June 25th, 2010
09:05 AM ET
8 years ago

Palin fund unlawful, investigator says

Supporters of Sarah Palin have 90 days to return nearly $400,000 in donations raised by her legal defense trust.

Supporters of Sarah Palin have 90 days to return nearly $400,000 in donations raised by her legal defense trust.

(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."

Filed under: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. Larry

    I don't believe anything she says.

    June 25, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. sarah

    typical Republican abuse of power, please grow up

    June 25, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  3. kate

    Is this a suprise????

    June 25, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  4. John PA

    I'm so shocked....the "folksie" one caught grubbing for bucks? I keep hearing people comment on her looks. I have to say, whatever she has in looks is quickly negated as soon as she opens her mouth. Too much air space between the ears. She's good entertainment though which is why we keep getting sucked into these articles I guess.

    June 25, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. Brian L

    Illegal is illegal right Republicans??????? Isn't that what you say about undocumented workers?

    Drill, Drill, Drill... make big profits for oil companies, complain Obama is spending too much money, complain that Obama isn't spending enough money cleaning up the spill, Reduce government oversight, blame the government for not doing enough oversight over oil rigs, Protest the government for the moratorium, you want more drilling with the same equipment and laws that led to this oil disaster and this time there is no more clean up crews as they are all being used...

    June 25, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. MD

    Please don't listen to those who don't want you to report on Palin; just move her to your comedy section. I look forward to the humor each new day brings.

    June 25, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. popnsa

    It figures. Once a grifter, always a grifter.

    June 25, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. Marge

    Well a guy who was supposed to be acting illegal, unbeknown to Hillary Clinton held a fund raiser for her, she had to give the money back. And the republicans tried to tie her to the guy giving the fund raiser. So just asking Palin to give the money back and not even saying she did anything illegal is a far cry from the actions the republicans tried to hand on Hillary. Palin give the money back and go on from there. You sure have enough with all the money you have raised since you quit as governor to "charge" for everything.

    June 25, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Chris from San Antonio

    Sarah Palin involved in ethics violations? Unpossible.

    June 25, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Tom in Delaware

    All of this because of petty lawsuits.. 1 new one every 2 weeks brought on by the Democrats because Alaska didn't have a law preventing it....well they do now.

    A little perspective to the story would have been nice CNN, unless, of course, you wanted to paint a different picture.......good thing you're so unbiased.

    June 25, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  11. maf

    OMG, Sarah once again involved with an issue about ethics. . . something tells me this rogue will tell some more lies!!

    June 25, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  12. Conrad Sundol

    She'll be crying that she's a victim- again.

    June 25, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. Terry in Chandler, AZ

    When will this woman be history? John McCain, like Dr. Frankenstein, created a monster.

    June 25, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  14. ATR

    This silly cow is all about the money. Never in my life have I seen a politician "cash" in the way she has. I have no problem with her making $$ but don't pretend for a second that it is for "good of America". She is looking out for number one, pure and simple.

    June 25, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. sara

    This woman is soooo unethical. "Alaska Meth Style" politics and Lies! Money Hunger grabber.

    June 25, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Dale

    This looks bad for Sara, but it did get her name in the news again, and that is what she is all about.

    June 25, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  17. Joel Weymouth

    And no one in the MSM or the government ever investigated the contributions to the Obama compaign when even a cursory look at it showed that he was accepting contributions from foreign nationals (illegal) and contributions in excess of election limits by the same person using fake names (also illegal). The GOP has vowed to hire investigators to dig into BHO's past: something that would have brought outrage in 2008 (but should have been done and wasn't). Since he is president, it is highly appropriate. God help MSM if something turn up.

    June 25, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    I like this lady as a person but as a government official I would not support her for anything beyond a state official .

    June 25, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |

    This is just one reason not to trust this individual. It's all about money!

    June 25, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  20. Ellie

    "I'm not going to put Alaskans through that"..... YEAH RIGHT. What a load of CRAP coming from a EX-Governor who should have KNOWN BETTER!!! Palin is nothing but a slicks-ster. She's becoming a really good con-artists when it comes to MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.

    As Governor at the time, Sarah Palin KNEW her Defense Fund was UNLAWFUL. Her staff ALL KNEW they were UNLAWFUL in using her office and the notion of using the word "Official" as a way to get donations was ILLEGAL, ILLEGAL, ILLEGAL!!!

    Sarah Palin thought no one would catch her in this UNLAWFUL operation. She was trying to be "slick and greedy."

    This proves that Sarah Palin is nothing but GREEDY and she'll do anything and say anything for the Benjamins!!

    June 25, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  21. Linda

    Failin Palin – good faith? Come on, she does not have an ounce
    of good faith in her.

    Will the state be reimbursed for the state employee who was
    the trustee? Work on it Alaska. This whole thing has a bad
    smell to it.

    June 25, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. Dave

    The left has used everything in it's power to bury this woman (plane loads of "journalists" to wasilla, when she was governor they launched 20 bogus lawsuits that cost her state millions of dollars, thousands of her staff's hours, and nearly $500,000 of her own money and had another 20 lined up when she resigned). Meanwhile, barry soetoro crawled out the most politically corrupt city in America with best friends such as the poverty pimp Rev Racist, the terrorist bill ayers, the convicted felon/slumlord tony rezko, and frank marshall davis, but somehow the media was more interested in the story about Palin's baby not really being her own. Wake up America, you have been duped.

    June 25, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. Dean

    Sarah Palin and ethics don't belong in the same sentence

    June 25, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. Bob in PA

    Since when can an attorney interperet and make judgements.
    This should be a grand jury investigation and forwarded to a DA. The out to get Sarah crowd at all costs is pitiful.

    June 25, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. Darko

    Good lord. The woman was trying to keep her constituents from bearing the burden of paying for the millions in frivolous suits brought on by the Obots and they won't even let that go easy.

    June 25, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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