Sunday, May 03, 2009

Anchorage Daily News Decries The Endless Spamming Of Ethics Complaints Against The Palin Administration For Political Purposes

What in the world is happening at 1001 Northway Drive? Did Paul Jenkins stage a coup d'etat in the boardroom, and kidnap Matt Zencey to hold him for ransom??? LOL!

One would almost think so. First, the Anchorage Daily News officially endorses conservative candidate Dan Sullivan for mayor. Of course, they did it more for situational reasons rather than ideological affinity; they believe his conservative approach is better suited to deal with a climate of increasing financial uncertainty.

Now the Anchorage Daily News has floored me - by publishing a rather pointed editorial column decrying the spamming of the Palin Administration with ethics complaints - a total of 13 at last count. The full editorial can be read HERE. Politico.com has also just published a lengthy article of its own about the complaints against Palin.

The complaint by Kim Chatman, previously discussed HERE, seems to have pushed them over the edge. While ADN would prefer that Governor Palin's legal defense fund be named differently than the potentially-misleading Alaska Fund Trust, they acknowledge and assert her right to solicit funds to pay for defending herself against all these ethics complaints, inasmuch as she has run up $500,000 in legal costs and the state is not paying the bill.

But what's most encouraging is that ADN recognizes the negative effect that all these "sound-alike" unsubstantiated ethics complaints are beginning to have on public opinion. They recognize that people are becoming cynical, so that each time another ethics complaint is filed, people want to dismiss it as "wolf-crying". The inherent danger is that a genuine ethics problem may end up being unexposed and unresolved because people won't take it seriously.

What also concerns ADN is the double standard in confidentiality between ethics complaints against the legislative branch and those directed against the executive branch. Complaints against the legislative branch enjoy greater confidentiality; if the complainant publicly discloses the complaint after it's filed, the complaint automatically gets quashed. Not so with complaints against the executive. All ethics complaints should be covered by the same standard of confidentiality.

And to that recommendation, I'll add my own previously-stated suggestion: Attach a financial stake to these ethics complaints to screen out frivolous or nuisance complaints. A complainant would include a $500 deposit with each complaint filed. If the complaint is substantiated, the complainant gets the money back; if not, the money is forfeited to the State of Alaska. While this is somewhat extreme, it will discourage the use of the ethics complaint as a weapon of political revenge.

Besides, who really gives a shit what logo appears on Sarah Palin's jacket? Her wardrobe will have no impact on my PFD check. Speaking of which, the author of that particularly complaint, Celtic Diva, finally posted her reaction to the ADN editorial HERE, and as expected, disagreed with it.

One commenter to the ADN editorial suggested that ADN prepare a list of all ethics complaints against Governor Palin to date, providing all pertinent details including disposition and costs. While I won't go quite that far, I have prepared a partial list of links to some of the ethics complaints listed below, in inverse chronological order, using this ADN news search:

-- Previous post on Kim Chatman's complaint.
-- Previous post on Sondra Tompkins complaint, April 23rd, 2009.
-- Previous post on Linda Kellen Biegel's complaint, March 25th, 2009.
-- ADN story on Andree McLeod's fourth complaint, including separate PDF, March 18th, 2009.
-- Andree McLeod ethics complaint against Palin's communications director Bill McAllister, January 23rd, 2009. ADN story HERE, Alaska Politics blog post HERE, PDF document HERE.
-- Andree McLeod ethics complaint against Palin's Anchorage office director Kris Perry, January 23rd, 2009. ADN story HERE, Alaska Politics blog post HERE, PDF document HERE.
-- ADN Alaska Politics blog on Zane Henning's complaint (with PDF), November 19th, 2008.
-- CBS News report of Frank Gwartney's complaint, including PDF, October 24th, 2008.
-- ADN story on Troopers Union complaint (no PDF), September 5th, 2008.
-- Sarah Palin ethics complaint against herself, September 1st, 2008. ADN story HERE, PDF documents HERE and HERE.
-- ADN story on Andree McLeod's complaint (no PDF), August 7th, 2008.

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