June 25th, 2010
09:05 AM ET
4 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. RickyT

    It doesn't matter if she KNEW she had broken ethics laws. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking a law. Palin is just getting off like she always will. She makes me sick!

    June 25, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. david john

    did anyone with half a brain think for one minute that this moneygrubbing moron was totally ethical.......come on guys.

    June 25, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. Dixie

    This slippery female will probably find a way around this decision. Pay your own legal fees Sarah.

    June 25, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. Betty SC

    Here we go again. Another lie from Sarah Palin.

    June 25, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. TM

    Saint Sarah used her elected office for personal gain? Not surprised. Rules are for little people.

    June 25, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. doug

    The George Soros types who want a new world order where they control the lives of every person on the planet are spending millions trying to destory Sarah Palin.

    Why can't good hearted decent honest Americans be able to fight back and defend Sarah Palin against these baseless attacks?

    You now know that Democrats have no use for honesty or ethics, this attack on Palin is proof. Vote Republican, you will sleep much better at night.

    June 25, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. David

    It might of not been intentional and all in good faith, but it was bad judgment, which continues to be a trend for Palin. If Bush was able to destroy our reputation in the world and manage to hack our economy to bits, just imagine what Palin can do when she is in charge. WAKE UP AMERICA!

    June 25, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. chris

    poor sarah...the victim of another vicious smear campaign by the...liberal media?

    June 25, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. Jeff

    What´s the big deal? She probably just mis-spoke, mis- wrote or forgot. CROOK

    June 25, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Judy

    Sarah needs to quit while she is ahead taking money from people who claim the economy is bad. If they really thought Obama wasn't doing a good job on the economy ask Sarah, she is benefiting from it and people needs to wake up and realize this women is a danger to the American People. All she want is money no matter where she get it. Sarah is a liar and a fraud. People beware of the evil mouth Sarah.

    June 25, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. TangledThorns

    Investigated by DNC pawns no less. Very unfair Sarah Palin is treated this way while Obama and his Chicago cronies get away with corrupting D.C.

    June 25, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. DanInNooYawk

    People love Palin because she's a chip of the ol' Dubya block: contempt for laws and good governance.

    June 25, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. GL

    This woman is the biggest joke ever.

    June 25, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. A. Goodwin

    Anyone who belives that Palin doesn't "operate under the same old politics as usual," is completely dillusional.

    June 25, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. Mark G

    It figures Barbi has no clue. Her actions speak volumes. Keep going Barbi, perhaps you and your cronies will end up in jail.

    June 25, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. GL

    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.
    ------------------------------------–

    This woman don't know nothing and she was one step away from running this country. Ignorance is not an excuse if you what to be the V or the President of the USA. This woman is not educated enough to run a dog house let along the White House.

    June 25, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  17. Observer

    It's Sarah Palin. Did ANYONE expect her to know that or to check for facts?

    June 25, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Scott

    Republicans don't care about facts about Sister Sarah, they just like to look at her and drool.

    June 25, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. once upon a horse

    some way some how Sarah Palin will figure out a way to blame this either on President Obama, the DNC, or the evil left wing media. Of course it's NEVER her fault and NEVER will be.

    June 25, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. Tom

    Palin and the word ethics have never gone together.

    June 25, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  21. Antonio

    So this woman, who is raking in hunderds of thousands of dollars from speaking engagements, based simply on the fact that her celebrity is an accident of history, needs others to contribute to her defense fund to fight ethics charges resulting from her unethical behavior. Do I have that right? Only in America! You couldn't make this stuff up.

    June 25, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  22. ST

    "a fund that was created to reimburse her for the money she has spent fighting bogus ethics complaints".
    Didn't Sarah said that she is quitting her job because she can't afford fighting ethics complaints using her own money? What was then the fund for! Which is the truth here? Something doesn't add up!

    June 25, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. Len (Colorado)

    She "acted in good faith". Good, the next President of the United States...Drill baby Drill.....

    June 25, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. Jim

    Palin? Using her position for person gain? Say isn't so.

    June 25, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. Terry - Indiana

    Should we be surprised by this revelation?

    June 25, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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