Tim Petumenos, an Anchorage attorney hired by the state Personnel Board to investigate, said Thursday the legal defense fund violated state law because it "constituted using public office to obtain private benefit." He said the fund, which was set up while Palin was still governor, inappropriately said it was the "official website" of Palin, and made reference to her work in public office. Petumenos upheld an ethics complaint that was filed 15 months ago against the trust.
Interestingly, not much attention is being paid to this yet in the national, "liberal lamestream media," as the quitter is so fond of calling our press. The Alaska progressive blogging community has long been speculating about the importance of this long-left-unresolved ethics complaint and its possible relationship to her July 2008 resignation.
Essentially, Palin set up the legal defense fund in April 2009, mostly to pay her legal bills from the Troopergate fiasco. The part of the two investigations into how she mishandled her attempts to have her former brother-in-law fired from the Alaska State Troopers that stemmed from her having filed an ethics complaint against herself had been particularly expensive.
The two 2008 investigations came to different conclusions. The first, known as The Branchflower Investigation, and initiated by a Republican-dominated group of Alaska legislators known as the Legislative Council, found that Palin had acted unethically in the ways she had pressured public employees to fire her ex brother-in-law. The second investigation, initiated by Palin herself, by filing an action against herself, led to the Personnel Board hiring Anchorage attorney Tim Petumonos to scrutinize how the governor had dealt with her ex brother-in-law.
His report, released the evening before the 2008 presidential election, largely exonerated Palin, though it made specific recommendations about needed executive branch ethics reform. For his 2008 report, Petumonos was hailed by Palin supporters. That has now changed, with his June 24th 2010 ruling. As I observed Thursday:
Anchorage Attorney Tim Petumonos, who was, up until Thursday afternoon, one of the great holy men in the pantheon of people whose actions have elevated them to sainthood among the acolytes of Queen Esther of Wasilla, has now been consigned to an outer ring of Hell even Dante couldn't have imagined.
The Palin shrine, Conservatives4Palin (which last week came up with a headline so ridiculous I almost wrote a diary about it - "Rahm Emanuel to Reportedly Quit in 6-8 Months Due to Pressure from Palin and Other Conservatives") is skewering Petumonos' employers, the large law firm of Perkins Coie today, for his finding:
That brings us back to Perkins Coie, the official law firm for the DNC and Obama, both of whom instruct the ADP to “keep Sarah Palin out of public office” and mobilize their useful idiots like Shannyn Moore, Jeanne Devon, Linda Kellen-Biegle, and the anti-Semitic terrorist loving Phil Munger. Birds of a feather. How was it that Perkins Coie was selected in the first place? Why didn’t the DNC official law firm disclose to the Personnel Board the fact that it was counsel for the DNC, and by extension, the ADP and the many inane bloggers who filed frivolous ethics act complaints? Seeing as this supposedly “independent” law firm was supposed to make a ruling on “ethics” one can rightfully question that firm’s ethics for withholding key information from the public. Maybe they were busy that day, representing Osama bin Laden’s staff and all. (It’s nice to know that the FBI’s number one most wanted can get his staff the same lawyers that represent the President of the United States). What a country.
So there is, at least in the mind of Palinbot Ian Lazaran, a vast conspiracy tying Obama, Osama bin Laden, Alaska bloggers and the attorney who found the fund to be illegal? How could they have missed George Soros' part in this enormous web of deceit?
Comments at the C4P post include some doozies:
Hopefully white indies will continue to defect from the warm embrace of the Messiah and let's not forget about.........
Her Church was set on fire. She has been stalked. She has been harassed. Her privacy has been invaded. Her email has been hacked and distributed. She has been threatened with rape and murder. She has been targetted for bankruptcy.
All those things are documented. This is reality. This is a partial list mind you.
Just donated to new Palin Legal Fund! Will send more $ when I get my refund from former legal fund. Onward to 2010 and 2012!
Which brings us to the NEW Palin defense fund, set up yesterday.
II. No sooner was Petumonos' finding announced, than Palin's people announced the setup of a new fund. At their faq page, the site states:
"Is this site officially sanctioned by Sarah Palin?
Yes, the legal defense fund is sactioned by Sarah Palin. However, this website and fund are not associated with SarahPAC or other entities. Governor Palin is not the trustee of the fund. She has sanctioned the use of her name and image for the website and trust to help raise funds for her legal defense."
Yet, as uncovered last night by the European blog, Palingates:
The new "Sarah Palin Legal Defense Fund", which officially has absolutely nothing do to with SarahPAC, Sarah Palin's political action committee, shares the same address and phone number with SarahPAC!
The old illegal legal defense fund had been set up mostly as a rather strange moneymaking tool. Not only was the chief trustee, Palin's longtime friend Kristan Cole, a paid employee of the state, the fund was set up, as has long been noted by the progressive Alaska bloggers, as a slush fund for whatever her family and the trustees wanted to use them for. As observed last year at Linda Kellen Beigel's blog:
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.
So the purpose of the AFT is to collect money for…basically anything and everything, short of overt criminal activity. This includes legal expenses, of course, along with everything else under the sun. It also covers her family and staff, as well as “any other person determined by the Trustee.”
Well, the Palins tried, but, essentially, along with the complainant who filed the clarification request in the first place, the Alaska bloggers kept on this when the regular media outlets mostly ignored the importance of the story.
We're going to stay on the links between Palin's PAC and the new "legal defense fund" too.
Here is a list of the stories on this so far by Alaska bloggers and Palingates:
Palin's Legal Defense Fund Isn't (Updated) - The Mudflats
More Facts About the Palin Legal Defense Fund - The Mudflats
Time to Redouble Efforts to Put TLC on the Spot on Supporting Palin's Program - Progressive Alaska