An ethics complaint brought against Gov. Sarah Palin alleges that she violated state ethics laws by wearing a jacket from her husband’s sponsor during a snow machine race. Palin responded by calling the complaint asinine political grandstanding.
The complaint brought by Linda Kellen Biegel contends that Palin was at the race in her capacity as governor, and, “Governor Palin knew that this race would glean not only a great deal of Alaskan media attention, but national and international as well. The Palins had to be aware that Sports Illustrated was coming to Alaska to do a story on Todd, as the reporter clearly followed him across Alaska throughout the race.”
It continues, “The Palins have received a significant amount of income/financial support from Arctic Cat, Inc…enough that it is necessary to claim it on disclosure forms year after year. The Governor wearing the Team Arctic Cat outerwear at this event was the equivalent of a kid getting paid to walk around with a sandwich board in New York. Any boost to the fortunes of Arctic Cat, Inc. can only be fortuitous to the Palin family as benefactors of their sponsorship. This is about as clear a conflict of interest as it gets.”
The governor’s defense is that she was cold, “Are Alaskans outraged, or at least tired of this yet – another frivolous ethics charge by a political blogger? This would be hilarious if it weren’t so expensive for the state to process these accusations and for me to defend against these bogus harassments. Yes, I wore Arctic Cat snow gear at an outdoor event, because it was cold outside, and by the way, today, I am wearing clothes bearing the names of Alaska artists, and a Glennallen Panthers basketball hoodie. I am a walking billboard for the team’s fundraiser! Should I expect to see an ethics charge for wearing these, or the Carhartts I wear to many public events? How much will this blogger’s asinine political grandstanding cost all of us in time and money?”
I think that Palin is ethically challenged to say the least. The governor seems to not understand the difference between wearing the free gear of the company that sponsors your husband in public in an official capacity, and wearing other clothing. The difference between the Glenallen basketball hoodie and the jacket she wore involves money. I doubt that the basketball team paid her to wear the hoodie.
This is such a petty complaint that it really should have never been brought, but Palin also should have known better. Her husband had the same sponsor last year, and she wasn’t pimping the gear, but now that her celebrity has been elevated, she wore the jacket.
I am really trying to cut Palin a break here, but I can’t seem to find another example of a politician endorsing a product, while their family is benefiting and they are still in office. This complaint isn’t as baseless as Palin would like us to believe, but I think that in order for the charge to stick it would have to be proven that Palin was at the race in an official capacity, and that her wearing of the jacket was part of her husband’s sponsorship deal, but I believe that the evidence will be lacking on both of these points.