Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Saradise Lost - Book 3 - Chapter 14 -- WTF Spreadsheet . Will the AK MSM Buy It? - Updated Extensively

I hope not. This spreadsheet, that was sent several hours after the Governor's office promised the AP and other media outlets it was coming, is complete bullshit. Here it is.

Click on the images to enlarge:

Mel at henkimaa has already posted an essay that expands upon her excellent analysis from Monday.

The Associated Press ran a teaser that pretty much regurgitated state talking points early this morning. They told me today that they will write a detailed story, once they got the spreadsheet. Several news outlets statewide picked up the AP piece, including the News-Miner and Alaska AM radio.

Late this morning, I asked Linda Perez in the Governor's office to send me a copy. She agreed. It hasn't arrived yet. But mid-afternoon, a disgruntled employee in the Governor's office sent me one spontaneously. Thanks.

At least one Outside blog,
The Plum Line, has posted a piece that includes interviews with state officials, questioning the rationale of the cost analysis:

During her resignation speech last week, Palin presented herself as a heroic defender of the taxpayer. She said that money being spent on government lawyers to defend against these “frivolous ethics violations” could be “going to things that are very important, like troopers and roads and teachers and fish research.” Palin repeated exactly the same point this week.

But David Murrow, a spokesperson for the Governor, said in an interview that much of this money was budgeted to the lawyers in advance and would have gone to them anyway, even if state lawyers hadn’t been defending against these ethics complaints.

In response to our questions, the Governor’s office provided us with a detailed breakdown of the millions Palin has claimed has gone to defending against ethics complaints. It does list roughly $1.9 million in expenditures.

But Murrow, the spokesperson, acknowledged to our reporter, Amanda Erickson, that this total was arrived at by adding up attorney hours spent on fending off complaints — based on the fixed salaries of lawyers in the governor’s office and the Department of Law. The money would have gone to the lawyers no matter what they were doing. The complaints are “just distracting them from other duties,” Murrow said.

In other words, while these lawyers might have been free to do other legal work for the state, the ethics complaints have apparently not had the real world impact Palin has claimed, and didn’t drain money away from cops, teachers, roads and other things.

I'll update this post as more articles appear.


The Immoral Minority
had an article up on this at 6:00 p.m.

The Mudflats has an article up (8:00 p.m.) - Palin's Millions of Dollars - nothing yet at the ADN.

Sean Cockerham's ADN story went up at about 9:45 p.m. It doesn't yet contain a link to the PDF.

KTUU ran a story near the top of their 10:00 p.m. news. The print version of the story, by Lori Tipton, blindly and blandly follows the Governor's office's narrative:
Ethics Complaints Cost the State Nearly $2 million
. The print article does not contain a link to the PDF and centers upon an interview with fierce Palin partisan, Rep. Bob Lynn.

More Update - Thursday - 11:00 a.m:

Mel at Henkimaa spent all night going through all existing articles and information relevant to the spreadsheet released yesterday by the governor's office. It is outstanding analysis, and is the definitive look at this blatant, intentionally false document. Reading Mel's article, I'm struck at how this level of deliberate misinformation by our state feels quite criminal.

• The ADN will be posting a link to the spreadsheet pdf soon.
KTUU doesn't yet link to the pdf, but they now are posting video of their story. Watching the video and re-reading Lori Tipton's story, I find her coverage of this to be some of the worst reporting in recent Alaska history. Presstitution at its most pathetic.
• The Fairbanks News-Miner isn't covering the spreadsheet release yet, but today's FNM editorial echoes my concerns about the quality of our executive ethics statute I've been voicing since last November - fix the statute!
• The Juneau Empire is not covering this story yet.
• The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman is not covering this story yet.


Aussie Blue Sky said...

hmmm ..... I didn't see the charges for all the meetings that Talis Colberg had with Palin's staff while they conspired to pervert the course of justice in the Troopergate legislative investigation.

Where's the bill for that?

Anonymous said...

"figure of $4586.45, representing 37.6 hours of DOL attorney Bockman’s time"

Note that this figure appears twice (is at least double-counted) as are the next three lines below it on page 2.

They are counted in the Department of Law - Ethics sub-total of $41,574 on page 1; and they are counted a second time under the "Ethics complaints" heading where they are the last four items before the sub-total of $26,849.

This should provide further evidence of how these figures are "bogus" and unreliable.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I should have made this more clear. The "figure of $4586.45, representing 37.6 hours of DOL attorney Bockman’s time" for Governor's staff advice re campaign appears on page 2.

Note that this figure from page 2 appears twice on page 1(is at least double-counted) along with the next three lines below it from page 2 (together, these are the last four line items before page 2 is totaled).

They are counted in the Department of Law - Ethics sub-total of $41,574 on page 1; and they are counted a second time under the "Ethics complaints" heading on page 1 where they are the last four items before the sub-total of $26,849.

This should provide further evidence of how these figures are "bogus" and unreliable.

Anonymous said...

KTUU is a joke! KTUU news, why mention them? Look at the spelling errors on the spreadsheet!

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 10:47 - the spreadsheet looks like it was written by Larry Moe and Curly. you can tell they argued a lot on the first page, and got drunk before they got to doing the second.

KillTheHate said...

I think its similar to "creating or saving 150,000 jobs". Of fear-mongering that the economy is the worst since the great depression to get the stimulous bill passed, and now telling us they misunderestimated just how bad it was. Or maybe like telling us that without the stimulous bill unemployment would rise to 8%.

Anonymous said...

just watched Sean Callebs report on CNN about "frivolous ethics complaints," such as wearing a jacket with a logo, and the reported costs of dealing with them.

The report seemed very dismissive of the complaints, and didn't question the reported amounts of the costs.

Maybe somebody in Alaska can help him set the story a little straighter. If CNN reports that Palin is justified in her argument, many people in America will only see it that way.

He talked to Andree McLeod, but then he followed with a professor who trivialized all of it. The "logo" reference had no context at all, and therefore sounded very trivial.

Mel said...

Yo, Phil, here's my third in the series, which does a step by step through a lot of Sean Cockerham's ADN article posted last night. I stayed up all night with this one too.

More on Palin's spreadsheet

This list is great! I'm gonna go post an addendum so that people will know you're doing that over here.

-- Mel,

Anonymous said...

KTUU reporters know less than my dental hygienist. wtf

Philip Munger said...

anon @12:38,

by & large, very uneven, but while Sean Cockerham and Mel Green tell the true story, Moore & Tipton almost seem to revel in telling a fucking lie.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good fight, Phil. The facts have to get out to the MSM so that Palin doesn't skate on her lies. She's almost out of the governor's office but we sure as hell don't want her peddling her lies and divisiveness in the country at large. We had enough of that last fall!!!!

Anonymous said...

while these lawyers might have been free to do other legal work for the state

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