Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Anchorage Blogger Linda Kellen Biegel Files Ethics Complaint Against Governor Sarah Palin; The Real Deal Or A Tempest In A Teapot?

Update June 3rd: Complaint specified below dismissed by the Personnel Board. Updated post HERE.

Dominating the political headlines in Anchorage, Alaska on March 25th, 2009 is the announcement by Anchorage progressive blogger Linda Kellen Biegel that she has filed an ethics complaint against Governor Sarah Palin. Not surprisingly, Governor Palin wasted little time in firing off a volcanic response. Media stories published by the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU Channel 2.

Biegel, who edits the DivasBlueOasis website under the nickname Celtic Diva, has focused on an incident where Governor Palin wore specially designed snowmachine gear advertising her husband Todd's biggest Iron Dog sponsor, Arctic Cat Inc. In this particular post, Biegel bases her complaint on the presumption that Palin was acting in her official capacity as Governor by virtue of the fact that she was serving as the official starter of the Iron Dog Snow Machine Race. Biegel also maintains that Governor Palin not only was well aware that there would be extensive Alaska media coverage, but that the intent of Sports Illustrated to do a story on Todd Palin contributed to Palin's decision to wear the gear.

Specifically, Biegel claims that Governor Palin violated the following provisions of AS39.52.120 of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, Misuse of official position:

(A) A public officer may not use, or attempt to use, an official position for personal gain, and may not intentionally secure or grant unwarranted benefits or treatment for any person;
(3) use state time, property, equipment or other facilities to benefit personal or financial interests.

In short, Linda Biegel has chosen to presume malfeasance, and file the complaint on this basis. It should be noted that this is Biegel's first ethics complaint against Palin, so it would be misleading to compare her with self-appointed professional ethics inquisitor Andree McLeod, who has spammed the Governor with endless "ethics complaints" of her own as possible payback for the Governor's unwillingness to give McLeod a make-work job in her administration (McLeod has publicly denied this, but it's so transparent even Helen Keller could see through it).

Conservative talk show host Dan Fagan has jumped into the frenzy, taking the side of the Celtic Diva on The Alaska Standard. Fagan does flesh out the story with some useful additional perspective, pointing out that Todd Palin received thousands of dollars in sponsorship money from the company. In 2007, the governor’s APOC report shows Arctic Cat paid the Palins $7,500. Her 2008 report does not indicate how much money the company may have given to the family, instead merely showing that Arctic Cat provided a discount on snowmachines.

Credibility? While I believe Biegel retains a certain amount of credibility, I cannot say the same for Fagan. Fagan has been a relentless thorn in the side of the Palin Administration almost since Day One. Some of it was justified, particularly Troopergate and AGIA. But now, Dan Fagan reflexively bashes Palin almost as a matter of course as he struggles to avoid falling behind rival KBYR talk show host Eddie Burke in the ratings wars.

Meanwhile, in response, Governor Palin erupted, even more so than Mt. Redoubt earlier today. Here's the Guv's press release:

"Are Alaskans outraged, or at least tired of this yet - another frivolous ethics charge by a political blogger? This would be hilarious if it weren’t so expensive for the state to process these accusations and for me to defend against these bogus harassments. Yes, I wore Arctic Cat snow gear at an outdoor event, because it was cold outside, and by the way, today, I am wearing clothes bearing the names of Alaska artists, and a Glennallen Panthers basketball hoodie. I am a walking billboard for the team’s fundraiser! Should I expect to see an ethics charge for wearing these, or the Carhartts I wear to many public events? How much will this blogger's asinine political grandstanding cost all of us in time and money?"

Asinine??? Ouch!!! Catfight alert; now I know which graphic I'm appending to this post. Not even Mt. Redoubt made this much noise so far today. In a more measured response, Biegel said, "I'm pleased to see that our governor supports our local artists and sports teams but I believe she's missed the mark when it comes to what this ethics violation is all about". Biegel reiterated that Arctic Cat financially supports Todd Palin's snowmachining, which implicitly benefits the whole family.

But I question whether Governor Palin is responding in absolute terms to Biegel's specific complaint, or if she's more frustrated with the fact that this is just one more of many complaints. Perhaps she's viewing this one as "the straw that broke the camel's back". And she's got a point; her legal expenses incurred in defending against these complaints has now reached over $500,000, she has to pay for th defense out of her own pocket, and she's not exactly a rich CEO.

But is this ethics complaint the real deal, or merely a tempest in a teapot? To break the tie, we visit the blog of another prominent Palin critic, Andrew Halcro. And what is he discussing? Not this ethics complaint? Instead, he's discussing an issue far more relevant and serious; namely, AGIA. Halcro takes issue with Governor Palin's recent statement in which she said she was now open to discussing fiscal terms with the producers. The prospective problem is that the terms in Palin's gas pipeline strategy, AGIA, prohibit her from doing exactly what she said she would do, namely, "whatever it takes to make sure this project happens". In fact, according to the AGIA contract, Sec 43.90.440, "If the state extends to another person preferential royalty or tax treatment for the purpose of facilitating the construction of a competing natural gas pipeline project in this state (Denali), the licensee (TransCanada) is entitled to payment from the state in the amount equal to three times the total amount of expenditures".

That means the state would have to pony up TREBLE damages to TransCanada. Last year, with oil at $140 per barrel, that might have been a worthwhile write-off. This year, with oil in the $50 range and a much smaller Permanent Fund, this could be unthinkable. Halcro believes Palin has put herself into a box.

AGIA could affect the size of our Permanent Fund dividends. Sarah Palin's wardrobe will have NO effect on our Permanent Fund dividend. The verdict - although Linda Kellen Biegel does not have frivolous intent, her complaint is frivolous by extent. A tempest in a teapot. Blogger Thomas Lamb seems to share this opinion. And the latest polls, showing a continuing 61 percent approval rating for Sarah Palin, better support my point of view.


  1. Linda you are a waste of flesh. You and your politics suck. You like Obama? He uses my tax dollars to kill the unborn. He lies and says he will stop the pork barrel spending, and then spends like no other President in the history of the country. I knew he would be bad for the country, but Obama makes Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad look like viable alternatives to his communist agenda.

  2. The Celtic Diva has put a few people on edge, but she's one of the more moderate progressives in Anchorage. Believe me, there are worse.

    I do tend to agree with you on Obama. I think he's a Manchurian candidate.

  3. Linda Kellen-Biegel a moderate? You need to do a little more research buck-o, she's about as left as you can get without the large heifer falling off the edge of the earth...actually she isn't a heifer since she has a kid from a failed mixed relationship. I'm surprised you even posted her column on your website because of that one!


  4. Biegel has her own skeletons in the closet- bankruptcies. No wonder she is rabidly filing frivolous lawsuits against Gov. Palin. She and the herd of online bloggers and DNC operatives behind the scenes hope to bankrupt the good Governor but that won't happen.

  5. This is giving me an idea. There are a lot of liberal democrats that can be taken to task on ethical challenges. Maybe if conservatives follow the path of Linda, any number of ethical complaints against the democrats can be filed and we can tie them up for a while as well. My guess is the suits filed against the democrats will stick, too.

    Thanks for the great idea, Linda.

  6. Why doesn't Linda Kellen Biegel, who after her doctored photo picking on Trig, go live in a dumpster because she has shown herself to be a trash reporter. I cannot believe that anyone allowed her to post such a pic. She comes off as though she has the moral high ground, she instead sounds like she is having a psychotic episode and needs medicated. The Democratic Party has become VERY sleazy, and Biegel is just slimey!

  7. Watch your back linda.

  8. she has this blog to give her somthing to do, shes too ugly to get a date. give her a break. Shes just a typical liberal, fu^king worthless.

  9. Linda seems to be afraid of sara and her family. She seems not to have a family life due to her lack oF feelings!
    She also seems to be frustrated due to lack of sex! I bet she has a protruding pelvic bone and cannot get any satification.
    She is a small minded Person and it looks like she has to speak bad of others the she is scared of to feel anythig at all, such a sad thing.
    But I guess if she fails at her writtings, she can always go back to spray painting walls, just her speed!
    She filed an ethics complaint againt sara, first you have to know what ethics are, she should look it up as she knows not what it is.
    I wonder if her mother comes out from under the porch and bites her on the leg when she gets home. Or is it her mother did not have any kids that servived the run down her leg!

  10. linda, I hope you can stand up to the same scrutiny you amoral liberals have put Sarah Palin and her family through. I surmise there is enough dirt you don't want dug up to fill a field. Remember, what goes around comes around. Your time is coming.

  11. Take a look at THIS Big Linda:

    Seems Mr Obama has the Nike Shirt on.... Should be investigated. I am sure Linda will be right on it, her being a 'moderate' and concerned about ethics.


    A better link. Now Linda, go for it, get on the ethics line to the Whitehouse and do your thing.

    Because of your deep and abiding convictions about ethical government, this would be investigated in your view?

  13. I don't usually insult people, but it is easy to see why she hates Palin. She is ugly and Sarah is not!

  14. Can anyone file a complaint against her? Let's rack up HER legal fees...

  15. Just wanted to let you know that we are now coming after you and shannyn. You think all these petty complaints was funny. How about some major lawsuits to recover the money we spent to get them overturned and them have them listed as nuisance complaints. I guess what your handlers forget to tell you is under Alaska law if the judge listed the suit as a nuisance suit that the people have a legal recourse to recover the money spent trying the case. Hope the hell you have some deep damn pocket. Maybe your handlers will pickup the bill, I doubt they will.

  16. This is the same dumb bitch who claims that people in oceanview are all drunk and firing weapons.