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. yoyo

    I'm just thinking... If Palin was real ugly, Kagan style (sorry for not being PC), would she have achieved the same celebrity status?

    June 25, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. Felonious Monk

    Palin and ethics, it seems as though she has a consistent problem with ethics and their application in daily life.

    what a big pile of excrement.

    June 25, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Felonious Monk

    Rogue-from a dictionary
    1. A dishonest, knavish person; scoundrel
    2. A playfully mischievous person; scamp
    3. A tramp or vagabond
    4. A rogue elephant or other animal of similar disposition
    5. Biology, a usually inferior organism, esp. a plant, varying markedly from the normal

    June 25, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Linda

    What do you mean "SEVERAL ethics complaints"? It was an on-slaught. It was nearly 2 dozens and counting. They weren't going to stop. If she stayed, they would've filed an ethics complaint once a day. It could top 365+ more.

    June 25, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Jerry

    I can not wait until this women is president, 2012 can not come soon enough.

    June 25, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. Joshua Ludd

    Unethical.. Palin? Naaaah! she is just a mavericky maverick who doesn't play by the rules of washington insiders.... or by state laws.

    June 25, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. carolyn

    "Ran a foul of ethics- try mail/ wire fraud, fraud etc.

    June 25, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It sounds as if Palin and the people who support her aren't really aware of the laws governing this country and in the states that they live. There seems to be a every growing list of ethical problems that she has. This really makes someone wonder what McCain was thinking when he decided to go with her.

    June 25, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. g

    please no more of the republican family rolemodel

    June 25, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. Phillip Bias

    So lets send the money back with a note that says if you wish to contribute to this fund send money here without the word official.
    Its stupid and its only done out of political hatred. but we can beat anything these idiots throw at us

    June 25, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Who Cares?

    I'm sure she will blame the "liberal" media for this.

    June 25, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Bad Caribou Barbie! Bad!
    Now we have to listen to at least three speeches from you for you to pay this back!

    June 25, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. Jack

    CNN – apparently still upholding their sworn oath to keep Palin in the news no matter what. Thank you for your continuous coverage of all things inanely Palin. Talk about a love affair.

    June 25, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Blaum

    $400,000 is nothing to this woman now..... she can raise that in a weekend if she wanted to.....

    so what....

    June 25, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. Anonymous

    What a ridiculous witch hunt. The democraps must reall be scared of this woman.

    June 25, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. jd

    You call this news, Anything she does is on the shady side and people love it??????

    June 25, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. GoDems

    Just because you did not see the speed limit sign was 45 and you were driving 55, doesn't mean that you didn't break the law. I think they should fry her for this. Get this idiot out of politics!

    June 25, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. one

    What a ridiculous witch hunt. The democraps must really be afraid of this woman.

    June 25, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Kay

    Ahh Sarah...you are the gift that keeps giving. Now look at you - palling around with unethical behavior...again!

    June 25, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. bppack

    so she has been found to have violated ethics laws (again) by establishing an illegal fund to pay for her legal fees in fighting ethics charges. and her spokesman's explanation is priceless – it's the investigators who are violating ethics laws. somehow she's the one who keeps getting caught using her position for personal gain. the sarah show just keeps getting better. can't wait for the next episode.

    June 25, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. g

    of coarse she would not know the law she was only the govener of alaska, she,s still trying to fiquire out what speed limit sign,s are for any body else would be in jail but with palin,s IQ they know no judge would convict her

    June 25, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Claire

    That's the problem with Sarah Palin....she "acts" in good faith and thinks that puts her above the law. Anyone with any sense would have known to talk to a lawyer to see if such a "contribution" administered by a "state employee" were legal or not....or at least ethical! This is NOT her first rodeo with ethic violations!

    June 25, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Dixie

    Why in the world does she now need private funds of any sort......she is probably already or soon to be worth millions. Private citizens would be better advised to help those truly in need.

    June 25, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Grace

    Poor Palin isn't even smart enough to hire attorneys smart enough to know what's legal and what isn't. If you're as stupid as she is, you certainly should have competent legal counsel. I swear, she's the gift that keeps on giving.

    June 25, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  25. Rocco

    Let's see if she acts like an adult and says it was an honest mistake or whether she pulls out her petulant "I'm the victim of a witch hunt" routine (which, aside from the irony of use of that metaphor, is getting a bit old).

    June 25, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
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