July 9th, 2009
10:45 AM ET
14 years ago

Ethics complaints still dog Palin

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/07/palin.future/art.palin.gi.jpg caption="Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin plans to step down in late July."]ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) - If Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin thought her decision to step down might end ethics accusations against her, she quickly found out she was wrong.

Just days after her bombshell resignation announcement, a new ethics complaint was filed with state authorities arguing that she should not be able to claim per diem funds when she stays at her Wasilla, Alaska, home instead of Anchorage or Juneau, where she has offices. The complaint says she was charging the state when she stayed in Wasilla and commuted to her offices.

The governor's mansion is located in Juneau.

Palin claims she is the target of the "politics of personal destruction," as she and some staff members face 19 filings regarding allegations of ethical violations.

"It doesn't cost the critics anything to file frivolous lawsuits or ethics violation charges. It costs our state such a great deal - thousands of staff hours, millions of dollars in public resources that aren't going to things that it should be going to," Palin told CNN. "We haven't violated the ethics code."

The pressure and financial cost of such ethical investigations are a major reason cited by the governor in her decision not to finish her term. She said her family is facing more than $500,000 in legal fees and has set up a legal defense fund to help defray the costs.

Many of the complaints have been dismissed. But Palin last month reimbursed the state more than $8,000 for travel expenses for nine trips, accompanied by her children, after the state paid for them. Another inquiry led to some new ethics training for a staff member.

In all, state officials say they have spent $1,963,840 to answer records requests from the ethics filings and to respond in other ways to them. Records show that since January 1, 2008, the state has spent $296,043 on such investigations.

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.

The public safety director claimed he was let go because of his refusal to fire a state trooper who was Palin's former brother-in-law and who was locked in a bitter divorce and custody battle with the governor's sister.

Palin and her supporters argued it was because the public safety director was insubordinate.

An independent counsel found she had a right to fire him, but in doing so had violated a state ethics law. It found she had abused the powers of her office by pressuring employees to get the trooper fired.

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

"I don't really care what other people think. I am holding the governor accountable. Other people's ignorance is not going to stymie me," McLeod told CNN, surrounded by stacks of state documents she has collected from filing information requests and ethics complaints.

"I am exercising my right to get these public records to discover what Sarah Palin is up to," McLeod said.

McLeod, a registered Republican, has filed four complaints, including one alleging a friend of Palin's was given preferential treatment in getting a state job. That filing was dismissed by a state board which investigates the claims.

McLeod has also filed two lawsuits, including one regarding whether it was appropriate for state business to be discussed using private e-mail addresses.

When ethics complaints are filed against the governor or her staff, the state has to hire an independent counsel to investigate the claims to avoid conflict of interest.

Among other claims against Palin cite her wearing an Arctic Cat logo on a piece of clothing during a snowmobile race as a conflict of interest and another contending an interview she did after the presidential election in her state office was inappropriate. Those were dismissed.

James Muller, a political science professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, told CNN that, "Some of [the complaints against Palin] are clearly fanciful, farcical.

"I think most of these ethical complaints are trivial. Almost all have been dismissed by the various levels of review that have taken them on," Muller said.

Any filings already in process before she leaves office will be concluded.

Palin had signed a law making it easier to file such complaints.

"She'd been pushing for that even before she was governor. To have it used in this way, to have it abused in the manner that it was is shameful. It's much like the boy who cried 'wolf,' " Thomas Van Flein, Palin's attorney, told CNN.

Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    Thats because she's incredibly childhish and useless.

    July 9, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. SLM

    The people filing these ridiculous claims against her should be held accountable for wasting tax payers money and they should be forced to pay the expenses. They must still fear her to keep on trying to destroy her!! Go Sarah!

    July 9, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. Barbara

    Everyone should leave Sarah alone and let her live her life.

    July 9, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. GI Joe

    She has no ethics – her problem.


    July 9, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. tom

    The last time I checked there were no ethics complaints filed against Romney, Mc Cain, Paul, Gulliani,Pawlenty and Crist and yet everyone was mentioned as a possible running mate. I truly believe Sarah has no clue she violated anything because those rules don't apply to a governor or a queen.

    July 9, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. GOP = 21st century dodo

    Sarah Palin oozes stupid the way Megan Fox oozes sexy

    July 9, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Jim

    while, i hope she's truly innocent of ethics violations, i'd not be surprised if she wasn't. too many politicians are of the "do what I say, not what i do" variety.

    July 9, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Scott, Tucson

    How about a little investigating reporting into the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac meltdown that help put us in this economic mess? Oh I forgot! it was headed up by democrats.

    July 9, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. AP

    Before I belive Sarah Palin But Now NO MORE No trust worthy, She do somithing wrong CNN work hard and find out truth.


    July 9, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. D

    I guess if she was ethical there wouldn't be all these complaints

    July 9, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. Mike

    I think all these ethics complaints will make Governor Palin more determined to run for the presidency and at least I hope so. She is just a normal every day person and the liberals and Washington elists cannot stand it. He popularity is climbing and obamas is falling. Now that is change I can believe in.

    July 9, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. Jeff, Huntington Beach, CA

    Sorry Sarah... unfortunately where there is smoke, there is usually fire. I hope they make any valid complaints against you stick, making you pay the price like the rest of us. You self righteous people are usually the worst, hiding your "greater good" behind a cloak of a "higher calling."

    Unfortunately, your kind never just go away. Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheny, are a few examples and Governor Sanford is the most recent example of the sickening lot you run with.

    July 9, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  13. CAL

    What gets me is CNN is always saying she is the top runner for the GOP, amazing. If this crook is the top for the GOP then that alone would let you know what type of people the GOP's are. They are crooks just like this stupid woman. I laugh everytime I hear she is a contenter for the 2012 race, are you serious? She is a nit wit and she has you media people right where she wants you.

    July 9, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. Blue Dog

    Hey right-wing kids! whine endlessly to make your parents to buy you the all new Caribou Barbie Jail Cell complete with bright orange jumpsuit, shivs and toilet wine-making kit. Don't forget to also demand your parent buy the Caribou Barbies friends so they can visit her in prison and the new improved First Dork doll. Oh wait, Caribou Barbie doesn't have any friends, they all left when she lost her mind and resigned as governor, and the First Dork has knocked up one of Bristol's friends and is living in the Caribou Barbie Bachelor Pad with Levi. Too bad Caribou Barbie.

    The all new Caribou Barbie Jell Cell, whine until you get one today.

    July 9, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  15. LLL

    Wow. Some of these really are silly. That's too bad. It' become like a witch hunt. What a waste of time and money.

    July 9, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  16. Johnathan S.

    If you think these allegation's are bad, wait until you see what's coming. You ain't seen nothin' yet.
    If I were Sarah I'd be real worried.

    July 9, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. citizenjane

    Sarah Palin is many things to many people. The one thing she will never be is president of the United States.

    July 9, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. pam Eugene OR

    I agree that it is not ethical to charge the state for working from her own home and I am sure she knows that. There is a home provided for her in the capital by the state. That is like me charging my office to drive to and from work. Nice gig if you can get it but not ethical!
    It was just too much for Sarah. Now she can be just herself and throw bombs at the left without risk. I am sure she will end up on Fox as a pundit. We have not heard the last of her.
    Let's not forget that she was not found innocent with troopergate.

    July 9, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. Pete in DC

    Please obama and dems keep the cash coming and you will be just fine.

    July 9, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. Fair is Fair

    Marines dying left and right in Afghanistan... no reports. Why? We got plenty of soldier's death reports when Bush was in office.

    RELAX... here's your Palin post. Spew your hatred.

    July 9, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  21. Once You Vote Black

    Palin was drummed out of office. But it was her bad attitude out of the gate that caused it. She had no respect Obama, the media, the pop culture or the Dems. Sensing that those same groups took her to the woodshed. Now she looks like I Love Lucy. She has W's disease, everything she touches turns to dust.

    July 9, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. frank

    Sarah thinks she can make up the rules as she goes. I guess she figured that she had so many kids that it would be better to work from home. Well it won't be long now until she can do just that.

    July 9, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  23. Barb

    One look at the woman making all these complaints and I can understand why she dislikes someone a smart, beautiful, energizing, and well liked as Sarah Palin.

    July 9, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. The Party of NO stood calmly by for 8 year while the shrub raped and pillaged America, so, why would we listen to you now?

    In the name of all that is Holy, CNN, the half-wit from the Tundra Trailer Court and her traveling side show of inbred hillbillies is soon to be a PRIVATE citizen.

    We would like a vow from CNN that after 07/26/09 we never have to look at or hear from the twit again, unless we tune into her show on Fox, which Scarborough keeps stating she is taking over Greta whoever's show should we wish to see the Jerry Springer show in drag.

    July 9, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. A. Goodwin

    Love it – one of Palin's law's comes back to bite her. Perhaps if she had not acted unethical on several occasions, people would be less likely to drudge up more ethics charges.

    July 9, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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