Sarah Palin blasted a new ethics complaint against her that alleges her recent trip to Indiana to speak at an anti-abortion fundraiser was to benefit her own personal interests at a time when members of the legislature are not allowed to leave. Palin has responded by calling the complaint baseless.
The complaint filed by Anchorage resident Sondra Tompkins states, “a) Governor Palin has entered into a contract outside of her official duties with the donors, employees, partners and any or all other participants involved in Sarah PAC. b) The recent partisan trip to Indiana by the Governor was purely to benefit personal interests, had no benefit for the State of Alaska and was in direct conflict with her official duties. c) The Governor left the State to participate in these events during the most critical end-of-session Legislative activities, at a time where the legislators themselves are not permitted to leave.”
Palin’s chief of staff, Mike Nizich, responded in a statement, “In the past several months, we have seen an orchestrated effort by the governor’s opponents to make differences of opinion and ideology almost criminal. Governor Palin has spent a considerable amount of time and money fighting ethics complaints – and no charge has been substantiated. I hope that the publicity-seekers will face a backlash from Alaskans who have a sense of fair play and proportion. I served six previous governors, and I’ve never seen anything like the attacks against Governor Palin.”
Nizich also pointed out that these complaints are supposed to be confidential,
“There’s a core hypocrisy in nearly all of the ethics complaints brought against the governor, including this one. The ethics act clearly states that complaints, when filed, are to be confidential. Ms. Tompkins publicized her filing on several blogs, breaking the letter and the spirit of the law. While there are no penalties in the statute for this illegal behavior, Alaskans of all political persuasions should be appalled that the people who are alleging unethical behavior by the governor are repeatedly doing so unethically.”
This most recent complaint is baseless. Palin’s appearance in Indiana was standard behavior for governors who have higher ambitions. The problem for Palin is that it was politically stupid for her to turn down other appearances, using the excuse of legislative business, only to turn around and leave the state during a critical time in the legislative session. Palin is still acting like an unknown small state governor, and these complaints are being filed to keep the spotlight on her behavior.
The best way for Palin to deal with these complaints would be to ignore them, but working under the idea that any publicity is good publicity, her office puts out statements that fan the flames. Palin reminds me of George W. Bush. She has lots of personality, but is disinterested intellectually and ethically challenged. This is a smart political strategy but a misuse of the ethics complaint process. If critics want to protest her trip to Indiana, an ethics complaint isn’t the appropriate vehicle.