Monday, July 13, 2009

Saradise Lost - Book 3 - Chapter 18 - How Much Does Palin's Third-Trimester Abortion Cost Alaska?

Shannyn Moore has posted an essay at Huffington Post which raises some interesting questions about the costs of soon-to-be-ex Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's abrupt termination of her own employment as this state's chief executive.

Moore's article mentions statements by Alaska Senator Bill Wielechowski, made on Moore's Saturday evening KBYR-AM call-in program:

When Senator Bill Wielechowski came on my radio program this week, he dropped a bomb I wasn't ready for; in order for Alaska to avoid a constitutional crisis, "The real for the governor to say...'I will withhold my resignation until the legislature can meet.'"

Moore's essay goes on to try to unravel just what sort of a constitutional crisis Palin may well have left for Alaskans:

For some reason, nothing seems simple in Alaska. It would seem with the governor's resignation, the Lieutenant Governor, Sean Parnell, could simply take his seat. The appointed third-in-line would then slip into Sean's chair and we could get back to business.

Sorry. According to both parties, Alaska sits on the edge of a constitutional crisis because of the "chain of command vacuum" created by the governor's abrupt resignation.

The perfect storm of events lined up on February 6, 2009. Senate Resolution 5 passed 16 - 1. It found Todd Palin and the governor's aides guilty of contempt of the State of Alaska Senate. Their refusal to co-operate with subpoenas during the Branchflower Investigation came with no penalties; just the finding. Four days later, Attorney General Talis Colberg resigned. Colberg purportedly advised those found in contempt to ignore their subpoenas.

In February 2007, Palin appointed her AG, Talis Colberg, to serve as successor to the Lieutenant Governor. The legislative body confirmed him. His resignation called for not only a new AG, but a new successor as well.

On April 16th, the nomination of Wayne Anthony Ross for AG was defeated after a long, controversial hearing. Commissioner of Corrections, Joe Schmidt was confirmed as "third in line" in the event the governor or lieutenant governor were unable to fulfill their duties.

Hey, great, constitutional obligations met! Not so fast...

When the governor resigned, Joe Schmidt, who had lobbied for the job and sent thank you notes to those who voted for him, decided "Thanks, but no thanks." Schmidt, a high school friend of Palin's, was a controversial nomination after a 514-19 vote of "no confidence" by the Alaska Correctional Officers Association in 2008. Their lack of confidence had to do with cover up of a contagious bacterial infection, MRSA, among prisoners and guards. In May, the ACOA filed a lawsuit against Sarah Palin's administration for purposefully dragging its feet in getting the legislature to appropriate pay increases, thereby sabotaging new contract arbitration.

It's hard to know why Mr. Schmidt declined his previously sought duty, but a replacement was named by the governor quickly; Alaska National Guard Lieutenant General Craig Campbell.

Last August, just days after Sarah Palin's VP nomination, then Major General Campbell told the AP the governor had no control over the Alaska Air National Guard. He continued breaking down the meme of her experience in an interview with the Boston Globe. Two days later, on Friday, September 8th, Campbell flip-flopped on Fox news. He sang the governor's praises. The following Monday, Palin promoted him to Lieutenant General in the Alaska National Guard-a rank only recognized in Alaska. Now she has promoted him for his loyalty again; this time to Lieutenant Governor.

Here is where the constitutional crisis has a head on.

With Palin's resignation, Joe Schmidt declining the Lt. Gov job, and Mr. Campbell not being confirmed by the legislative body...we are left with one leader, Sean Parnell, and no spares. According to the Constitution we have to have a spare. The only way to get a spare is to have a special session and confirm Mr. Campbell. Palin's newest attorney general appointee, Dan Sullivan, formerly of the Bush Administration, supports the unconfirmed succession of Mr. Campbell. Mr. Sullivan has yet to be approved by the legislature.

Moore goes further to attempt to add up some of the expenses to Alaskans this crisis may cost:

Let's do the math:
Branchflower Report: $75,000 (Legislative investigation that found Sarah Palin guilty of abuse of power.)
Palin's own ethics complaint: $187,245.58 (A political tactic filed in an attempt to de-rail the Branchflower Report.)
Special Session (Low estimate):$150,000
PALIN'S cost to the State of Alaska? $402,245.58
"FRIVOLOUS ETHICS COMPLAINERS" cost to the State of Alaska? $101,101.84

Additionally, some of the commenters to the article add in other costs. here's commenter meede:

Please note that the Special Session (Low estimate):$150,000 estimation Ms. Moore sets out is for I believe a One Day Special Session.

A Special Session to be called, would no doubt take more than one day, therefore each day would cost approximately $150,000.

The matter of the $28.6 million veto of federal stimulus funds for energy assistance and weatherization would be addressed within the special session. If there was ever a state that needed this section of the stimulus, it's AK. I also wonder whether the confirmation of the AG pick of Palin's would be dealt with instead of waiting fo the Legislative Session next year as Sullivan has not been confirmed in that position either, but has vocalized his idea that the LG could be an Acting LG meaning no confirmation.

And here's commenter SharpDressedMan:

The total cost of Sarah Palin's quitting grows because the ramifications aren't completely fathomed. Here are more foreseen costs related to the "community organizer with responsibilities" who acquiesced her responsibilities.

- Some ethics charges are still unresolved, new ones expected. Her legal bailout fund is in legal limbo.

- Unscrupulous accountants and other staff members in her administration issued information with discrepancies, errors and omissions. The spreadsheet showing ethics charges expenses isn't the first time information was released with errors. From now on, who will believe information issued by Parnell's administration if he won't purge Sarah loyalists? The cost of distrust in state government is immeasurable. Thanks to Sarah.

- Changes in letter heads, stationary, web site headings, computer network operations, and all other documents containing the governor's name, address, etc.

- Changes of portraits, signs, logos (except Arctic Cat), etc.

- Personnel changes, confirmations, background checks, and moving expenses.

- Placing new personnel in the Governor's line of succession.

- The upcoming swearing-in or quasi-coronation in Fairbanks.

- Security for Parnell and Palin. Her controversial nature necessitates more security at the state's expense.

- Will the soon to be ex-governor charge for consulting services when the state requires her input? Do you expect her to work for free? Think time, expenses, per diem, etc.

The total cost of Sarah's abandonment won't be known for sometime.

Indeed, the true cost won't be known for "sometime [sic]."

But maybe we can apply some of the formulae previously used by the Palin administration to compute administrative costs. I'll call it the Combo-AP-Steiner-(David) Murrow Rule.

Here's how the Associated Press and Prof. Rick Steiner come in to the formula:

Citizens and journalists who sought public records have been socked with huge bills. At one point, the Palin administration presented the Associated Press with a bill of $45 million for copies of official state e-mails sent to Palin’s husband, to the McCain campaign, and to federal agencies.

That practice predated Palin’s ascension to the national stage.

In December 2007, when University of Alaska marine scientist Rick Steiner sought reports detailing state biologists’ assessments about then-impending Endangered Species Act protections for polar bears, he received a $468,784 bill from the state. After a few months of haggling, Dr. Steiner turned to the Bush administration. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, which had its own copies of state biologists’ reports, readily complied.

“They didn’t charge me a dime,” Steiner says.

And here's how Palin's communications director, David Murrow comes in. First of all, as he has defended, you can count any expense twice. And secondly, you can bill up to $12,000.00 per hour for unexplained expenses. And you can bill up to half a billion, without any explanation, for things, others don't charge you for.

Using the AP-Steiner-Murrow rule, let's take up SharpDressedMan's itemization:

- Changes in letter heads, stationary, web site headings, computer network operations, and all other documents containing the governor's name, address, etc. - $45 million

- Changes of portraits, signs, logos (except Arctic Cat), etc. - $45 million

- Personnel changes, confirmations, background checks, and moving expenses. - $350 million

- Placing new personnel in the Governor's line of succession. - $5 million

- The upcoming swearing-in or quasi-coronation in Fairbanks. - $2.5 million.

So, by using the AP-Steiner-Murrow formula, just these few items in the Palin transition, added together, cost us $447.5 million dollars. I can't wait for Channel 2 KTUU News' Jason Moore and Lori Tipton to do as thorough of a story on this as they did on the $1.9 million dollar spread sheets.


Anonymous said...

Jason and Lori couldn't run a hotdog cart downtown

AKPetMom said...

Yep, Palin has cost us more for leaving than she did with her stayin' on.

Just another example of how ignorant she is regarding the inner workings of government institutions and practices.

But wait, she is doing us a favor just by going away, so can one put a price on that? I'd say that an Alaska without a Governor Palin is perhaps "priceless".

Anonymous said...

I was strongly advocating a special session to override the governor's federal stimulus funds veto and I called the State and asked how much a special session would cost. I was told the first day would probably run about 100 grand, and each subsequent day would cost, say, 60 grand a day. With their rough guestimate, a special session would cost probably about 400 or 500 grand a week. A short special session in Anchorage would probably cost more than Juneau because of the equipment they'd have to move.

Just FYI, I asked and this is what they said.

I figure they should have already called a special session to override the stimulus veto for 3 reasons: first, the funds may not continue to be available much longer; second, inflation may reduce the buying power; and third, members of the administration said they'd probably apply for the funds if the legislature overrode the veto.

Anonymous said...

I think the SOA should send a bill to the McCain campaign for the cost of the personnel board investigation of troopergate.

BTW, my WV is ansin

KaJo said...

She hasn't left YET.

I think a state supreme court justice should direct the state troopers to put her under house arrest until these matters are settled.

Then determine how much of these special session costs can be directly attributed to her decisions, then impeach her, then prosecute her for nonfeasance, misfeasance, and malfeasance.

"Misfeasance is determined in relation to privity of contract.

When a contract creates a duty that does not exist at common law, the parties can do one of three things: (1) perform the duty fully; (2) perform the duty inadequately or poorly; or (3) fail to perform the duty at all.

When a party fails to perform at all, it is nonfeasance.

When a party performs the duty inadequately or poorly, it is misfeasance.

Malfeasance is used to denote outright sabotage which causes intentional damage."

honestyinGov said...

Phil.... You better make sure $arah and van Flea have a sense of humor or they may take you seriously and ' Sue You'..? Just remember the " iconic image of Eddie Smurf"... that's all I have to say.

And how soon will you be able to ( generate, cough... invent.. cough .. produce... cough ) show the spreadsheet that verifies that figure you are projecting...? Please send a copy to the Newspapers. Will it be the ' standard ' 2 page spreadsheet...?

Mae said...


This should really be put on a standare 1 page spreadsheet. Much eaiser for Palin and Megatounge to understand.

Anonymous said...

Phil...It would be an amusing post if it weren't so damn true. Your post needs to be on the front page of every newspaper or media outlet which is still repeating Palin's ridiculous claims about ethics and FOIA requests costs. Palin's mathematical "conversion factor" is cynical, unethical, and probably illegal (if anyone had the cojones to push it)

onejrkitty said...

Ok, it looks like my blood pressure isn't going down for a while and a full nite of good restful sleep is still a long ways off.

Palin is going to continue putting people (including me) on the kind of emotional roller coaster only people who cannot FULLY accept that we are dealing with some one who -- being "crazy" herself can only manifest more "crazy-making-behavior" -- does not now, never has and never will make any kind of logical sense.

ONLY with FULL acceptance that she is a real live Narcissist (and all that involves) will any of us (myself included) stop taking this crazy ride with her.

I want this woman either committed or jailed as soon as possible. All decent people, people who care about truth, honor, integrity, honesty, dignity and the betterment of us all cannot and will not rest until this "in-your-face" arrogant, lying, cowardly bully is stopped in her tracks to the extent that she is no longer able to function in a manner that puts the public at risk.


They had a duty to investigate Palin for possible perjury and they did not. They could have possible impeached her and they didn't even try.

I am not sure who I am most angry at right this minute, Palin or the legislators, especially Hollis French. Did Hollis put his own political ambitions ahead of his DUTY in the legislature's failure to even investigate Palin for perjury as well as their failure to impeach or at least censure her after finding her guilty of abuse of power?????


And I want it to be a rational, logical, reasonable, reason and not one that is designed to CYA.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I think of Sarah Palin, I think of ice cream. Because just like the soon to be former governor, it melts in the heat and leaves behind a sticky mess.

Gregg in Milwaukee

Aussie Blue Sky said...

Phil, I don't wanna be a party pooper, but those transition costs would be there anyway, 18 months down the track.

Blue_in_AK said...

Yes, but this is an extra transition, assuming that Parnell is not re-elected.

AKPetMom said...

Sorry JrKitty, but most politicians do have a narcissistic tendency. They need stroking and hold themselves in high enough esteem to ask the rest of us to be their friends by voting for them.

It's a problem throughout politics but Sarah does take it to a bit higher level.

Her hair is falling out and she's losing weight. She may just be burning herself out. She certainly can't maintain the pace that she has been keeping for too much longer. She'll have to either "chill out" or "flame out" but please just sit and enjoy the ride rather than stress yourself out over her. She will never be president, and she will never be able to sway thinking members of society her way; she'll never create a majority of SP's. That I know for certain.

Please, don't make yourself as sick as she is.

onejrkitty said...

My post was not all that serious, a bit more tongue-in-cheek than in a flat reading, tho she does get my blood pressure up there.

I have been in the habit of adding smily faces to show I am trying to be witty, but then I remembered that I really really really detest "smiley faces" and realized I was becoming one of those people I hate more than I detest Palin, i.e. "smiley face" lovers---

One Jr Kitty :)

Basically, I just want to see justice done in my life time-- I want to see the guys in the white hats win this one. I want to see Casablanca without Ted Turner's artificial coloring, I want to eat BBQ from Leonards in Memphis and swim in a warm ocean before I get too old to get there. I want to eat Brockmeyer's All Natural Sesame Seed Crunch Ice cream and I want to get down to 115 lbs for the first time since I was 17.

But more than anything, I want the bitch committed or jailed ! ! ! ! !

one jr kitty :) :) :)

Lazarhat said...


I spotted an error in your math at the conclusion of your post... you forgot to carry the $500 Million from the AGIA column! Pretty common error. Happens all the time.


$447.5 Million
$500.0 Million (*)
$947.5 Million


* = excluding any potential future lawsuit costs

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Go Kajo Go!!! I am hoping that if a special session is needed they will censure & impeach her, but your idea totally rocks! Yeah, house arrest, impeachment,then prosecute her for nonfeasance, misfeasance, and malfeasance.
I hope you have sent letters to the appropriate people...?

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Kajo I hope you don't mind I reposted you terrific post on Mudflats #111 "palin's parting gift" thread.
It would be nice if All Alaskan's would be so BOLD and RISE UP and put a bug in the Leg. ear for the special session...because we all know ONLY DEAD FISH GO WITH THE FLOW!