Monday, July 06, 2009
Zane Henning Files His Second Ethics Complaint Against Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, This Time About Taking Per Diem For Staying In Her Wasilla Home
I first spotted this info on Conservatives4Palin, which in turn references a Huffington Post story, but I was waiting for an official accredited media story. And I finally got one - from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, and another story from the Juneau Empire. Also discussed on Lucianne.com (reply #13 is of particular interest).
On July 6th, 2009, Zane Henning (screenshot at left from Free Republic), who previously filed one ethics complaint against Sarah Palin which was ultimately dismissed, decided to try his luck again. In his newest complaint, Henning alleges that Governor Palin is violating state ethics law by collecting per diem when she stays in her Wasilla home instead of at the governor's mansion in Juneau. Henning says that with Palin's resignation, "now more than ever the state of Alaska along with its residents need to be reimbursed for the per diem charges."
Read the full text of the ethics complaint HERE.
The issue about Governor Palin taking per diem for staying at her Wasilla home first broke surface in the Washington Post on September 8th, 2008, but no ethics complaint was filed at the time. In February 2009, state officials merely determined that Palin pay income taxes on the per diem, but did not bar her from claiming more per diem in the future.
Some suspect that Zane Henning's wife, Val, may have put him up to filing this complaint, as well as the previous one. Although Zane is identified as a "conservative", his wife is a lunatic who constantly calls into Dan Fagan's radio program and whines incomprehensibly about Palin.
In his previous complaint filed on November 13th, Zane Henning charged that Palin broke state ethics rules by by holding national television interviews about her run for vice president from the governor's office. He claimed that Palin was promoting her future political career on state property, pointing in particular to the governor's November 10th interview with Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren. But after dismissing the complaint on May 12th, Michael Geraghty of the Alaska Personnel Board concluded that “There was no indication that Governor Palin presented her official position as governor of the State of Alaska for an improper personal or financial purpose.”
Henning's complaint appears frivolous. If he was serious, he should have filed it back in September, when the issue was first publicized, or at least in February, after the state reaffirmed her option to collect it. His delay in filing strongly implies that he is merely using the ethics complaint system as a tool of political warfare; further validating that conclusion is the fact that Henning chose to announce it in a press release.
To combat the latter problem, Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage Hillside) is drafting a bill which specifies that an ethics complaint against a member of the executive branch would become instantly invalidated if the complainant publicized it before it is completely adjudicated. This is a good start, but there must also be a financial penalty imposed on unsubstantiated complaints in order to prevent frivolous filings.