Since shortly after a Palin spokesperson declared that the governor's legal bills were around $500,000.00, Progressive Alaska has been asking the Alaska mainstream media to attempt to determine what percentage of Palin's legal bills have resulted from Palin's own complaint against herself (that resulted in the so-called Petumenos Report), and in response to the clarification request by Frank Gwartney, which resulted in Palin reaching a deal whereby she agreed to repay the people of Alaska about $10,000.00 she had illegally pocketed:
The ADN editors seem to feel they can safely continue to ignore how much of these, so far, undocumented "expenses" have to do with the two cases that would have quite obviously have become expensive - the Palin complaint against herself, that resulted in the Petumenos Report, and Frank Gwartney's complaint, which appears to have resulted in hours of haggling and research.
The Petumenos Report required Gov. Palin to be deposed out-of-state. The investigator was reimbursed at some sort of standard fee, no doubt, but his efforts, as sketchy as the product was that they produced, took lots of billable time. And Palin's attorney was deeply involved in this. No doubt, her attorney was also deeply involved in the return of illegally taken funds too.
PA isn't the only blog to speculate that a high percentage of Palin's legal expenses have resulted from these two cases, and from cases or issues that have not yet been made public.
Two weeks ago, I had a chance to ask Palin's attorney, Thomas van Flein, if he would be willing to provide details on the cost breakdown. Rather than just say "no," he dodged my questions for 12 minutes, possibly costing the Palins another $100.00 or so for his services.
Today's edition of the Anchorage Daily News contains a long article by Sean Cockerham in which he asks the same questions. It is about time. I understand that Sean has been hoping to be able to ask these questions since shortly after he became aware of PA's interest in this.
Cockerham got further than I was able to get, but ended up facing a big stone wall:
[I]t is not clear how much of Palin's bills were the result of an ethics complaint she initiated herself and one she settled by agreeing to reimburse the state $10,000 of her children's state-funded travel expenses.
Palin herself triggered the state Personnel Board's investigation of her on the so-called "Troopergate" affair last fall when she sent an ethics disclosure into the board. Palin did so because, she contended, the Legislature's investigation of the issue was politicized and she was seeking the appropriate venue.
Cockerham goes on:
Palin's lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, would not give a case-by-case accounting of how Palin has incurred so much legal debt, saying "that type of breakdown is protected by the attorney-client privilege." Palin's personal spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, did not respond to inquiries about whether the governor would waive the privilege and release that information.
Meanwhile, Conservatives4Palin today are attacking Linda Kellen Biegel's ongoing drive to pull in enough money to cover her expenses, as she attempts to find out the background on organized attacks against Alaska bloggers and citizen activists. Linda is seeking correspndence between Palin, some of her staffers, Anchorage Rightwing AM Radio personality Eddie Burke, Anchorage Daily News gossip columnist Sheila Toomey, and others. In a C4P article, penned by a person identified as I A Crowther, the snark-challenged author states:
Kellen Biegel is promoting her request as part of what she calls a “fight for government transparency”, which appears to imply that she thinks there is some sort of struggle going on with that aspect of government in Alaska.
There is such a struggle going on, and unlike many states with more transparent "sunshine law" structures than Alaska has, it is a contentious one.
It's ironic that in Cockerham's article on these transparency issues, Palin legal trust administrator Kristen Cole (who has not returned any of my phone calls on this) covers aspects of the fund's oversight:
Palin's friends and supporters created the legal defense fund, called the Alaska Fund Trust, in April. It's not known how much it has raised so far. The trust has no oversight from the state or federal political watchdog agencies. The Federal Election Commission said it's a state issue, and the Alaska Public Offices Commission, which oversees campaign spending and the financial disclosures of state elected officials, has no plan to get involved in regulating it, officials said.
Cole said there are no legal requirements for the trust to register with either of those agencies or to disclose its donors. But Cole said she nevertheless will put the names of all donors and the amounts they gave on the legal defense fund's public Web site four times a year, with the first posting likely in early August.
And in the C4P article on Linda Kellen Biegel's request for financial help, commenters are touching on Biegel's fundraising with statements like:
Dude you better get a grip. You can get as angry as you want, Diva is probably breaking the law. It is illegal to solicit funds for any political reasons without first filing with the federal government, the state government and the IRS. I know there are laws. Depending on Alaska's laws, there may be more places that Diva is required to file with.
Every single penny solicited for any political reason is full of federal and state requirements.
She is clearly - C L E A R L Y - soliciting funds for political purposes. She will claim the funds are for support of a private citizen to pursue corrupt government. That bogus claim is belied by the facts of her previous political activism history.
If she collects funds as a private person she will be required to follow all IRS rules related to same.
If she collects funds as a political activist she will have to abide by all the FEC/other rules.
Either way the legal action to stop her from obtaining the fruits of her labor seems to be a given. AFTER she posts the money (so it's tied up in a legal matter) challenge the legality of said funds. Demand a full accounting. If she claims the funds are personal, submit that they are political. If judged as political she will be in a heap of trouble because I guarantee she is not meeting FEC/other rules.
Sue her in either case for the entire cost of her fiasco. If I were a citizen of Ak I would donate to her fund and then sue her for breach of agreement.
It appears to me once she accepted a dime for political purposes she opened herself to a whole bunch of whip-ass!
You can donate to defray Linda's expenses here.