When the Governor announced her decision to resign on July 3, she pointed out the then 15 frivolous ethics complaints that had been filed against her and dismissed. It was intended to explain, in part, her decision to resign as well to educate the public about the abuse of the Alaska Ethics Act through a repetitive stream of baseless partisan accusations, each one seemingly more pointless and frivolous than the next. The Governor’s message was not intended as an invitation to run off half-cocked and file more baseless ethics complaints, but not everyone understood that message—or wanted to understand. In August 2009, largely in response to the abuse of Alaska’s Ethics Act by partisan shills and low level lackeys, the Attorney General issued an opinion recommending changes to the Ethics Act ”to prevent another potential harm—abuse of the process. Some Alaskans have argued that the Ethics Act has been used inappropriately in some circumstances to politically damage the subject of the complaint.” (August 5, 2009 Attorney General Opinion). That argument was asserted by the Anchorage Daily News. “Our View: Abuse of Ethics Complaints Turns Good Law Into Bad Politics,” Anchorage Daily News, May 3, 2009. The Attorney General further recommended “another safeguard to discourage habitual complaint filers who use the Ethics Act process to harass executive branch employees. Statutory amendments could provide authority to the personnel board to decline to process further complaints filed by a person who has abused the Act in this way.” Though it is encouraging to see an impartial evaluation of the problem, it is ultimately up to the Legislature to implement any of these recommended changes. Governor Palin has been subjected to 24 ethics complaints, several lawsuits, and dozens and dozens of public information act requests, few of which raised even a scintilla of a good faith issue, and most of which were simply done to garner a headline or promote opposition research for political gain.
Recently we learned that two more ethics complaints against Governor Palin have been dismissed—complaints that were filed after the Governor announced her plans to step down. One complaint asserted that it was unethical for the state to follow its own per diem regulations and pay per diem to the Governor as set forth by law. Of course, the complainant conveniently overlooked that the Governor and her family received less per diem than they were entitled to under State law— (continues here)