The newest complaint, filed yesterday by my friend Sondra Tompins, alleges that Palin has struck a contract with contributors to the governor's political action committee that conflicts with a governor's duties under Title 39 of the Alaska Statutes. The complaint seeks redress for all Alaskans, not for the complainant herself.
I've read Tompkins complaint twice now, and familiarized myself with the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act last fall. (I had hoped that our legislature, based on Palin's need to refund almost $10,000.00 in illegal travel expenses for her children, and the expense to taxpayers borne by Palin's own ethics complaint against herself, would consider introducing a new executive ethics bill this session). I've listened to Tompkins defend her actions on KUDO-AM radio yesterday. I've read the governor's response.
The response fails to note that one of the complaints was filed by the governor herself. It fails to note that most of the $500,000.00 the governor has had to pay were to finance her own complaint. It fails to note that the reason for that complaint was that the governor, after pretending to comply with the parameters of what became known as the Branchflower investigation, took this expensive new course upon herself.
It also fails to note that another resulted in the Palins having to refund almost $10,000.00 the family had illegally taken from the people of Alaska. That is about twice as much money as Vic Kohring is sitting in prison for having taken from Bill Allen. Allen could afford it. The people of Alaska, in Palin's case, cannot.
The governor's response fails to note that most of the complaints filed are currently under review. Seeing as that is the case, Palin's claim in the response, that "yet another baseless ethics complaint has been filed," has no merit.
Palin alleges further in the response that publicizing any of the executive ethics complaints is a violation of state statutes. If that is so, then the governor is as guilty of this breech as is Tompkins, for Palin announced the filing of her own complaint against herself rather loudly.
The ambiguity in the statute, which the governor then addresses in the response, is part of why I hoped our legislature would look at crafting a better law for our executive branch employees, one that would criminalize, for instance, Palin's week-long 2007 trip to New York City with one of her daughters, staying at a pricey hotel, to make a speech for a few minutes at an event that had not invited her daughter's participation.
Personally, I'm glad Palin made the trip Tompkins is complaining about. The less time Gov. Sarah Palin spends in Juneau during legislative sessions, the better. She can stay in Wasilla or Evanston Indiana for the rest of the year, too, for all I care.
Commenter HankZ at the ADN story on the complaint, says:
What's troubling about Bill McAllister's statement is an exhortation to lash back at anyone who contends that the Governor's activities are in violation of Alaska's state ethics laws. If this ethics claim is baseless, then let the claim stand or fall on its own merits. The proper response to a claim is not to lash back, but to turn the other cheek.
If someone does not agree with the contents of ethics laws and wants to make Alaskan ethics statutes less stringent, then by all means they should advocate this and pursue legislation to enact those changes. I fear, however, if this is done, we Alaskans will never escape the stigma of being a den of corruption, where those in power threaten and bullyrag those who disagree with them.