Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Those Pesky Ethics Complaints Keep Coming!

Here's a list of known ethics complaints filed against Governor Sarah Palin (GINO).  The list does not include the original Troopergate investigation, unanimously approved by a bipartisan panel and initiated in July 2008 following GINO's controversial firing of Walt Monegan.
  1. August 6, 2008  Cronyism in hiring [edited to correct date to 2008, not 2009]
  2. September 3, 2008  Troopergate (Palin complains against herself)
  3. September 4, 2008  Releasing protected personnel file information
  4. October 24, 2008  Charging Alaska for children's travel
  5. November 18, 2008  Campaigning on Alaska State property
  6. January 23, 2009  Palin aides using official position to advance Palin's campaign
According to GINO, she has had to defend herself against 10 ethics complaints so far (the complaints do not have to be made public, so these are just the complaints I can readily find). As a result of paying for legal assistance to resolve these complaints, GINO claims she has racked up more than half a million dollars worth of debt.

Sarah Palin advertises Arctic Cat while performing official Governor duties at Iron Dog 2009

And the complaints keep coming.  Celtic Diva, a progressive Alaskan blogger, is set to file yet another ethics complaint.  This one alleges GINO used her official position to benefit herself and her family financially.  It's a good, solid complaint.  It is supported by pictures in state and national publications and GINO's own, recently released, financial report filing.

The essence of the complaint (please visit divasblueoasis.com for a copy of the document that will be filed) states that GINO had official responsibilities to start the 2009 Iron Dog race, and charged Alaskans for the trip to the starting location.  The Arctic Cat company sponsors Todd Palin's racing team and in exchange for monetary payments, clothing and discounts, Todd's team advertises for Arctic Cat.  Piper Palin even sports a "Team Arctic" jacket.

It is ethically wrong for a Governor, or any public official for that matter, to promote a product or a company -- especially when the official has received financial benefit from such promotion.

For those who think this is an inconsequential misstep -- I can hear some saying already, "What's the big deal, so she dressed up in her husband's colors?" -- please imagine if public officials in places outside Alaska thought it was no big deal to advertise while on the job.

Artist's conception of what's next if public officials followed Sarah Palin's "ethics"  

What if President Obama's relatives got free seed and fertilizer for their lawns and gardens, in exchange for signs like these on government property over a weekend when national media were taking pictures of the lawn?  (I believe in chemical-free organic lawns and gardens, but you get the idea...)  There's really no difference between this scenario and what GINO was doing at the start and the finish of the Iron Dog race.

If GINO still aspires to a national political office, she had better take a crash course or three in ethics.  If she would only learn why what she does so flippantly is so very wrong, she could save herself (and the Team Sarah and SarahPAC devotees who will contribute to her legal fund) a LOT of money.
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