Rachel D'Oro wrote the following for The Huffington Post:
Thousands of donors who contributed to a $390,000 legal defense fund for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will get their money back after an investigator said Thursday the fund was illegal because it was misleadingly described on a website.Isn't this interesting? Sarah Palin keeps on racking up these ethics violations. It is interesting that not only was the defense fund illegal and that 22.4% of the the money donated will go towards administrative and other expenses, but that the article also indicated that Sarah Palin had set up another legal defense fund - Sarah Palin the millionaire celebrity entertainer is asking for donations from her less wealthy followers to pay for her ethics violations.
State Personnel Board investigator Timothy Petumenos said the Alaska Fund Trust inappropriately used the word "official" on its website, wrongly implying that it was endorsed by Palin in her role as governor.
But Petumenos also found that Palin – the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee – acted in good faith and relied on a team of attorneys to make sure the fund was lawful and complied with the Alaska Executive Branch Act.
Palin's attorney, Thomas Van Flein, said the trust brought in almost $390,000 before Palin stepped down as governor July 26, 2009. More than $33,000 has since been donated, but Van Flein said that money will go toward $87,680 the trust has incurred in administrative and other expenses.
Geoffrey Dunn wrote that "in what is an extremely detailed finding, Petumenos ruled that even though Palin assigned the research of forming the fund to her former spokesperson Meghan Stapleton and even though Palin relied on extensive outside legal counsel, that 'the Trust itself, as ultimately conceived, violates the Ethics Act.'"
Dunn also wrote that Palin's "longtime political crony" Kirstan Cole, "whom Palin had appointed to several state boards in Alaska, including the Agriculture and Conservation Board and the Royalty Oil and Gas Advisory Board," who was appointed Trustee of the fund must be removed from the position. I bet some of those administrative fees will be going to Cole. It's nice to see Palin and her friends profit off their less-wealthy followers.
Petumenos also demanded that all of the donors, regardless of when they donated, must be disclosed to the public. Essentially Palin's trust becomes a donor-paid "slush fund with zero public transparency or accountability."
Another interesting fact surrounding the matter is that Palin's fund was established to pay her mounting legal bills, but last year independent counsel for the Alaska Personnel Board Tom Daniel found that "payment of the governor's legal fees by the Alaska Fund Trust will violate the Ethics Act prohibition against a public officer accepting gifts intended to influence performance of official duties."
Palin's lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, who would have been the primary recipient of the trust's funds made a peculiar post last night on Palin's Facebook page:
"There are, of course, some remaining issues to address....There will be times when Sarah Palin will have to take one for the team in order to continue on with her message to the country and simply resolve matters without having to incur crushing personal debt. That is the cost, unfortunately, of public life today. When that happens, read the details closely--like the details in this court opinion. Every time you do you will see that Sarah Palin has always acted with honest intent. You will see that again soon."I didn't realize that the multi-millionaire Palin will "incur a crushing personal debt" by having her slush fund deemed illegal. Palin by now has enough money to pay off all her legal fees she claimed to have suffered during her time as Alaska's half-term governor. Too bad most Palin followers are too stupid to realize when they are being fleeced.
Palingates has posted an excellent review of the matter including the spin Palin's camp is putting on this recent guilty verdict.
According to the statement by Kirstan Cole last year, "[Sarah Palin] has not even accepted or requested one penny from the Trust or quite frankly anything of me."
If you look at Meg Stapleton's comments posted yesterday on Palin's two-facedbook page, Stapleton wrote that complaints were filed only after a couple days and that "to this very moment, the money received was frozen and no one, not the Palins, not the Palins’ attorney, no one ever received a penny from the Trust on the Palins’ behalf."
It's not that Palin never took money from the slush fund, its that Palin didn't get an opportunity to.
Palingates also points out that while Palin claimed to have not been involved in the creation of these official slush funds, the people involved in the new fund seem to be the same people involved in the old fund. Either they are really fond of Palin or they are on the payroll so to speak.
Palingates also indicated some more lies, like that in Stapleton's insistance that Palin faced millions of dollars in legal fees (I thought the running total was closer to $500k) and that Palin was personally responsible even though the state of Alaska was willing to pick up some of the tab. Palingates said it rather clearly in that Palin & Co. has made too many lies to count.
What is even more interesting is seeing all the comments left by Palin's flock on her Facebook page, defending the ex-half-term-governor, stating that she did nothing illegal. Hate to break the news to you idiots but the fact of the matter is that Sarah Palin set up an illegal slush fund. Sure she never got a chance to use it, but that is because someone made a valid ethics complaint.