Friday, July 24, 2009

Saradise Lost - Book 3 - Chapter 29 -- "This Country Owes These Alaska Bloggers a Great Deal"

"This country owes these Alaska bloggers a great deal for what they did; I mean, they really showed what the citizen media was all about last year - and are still doing it!"

Those were the words of voting rights expert Brad Friedman of The Brad Blog, in his preface to a long segment interviewing AK Muckraker on the radio last night. Friedman is filling in for Mike Malloy at Air America.

Friedman asked AKM to describe the history of The Mudflats, and walked her through her "outing" last winter by Alaska Rep. Mike Doogan, a subject that has yet to be honestly and fully dealt with by Alaska's mainstream media. AKM pointed out - as Alaska bloggers have observed since the "outing," Doogan used State of Alaska resources to wreak vengeance on a private citizen.

Friedman and AKM went on to discuss the ramifications, so far, of the leaking of the Daniel Report. They also discussed soon-to-be-ex Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's attorney Thomas van Flein's careless threats toward Shannyn Moore, back on the 4th of July, and van Flein's even more careless characterizations of the complainant whose actions resulted in the Daniel Report. It is excellent radio.

You can listen to the entire hour HERE

Alaska blogger and independent commentator Shannyn Moore (who can also be heard regularly on Saturday evenings, on Anchorage's KBYR Radio, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.), has been on national media also these past few days. This morning, Shannyn was on CBC (no podcast available yet). Shannyn has posted a new article on the Alaska Fund Trust at Huffington Post, called, Palin Caught in Naughty Monkey Trap.

This morning Linda Kellen posted a guest column at Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis, titled, The Alaska Fund Trust... an Analysis by One of those Dreaded East Coast Lawyers. The thoroughness with which this attorney, familiar with trusts, dissects the controlling documents of his scam beg the question, "If bloggers can get this detailed, why can't our vaunted Anchorage Daily News and other MSM Alaska outlets do likewise?"

Here's a bit from the article:

This is the most important clause in the AFT document (or any trust document). It is the reason for the trust's existence and necessity. There is NOTHING in the official purpose of the AFT related to legal defense or legal proceedings or ethics complaints. In fact, the purpose of the trust is for any expense at all incurred by Sarah Palin "as a result of the fact that she is Governor . . . or as a result of the performance of her duties as Governor." Those are the only limitations instilled by the purpose clause.

Both the ADN and the Fairbanks News-Miner tiptoed around this issue in this morning's editions. The News-Miner editorial stated:

So, without a state-paid defense, any executive officer could be driven deep into debt by ethics complaints simply by showing up to work. Who would run for governor or take a top state job when faced with this very real personal risk?

Daniel, the investigator, said it seems unfair for state government to refuse to defend its officers while also prohibiting them from raising money for their defense. If nothing else, he said, the ethics act should be amended to require reimbursement when an official is exonerated.

The ADN editorial, fairly assertive on the subject of the trust, stated:

In Alaska, legal defense funds, if permitted, would be essentially unregulated. That would open the door to widespread fundraising abuse.

Gov. Palin insists she has done nothing wrong so far with the legal defense fund because she has not taken any of the legal defense fund money. Nonetheless, she is poised to benefit from a legal defense fund created specifically to help her. Merely lending her name to the effort to raise legal defense money for her own benefit is a "probable" violation, the investigator said. And if she does take any of the money, the investigator says it would violate Alaska ethics law.

It's an embarrassing turn for a governor who rose to power as a crusader for higher ethical standards.

Lucky for her, there's a relatively easy way out of this ethics jam, given that she is leaving office Sunday.

She can refuse to take any of the money raised so far, while encouraging this supposedly independent fund to return the money to donors.

But neither newspaper, nor Alaska's other MSM have so far looked into the details of the trust's controlling documents as closely as Moore, Kellen's attorney guest writer, or AKM:

Now, of course, despite all this mess, Tom Daniel has given the governor a nice way out of the sticky web. Give the money back, and withdraw her authorization for the trust to be considered the “official legal defense fund.” It’s sort of like a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, except it’s also got a “Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $600,000″ stipulation attached.

But not only is the governor not giving the money back after well over a week, she’s still collecting it! You can imagine Kristan Cole sitting in a darkened office with a roll-top desk and one of those little adding machines with the cranky-handle, and stacks of $5 checks and $10 money orders saying “451,505….451,510…..451,520…” deep into the night.

So, what now? Will the governor skip town with the loot and say “I’m not the Governor any more, catch me if you can?” Will she shut down the trust and have to reimburse all those $5 donors? Will the Personnel Board throw their last shred of credibility to the wind and dismiss the complaint? Will Tom Daniel and every other person whose been thrown under the bus by Sarah Palin get together and form some sort of Super Secret Sarah Survivor Support System? Will I ever in my life spontaneously come up with a stunning piece of alliteration like that again?

Stay tuned.

Andrew Halcro
continues to question the level of contact between fund trustee Kristan Cole and Palin or Palin's close associates, either in the administration, or at SarahPAC:

The political flash of the week continues to be the emerging questions about what the governor knew about her defense fund trust and when did she know it?

This week a report was made public that showed special investigator Tom Daniels had found probable cause that Governor Sarah Palin's legal defense fund trust represented a violation of state ethics rules. Daniels ruled that Palin would have directly financially benefited (i.e. getting her personal legal bills paid) which violated the prohibition against executives using their position to enrichment themselves.

As soon as the story broke, Palin's fund, the Alaska Fund Trust responded by saying the report was wrong because the governor was as never informed about the trust.

"The governor is not, was not and has not been involved in this trust," Kristan Cole of Wasilla said Wednesday in an Anchorage Daily News article.

Cole, a Palin friend and trusted appointee to state boards, told the press she had never talked about the trust fund with Palin until Tuesday, when a copy of Daniels report made it into the hands of the Associated Press.

Tuesday? That would mean the first time Kristan Cole spoke to Governor Sarah Palin about the legal defense fund was on July 21, 2009.

However when the creation of the fund was announced and written up in the press three months ago, Palin's closest advisor, Meg Stapleton, made it a point to talk about the active role the governor took with Cole during the initial development of the fund.

On April 24, 2009, Stapleton established the fact that Palin was well aware of what was going on with the fund from day one.

"When the Governor gave Kristan Cole permission to launch a legal expense fund, she had one request: keep it in Alaska," said Stapleton in the United Press International story. (link below)

"When the governor gave Kristan Cole Permission to launch a legal expense fund"?

This quote was given in April of 2009, three months ago. But yet today Cole is trying to sell the press that the governor didn't have a clue about the fund she granted permission for Cole to launch?

Meanwhile commenters at the
ADN coverage of this, and at right-wing pro-Palin blogs, are writing that the many "thank you" letters from Palin to trust donors, have been photoshopped.

image - Darkblack


onejrkitty said...

I just read the analysis on Celtic Diva's page and it is beautiful.

Certainly these same issued need to be taken to the media; Huffington should accept them and then other media will address these issues.

Looks more like the "independent" investigator is either an extremely sloppy--to the point of being incompetent--as an attorney and/or HE AND THE PERSONNEL BOARD NEED TO BE INVESTIGATED.

EVERY point this attorney brought up needs to be address legally, publically and in a timely manner.

Certainly publication of this information ( I am assuming the attorney in Diva's article may not want to be quoted directly- tho perhaps she will speak out) NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE MSM TO EXPOSE THE CORRUPTION THAT PARNELL IS NOW TRYING TO PERPETUATE BY ASKING AG TO "LIMIT LEAKS."

Oh, very important> Commentor on , I think, Palingates site, notes that back east there was a judgment re: violation of a filer's first amendment rights by limiting the filer's right to publically announce their filing.

Sorry, to be so ambigious in last paragraph, but this ruling is very recent and legal research could miss it. EVEN THO THIS IS NOT IN ALASKA'S 9TH CIRCUIT, RULINGS SUCH AS THIS CAN BE CONSIDERED "good law" ( A LEGAL TERM ) and as such can set precedent in other circuits.

This ruling may not be the only precedent in situations like this.


Anonymous said...

Phillip, Shannyn, AKM, Celtic Diva, Gryphen, we in the lower 48 owe you big time. Thank you for your fine and important work. You are all heroes to me!

AKPetMom said...

Off topic, but are you going to be at the picnic this afternoon, Phil?

the problem child said...

Photoshopped notes, posted months ago by supporters? That's just laughable.

Anonymous said...

Fox News Show by August start pumping Israel Firsters by September.
Big Repug money needs America's underclass on their side.

Palin is Rupert Murdoch's new bitch

Anonymous said...

I hope Palin is in biz with Murdoch now because....Palin will ruin him. Just wait until she goes "rogue" on Rupert!

Kat said...

No surprise about the "independent investigator's" sloppy and incomplete work on the trust. He's the same guy who tossed the Arctic Cat complaint without even reading the contract or any other facts concerning sponsorship issues. What's surprising is that he even issued this superficial indictment of Palin's actions. Seems he didn't actually read the Trust, just went off what was written on a website about it. His recommendation wasn't even a slap on the wrist.

The funny thing is that the palinista's are throwing Daniels under the bus for protecting their hero. Just think what might have come out with a real investigator.

There are many more blatantly wrong (illegal?) clauses contained in this slush fund. I'm hopeful they will eventually be investigated and exposed. Gotta admit though, I'm not holding my breath.

Thanks to all you wonderful bloggers for all the awesome work you do. Thank you Kim for filing this complaint. You're a hero.

The MSM has lost the will and ability to do real investigative work - the baton has passed to bloggers and you're doing a tremendous job. Mahalo!

Michelle said...

You are kidding me, right? The palinbots are claiming that Sarah's thank you notes were PHOTOSHOPPED?

Well at least the people who did receive a note are seeing behind the curtain of Sarah supporters.

Aussie Blue Sky said...

Photoshopped?? OMG, I haven't laughed this hard in days! Thanks, Phil, for reading the pro-Palin blogs (including the ADN) so I don't have to. :)

Anonymous said...

Who is this lawyer ?

Their background in trusts is, and I quote, It is not my specialty and I do not purport to be an expert; but I have a general knowledge, and enough of it to have genuine concerns about the AFT.


Patrick said...

I have collected the screenshots of Sarah's handwriting and other documents regarding Sarah's "thank you notes" and organised it in a slide-show on my flickr, easy to watch:

I have also made PDF-copies of all these websites, with Adobe Acrobat, containing the exact URL, time-stamps etc., however, it seems that not even C4P believe this ludicrous photoshopping claim. Some palinbots seem to live in an alternate reality, unable to break through to the real world.

Kat said...

PS - Thanks for posting the Brad/AKM radio segment Phil. I found out they were going to be on after the show was over. Great show. Brad & AKM totally rock!

Anonymous said...

No clue as to who this mystery lawyer is, eh ?