Palin have 90 days to return nearly $400,000 in donations raised by her legal defense trust after an investigator ruled the fund ran afoul of state ethics laws.
The defense fund – established in April 2009 when Palin was governor of Alaska – was deemed unlawful because organizers used the word "official" to describe the fund on its website and appointed a public employee with ties to Palin to serve as its trustee.
"The Trust, and its website soliciting donations, if the funds were to be accepted by Governor Palin, would violate the Ethics Act by using the Governor's official position for personal gain," Tim Petumenos, the Anchorage attorney hired to investigate the matter, concluded Thursday in his report.
Specifically, Petumenos was concerned that calling the trust "official" and appointing an employee of the state to administer it gave the fund the appearance it was sponsored by the state of Alaska.
"The test…[is] whether, as a matter of policy and good government, public officials should serve in the capacity as a private trustee to solicit and administer private funds for the benefit of other public officials. The answer would appear to be no," Petumenos wrote.
But Petumenos' report made clear Palin acted in "good faith" and showed no intent to willingingly breach state ethics laws.
"Though the two reasons why the Trust violates the Ethics Act are important, they are not so obvious as to impute knowledge to Governor Palin, especially as her attorneys did not advise her of the ethics problems. Therefore, the evidence supports Governor Palin's contention that any violation of the Ethics Act was not a knowing violation," Petumenos wrote.
Meg Stapleton, a former spokesman for Palin who was instrumental in establishing the legal fund, defended the trust's actions but said the former Republican vice presidential nominee has determined it is not worth fighting the investigator's conclusions.
"Governor Palin has reached a point where she decided to agree to resolve this matter with the investigator rather than spend time and money fighting an ethics complaint about a fund that was created to reimburse her for the money she has spent fighting bogus ethics complaints drawn up by insiders and outsiders violating and abusing Alaska law," Stapleton said in a post on Palin's Facebook page.
Stapleton also announced a new legal fund has been established to benefit Palin as a private citizen.
The investigator's report comes a year after Palin resigned her post as governor of Alaska, saying that several ethics complaints initiated be Democratic activists served as too big a distraction.
"I'm not going to put Alaskans through that," she said in her resignation speech on July 3, 2009. "I promised efficiencies and effectiveness. That's not how I'm wired. I'm not wired to operate under the same old politics as usual."
She doesn't know the laws, what do you expect from an idiot. Pot calling kettle black. This is how she rolls. Blame everyone else but herself. She really needs to take a look in the mirror.
Look, this woman won the lottery when she was selected by the McCain campaign and now she's raking in the dough. She is no leader. Didn't even finish her term as Governor. She is just exploiting her followers to enrich herself plain and simple... What a disgrace.
Gee, Sarah Palin and ethics violations? They go together hand in hand. No surprise here. Can't stand this hypocrite!!!! Only the 15-20% of the Repubs like her. You know, the far right extremist traitors. Everyone else can see right through her.
This what happens when clueless wannabes get in over their heads.
this idiot is nothing more than a thief.
Talk about greedy, she has no shame.
Ms. Palin: Tsk, tsk, tsk. Now youv'e stepped in it.
yeah right, ever since this woman took center stage questions of unethical behavior continue to follow her. I just don't believe everybody is making making up this stuff. Sarah Palin is an opportunist, always have been and always will be!
Let me get this straight, Palin starts a fund to defend herself from the continual libtard attacks against her and it is determined illegal. Obama's Administration runs around interfering with candidates in Federal elections with offers of jobs and power positions to alter the political atmosphere of America and it is deemed okay even though the Federal laws specifically prohibit this type of bribery. Now I ask you, a fund to defend oneself against frivolous lawsuits, or an organized conspiracy by the WH to control the political will of the people, which matters?
"Stapleton also announced a new legal fund has been established to benefit Palin as a private citizen"
WHY would anyone contribute to a legal defense fund for a woman is making millions of dollars on Faux News and her speaking engagements??? This is nothing but money grabbing by Palin and her cronies!
She's wired to be greedy and take any monies anyone wants to give her so she can support the family. McCain and his wife showed her how to be greedy and lose touch with the people.
Ethics is ethics and if you're gonna take contributions – you need to be aware of the law.
Stay home in Alaska Sarah – stay home.
Palin is a disgusting piece of work. She's a maggot that knows how to manipulate the system.
Some irony here. She breaks ethics rules establishing a fund to defend herself against accusations that she broke ethics rules. Looks like a pattern to me.
This is not surprising. Rather, it is what happens when unqualified people believe they are qualified for office. Simply – they are NOT. Add to that, plain stupidity and the unsatiable need to make big bucks, and we get big mouths, strange ideas, lies, and more Palin wannabe's.
Drill Baby Drill!........Now Pay Baby Pay!
So stupid and clueless she can't even collect a half million legally. I sure hope she runs for POTUS in 2012.
Her supporters can expect to get beautifully printed IOU's in the mail, and promises that the actual check will follow.
Yeah. Their checks and the mailman delivering them fell off that bridge she built to nowhere.
There was no intentional malfeasance. She's a retard. She doesn't know any better.
Technically it is not a crime to be stupid. It is not a crime to be greedy. It is not a crime to be vindictive or vengeful. I wonder about the finding of "good faith" though.
i'm no fan of palin's. in fact i think she's pretty much everything I do NOT want to be.
at least she's paying it back and at least she acted in good faith at the start up
Let the sniping begin .... I'm not a fan of the lady but this stuff is truly so complicated and this breach is a mere technicality. Move on ... nothing to see here.
Why don't we leave Palin along for awhile and concentrate our energy on jobs, economy and cleaning Louisiana.
Isn't it funny how CNN and the liberal media have so much fun bashing conservatives, but don't even cover bigger scandals with democrats (ie the Al Gore sex-capades)?
If it wasn't for the main stream media, we wouldn't be going through these troubling times with an inexperienced "community organizer" as President. Now, we have a narcissistic, non-empathetic person (just look at his response to the oil spill) in the White House that is probably still a muslim and working from within to ruin this country.
Instead, the libs are looking for stories to bash people like Palin. There have to be more important issues currently.
Sarah palin caught in another ethics scandal...surprise...surprise...surprise...
Tip of the iceberg on Palin's illegal and unethical activities during her "term" as governess of Alaska. No wonder SHE QUIT.... LOL