ADN Confirms: Palin's Story Doesn't Hold Up
In response to our questions, the Governor's office provided us with a detailed breakdown of the millions Palin has claimed has gone to defending against ethics complaints. It does list roughly $1.9 million in expenditures.
But Murrow, the spokesperson, acknowledged to our reporter, Amanda Erickson, that this total was arrived at by adding up attorney hours spent on fending off complaints -- based on the fixed salaries of lawyers in the governor's office and the Department of Law. The money would have gone to the lawyers no matter what they were doing. The complaints are "just distracting them from other duties," Murrow said.In other words, while these lawyers might have been free to do other legal work for the state, the ethics complaints have apparently not had the real world impact Palin has claimed, and didn't drain money away from cops, teachers, roads and other things.
The Anchorage Daily News did a thorough analysis and backed up the spokesperson. The ethics complaints took up time that staff could have spent doing other work, but they did not cost Alaska any money.
"Is it a check that we wrote, no, but is it staff hours, yes," Sharon Leighow, spokeswoman for Palin, said of the expenses related to state employee work.A large chunk of that work went into the personnel board "Troopergate" investigation, which Palin herself initiated on the grounds that a legislation investigation was politicized. Only three of the ethics complaints are still pending, a fact that makes Palin's explanation seem even less sensible.
Those state employees would have been paid regardless.
It's worth pointing out where during her "resignation" speech last week, where she specifically talked about the ethics complaints that had been filed against her:
Every one – all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We’ve won! But it hasn't been cheap - the State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to “opposition research” – that’s money NOT going to fund teachers or troopers – or safer roads. And this political absurdity, the “politics of personal destruction” … Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn’t cost them a dime so they’re not going to stop draining public resources – spending other peoples’ money in their game.
Well, in fact 18 ethics complaints have been filed, not 15; 3 of the 18 complaints are still pending. So, yet another lie to try and make herself look better added onto the heap of crap we all knew this speech was made of. Btw, these are the ethics complaints still pending:
13. and 14. Jan. 26: Two complaints filed by McLeod alleged two of Palin's top aides misused their official positions for Palin's personal and political gain. The complaints said then-press secretary Bill McAllister and Kris Perry -- director of the governor's Anchorage office -- worked on state time to benefit Palin's interests during and after her vice presidential quest. Pending.
18. April 27: Contends Palin is misusing the governor's office for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts through the Alaska Fund Trust. The fund was recently established by supporters to help Palin pay off more than $500,000 in legal debts stemming from other ethics complaints, including troopergate. Complaint filed by Eagle River resident, Kim Chatman. Pending.
The whole list is available here, btw.