Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saradise Lost - Book 2 - Chapter 45-- In Defense of Sondra Tompkins

There are some major flaws in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's response to the most recent of 12 ethics complaints filed against the governor.

The newest complaint, filed yesterday by my friend Sondra Tompins, alleges that Palin has struck a contract with contributors to the governor's political action committee that conflicts with a governor's duties under Title 39 of the Alaska Statutes. The complaint seeks redress for all Alaskans, not for the complainant herself.

I've read Tompkins complaint twice now, and familiarized myself with the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act last fall. (I had hoped that our legislature, based on Palin's need to refund almost $10,000.00 in illegal travel expenses for her children, and the expense to taxpayers borne by Palin's own ethics complaint against herself, would consider introducing a new executive ethics bill this session). I've listened to Tompkins defend her actions on KUDO-AM radio yesterday. I've read the governor's response.

The response fails to note that one of the complaints was filed by the governor herself. It fails to note that most of the $500,000.00 the governor has had to pay were to finance her own complaint. It fails to note that the reason for that complaint was that the governor, after pretending to comply with the parameters of what became known as the Branchflower investigation, took this expensive new course upon herself.

It also fails to note that another resulted in the Palins having to refund almost $10,000.00 the family had illegally taken from the people of Alaska. That is about twice as much money as Vic Kohring is sitting in prison for having taken from Bill Allen. Allen could afford it. The people of Alaska, in Palin's case, cannot.

The governor's response fails to note that most of the complaints filed are currently under review. Seeing as that is the case, Palin's claim in the response, that "yet another baseless ethics complaint has been filed," has no merit.

Palin alleges further in the response that publicizing any of the executive ethics complaints is a violation of state statutes. If that is so, then the governor is as guilty of this breech as is Tompkins, for Palin announced the filing of her own complaint against herself rather loudly.

The ambiguity in the statute, which the governor then addresses in the response, is part of why I hoped our legislature would look at crafting a better law for our executive branch employees, one that would criminalize, for instance, Palin's week-long 2007 trip to New York City with one of her daughters, staying at a pricey hotel, to make a speech for a few minutes at an event that had not invited her daughter's participation.

Personally, I'm glad Palin made the trip Tompkins is complaining about. The less time Gov. Sarah Palin spends in Juneau during legislative sessions, the better. She can stay in Wasilla or Evanston Indiana for the rest of the year, too, for all I care.

Commenter HankZ at the ADN story on the complaint, says:

What's troubling about Bill McAllister's statement is an exhortation to lash back at anyone who contends that the Governor's activities are in violation of Alaska's state ethics laws. If this ethics claim is baseless, then let the claim stand or fall on its own merits. The proper response to a claim is not to lash back, but to turn the other cheek.

If someone does not agree with the contents of ethics laws and wants to make Alaskan ethics statutes less stringent, then by all means they should advocate this and pursue legislation to enact those changes. I fear, however, if this is done, we Alaskans will never escape the stigma of being a den of corruption, where those in power threaten and bullyrag those who disagree with them.


the problem child said...

Gee, why not get every member of her staff to chime in on why this is soooo unfair to poor Sayrah.

Anonymous said...

Why can't she just be above reproach? Why can't she just do things while she is in office that won't be questionable? Don't wear designer brand clothing, choose replacement senators for the other party who have been members of the party for a long time who they will be happy with, don't travel during the last three days of the legislative session. . . it's not that hard!

mdlw56 said...

Surely Palin should win some kind of ribbon or recognition for having the most ethic violation complaints ever filed against an elected official.

Palin has no one to blame by herself.

Anonymous said...

In the magical world of Sarah Palin, everything she does is RIGHT. In the magical world of Sarah Palin, ethics are what SHE says they are, and can change from day to day, hour to hour. In the magical world of Sarah Palin, complaints about the rules of the magical world MUST BE STOPPED. They are annoying, interruptive blips interfering with the harp music running in her head, her personal magical soundtrack.

Sarah Palin does not operate in the real world.

Anonymous said...

First, I think we should amend our constitution in two ways (unfortunately the legislature would have to do that for individual amendments); so a constitutional convention could be called by a 2/3 majority voter initiative, and second so a convention could be called for a specific limited purpose defined in the initiative, like, say, to revise executive branch ethics.

I believe the only way executive branch ethics would even have a chance of being reformed would be if the legislature and governor were not involved.

I think executive branch oversight should be handled by an independent commission that is either non partisan or balanced between the two major political parties and also represented with independent voters. I think commissioners should be appointed by the chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, similar to how public members are now appointed to the Legislature's ethics committee.

If we revised our constitution with ethics provisions that had bite, and if we had independent enforcement, perhaps our politicians would become more ethical.

By the way, I've been thinking about this for a while!