Monday, June 22, 2009

Saradise Lost - Book 2 - Chapter 67 -- Palin Legal Fund Marathon Ends in Fiasco as Her Mouthpiece Refuses to Be Transparent

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's friends at the web site, Conservatives4Palin, held a fundraiser that ended late yesterday. It was meant to bring in funds for Palin's mounting legal bills. The goal was set - undoubtedly in a highly unrealistic moment - at $500,000.00. The fundraiser raised just over $110,000.00. That was about 22% of their goal. It is still taking money.

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.

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.

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.

Another commenter:

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 Sarah's lawyers here

You can donate to defray Linda's expenses here.


Anonymous said...


Irishgirl said...

I donated to Celtic Diva!! :)

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

At the end of IAC tirade against Diva I find this really RICH!

"What do they know about the background of the person to whom they are being asked to give their money?

Has she been open and transparent?

Can she be trusted?"

Shoouldn't they be asking that about GINO?????
And ManSour who is trying to get as much facetime as possible from this begathon has also made a veiled threat against Diva.
I have screenedshot it and emailed her and will gladly send it should she decide they are cyberstalking her, also...too,
It has be noticed this creepy Crowther guy has a fixation on Diva, he is always the first to cast a stone her way. WTH with that???

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love when the PEE-ONS say, "If I lived in Alaska, yadda, yadda, yadda." PIUAT

If they turn around quick, they'll see their brain CELL just took off.

Anonymous said...

I donated to Celtic Diva and I predict she will make the $$ necessary to go forward! Go Diva!

In terms of cyberstalking and the illegality of it, I hope everyone will take a look at the definition on Wikipedia (by everyone, I mean especially C4p-ers). The behavior of the C4p-ers on Palingates yesterday, for example, would be categorized as cyberstalking. If anything happens to CD's website, it would be against the law. (Perhaps in their great fits of anger, some of them forget about their own electronic footprints?)

midnightcajun said...

I would take the figure C4P claims to have raised with a grain of salt. At one point they were telling people to write in and tell them how much they had donated in the past to both the Fund and the PAC, and counted that in their total. Creative bookkeeping.

Anonymous said...

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

justafarmer said...

The extent of their ignorance and faux outrage is astounding.

Anon at 2:23: they clearly don't understand the basic principles of politics, fund raising, accounting, legal issues or the IRS, so they won't know how to cover their cybertracks (much like an incontinent cat trying to cover up after itself on linoleum).

Anonymous said...

C4P = Cyberstalkers for Palin?

juju said...

Looking forward to Diva reporting on her fund ...names and amounts of donors. C4P will be listing this info in Aug. Will Diva be reporting this as income to the IRS or does she need to file the necessary papers as a pac?

justafarmer said...

BTW, great post, Phil!

Anonymous said...

@juju, why do you care?

CelticDiva said...

Juju, read this:

PayPal keeps the information for me in a very organized fashion. As a private citizen reporting income, the IRS is the only organization I must report to.

My accountability to my donors will be the receipt I get from the State of Alaska when I pay the bill. I will scan it and post it in a prominent place on the blog.

basheert said...

CelticDiva: Why are you feeding the JuJu troll?
For heaven's sake ... it has 1 neuron and it has nothing new to say. No one CARES what JuJu says or thinks. No one wants "it" here.

The Peeing in the Sea idiots are making up IRS rules as they go. CD is not stupid. She will be in full compliance of all rules and regulations for fund raising (which of course IS legal).

Now about that Lunatic's transparency issue in Alaska. You know, the raving nutcase called SP? How about the Arctic Cat "gift" machines????


crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

WTF do you care? Diva doesn't have to disclose who gave to her fund,now you are claiming c4p is going to be reporting.... WHAT Kristin Cole says about GINO's Slush fund????
Well hopefully the whole pack of them will be in jail by then. Wonder if Naughty red monkey shoes are allowed there, Do ya know????

Anonymous said...


She best be careful bending over to do her Naughty red monkey shoes up!! One never knows what could happen!!! LMAO!!

I'm sure someone would gain access to a cellphone!! a la Youtube!!

justafarmer said...

C4P can't legally "disclose" anything because C4P doesn't control or even have access to the AFT.
Delusions of grandeur can be satisfying for them, however, no matter how silly the quicksand basis of their own legal opinions.
My fave was the C4P person who claims to have donated $5 to Diva so he/she could demand a complete accounting (including all names and donation amounts), and therefore create all sorts of diabolical legal sky is falling (including jail time for fraud) for CD.
How sad....sigh...

Anonymous said...

Look we all know that the groupies over at C4P are simply juveniles who aren't capable of rational discussion. They don't allow anyone to say anything whatsoever that might even hint at being negative towards Palin. They claim to be free from personal attacks on others, yet all one has to do is go there and read the comments and you can see the elementary school mindset and behavior.

Just ignore it. Let them play their little games, and make their childish and immature comments. It does nothing more than show them for what they truly are, and shows exactly the kind of "supporter" that Palin attracts! That will do more to dissuade people than anything we can say or do.

Aussie Blue Sky said...

"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."

ROFL! I'm likely to walk on the moon in August too also! :D

ella said...

As horrible as Sarah's fashion sense is, I do not see her wearing red monkey shoes with an orange jumpsuit. I am sooooo looking forward to turning on the tv and seeing a re-play of IL Gov. Blago being led away in handcuffs - only replace Blago with the AK GINO. After all, she makes Blago look like a boy scout.

Anonymous said...

A comment form Mudflats:

“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.”

Some very quick legal research suggests that statement is not supported by the common law (decisions by judges) in Alaska.

For example, in Moudy v. Superior Court, the Court of Appeals of the State of Alaska, cited and relied on a case for the proposition that “information concerning the amount, source, and manner of payment of legal fees is not protected by the attorney-client privilege because such information does not convey the substance of confidential communications between the attorney and the client.”

That case is here:

Also, a good argument can be made that because Palin (or anyone acting on her behalf) already disclosed that she supposedly incurred a certain total amount of legal fees “debt,” any possible attorney-client privilege about the legal fees “debt” Palin incurred has been waived by Palin.

Thus, the statement that “that type of breakdown is protected by the attorney-client privilege” is complete nonsense and finds no legally supportable justification.

Nancy said...

I believe it is the IRS that might be interested, except for the fact that it's gifts.

It used to be that you could accept 10k as a "gift" and as such, it wasn't considered taxable.

So, every one of us could "GIVE" CD 10 grand apiece (IF we had it - ha!), and she'd not have to declare any of it.

What I "donate" (give) to CD is a GIFT.

basheert said...

Nancy: the IRS is VERY interested in "gifts". They monitor "gifts" - most often gift tax is incurred when individuals gift cash to children or family members. I believe this was the original purpose for gift taxes.
Todd and SP obviously have a contract with Arctic Cat. This has nothing to do with gifting. It is a contract whereby TAHD receives equipment at cut rate prices and keeps the equipment. I believe the IRS would consider at least a portion of this as a gift or at the very least, reportable income.

In political are things that come to politicians that they keep. They are required by law to report the value.

It is unrelated to gift taxes for individuals I believe. But the IRS is the BEST determinant for how this works.

Anonymous said...

per IRS website, gifts are taxable to the donor, not the recipient.

Anonymous said...

C4P =

Crackpots for Palin ?

Cranks for Palin ?

Cultists for Palin ?

Anonymous said...

Great analysis and breakdown Phil! I hope all you guys up there keep this up. Something is definitely not right about all this bs and I hope my donation to CD will help to do something about it. LOL at the irony of the echo chamber spouting off like that. If it weren't so maddening it might be a tad bit funny......but I can't find any humor at all.

Anonymous 4:54======Nice try. I don't think it works that way at all. Would love to see the link to your info. Hahaha! Not holding my breath.


basheert said...

OK - go ahead & receive a large financial windfall from a CORPORATION who is paying you as a sponsor and see if the IRS isn't interested.

All politicians including the Pres must report gifts they receive - under conditions. In this case, TAHD received racing machines and got to KEEP them. It is classed as "income" and is reportable unless of course, TAHD is the son of Mr. Cat...Arctic that is.

There are "personal" gifts and "corporate" gifting. Why do you think the whole stink of the Pharm Companies giving note pads to docs was such a huge issue?

Again, I would be DElighted to allow the IRS to fully investigate Ms. Grifter and her hubs, Mr. Grifter. No problem - nothing to see and move on.

Nothing to hide? Prove it by being transparent.

Good news is that the IRS knows all the rules. The sleds don't fall under "gifts", they fall under "INCOME".


Anonymous said...

seattle fan: gifts are are on the part of the donor (gifts over $13,000 for 2009, was $12,000 for 2008).
I was responding to that snarky peelander who had no idea what "gifts" meant in IRS terms. juju was going off on $150 "gifts".

Anonymous said...

my same response to you.
Sorry that you all got all defensive. I was just trying to help as a former IRS auditor when I was responding to juju.
I'll not do that again.
apparently you know more than I do. I was being polite, go for it.

Anonymous said...

Has the Cult of Palin stopped to consider that the I.R.S. could declare them a religious organization, in which case their fund raising efforts would be deemed illegal.

sjk from the belly of the plane said...

Juju, As a c4p'er you seem to have a tiny bit more sense than the rest of the barbarians. TRY to let some of that rub off over there. Ahhhh...nevermind...

Julie said...

I will scan it and post it in a prominent place on the blog./......

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