ANCHORAGE - An ethics complaint was filed Monday against Gov. Sarah Palin, claiming the legal defense fund established for her last week to challenge such claims is an ethics violation itself.
Kim Chatman, 49, of Eagle River filed the complaint with the attorney general's office, seeking an investigation by the state personnel board for violations of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.
Chatman claims Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, is misusing the governor's office for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts.
"Gov. Palin is perched to improperly receive an enormous amount of money for herself and her family and position a pool of pre-paid defense lawyers organized to deflect consequences of wrongdoings," the complaint says.
"As we've been saying, the number of ethics complaints filed against the governor and her staff - as well as the tortured logic they contain - continue to constitute the most disturbing trend in Alaska politics. It's obvious the intent with this unprecedented action against the governor is to see her administration paralyzed and for her to declare personal bankruptcy," Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Palin supporter and friend Kristan Cole established the Alaska Fund Trust on Friday to help the governor fight what she called an onslaught of "baseless accusations" and to pay off more than $500,000 in legal debts. Among the fund's limitations are a cap of $150 for donations, which must be made by Americans.
Chatman said Palin has about 500,000 supporters signed up for her Facebook account and various political organizations, and if each them were to contribute $100 to the legal defense fund, that would be $50 million Palin wouldn't have had otherwise.
"That's personal wealth created for Gov. Palin by putting a for sale sign on our Alaska Governor's Office," according to her complaint.
At least a dozen other ethics complaints have been filed against Palin, most since she returned from the presidential campaign. The latest, submitted last Wednesday by Anchorage resident Sondra Tompkins, claims Palin's work with her political action committee violates state ethics laws. Another claimed a conflict of interest because Palin wore a jacket featuring the logo of her husband's sponsor when she was the starter at a snowmobile race, in which he was a participant.
State ethics complaints are confidential unless a public accusation is filed or the accused person agrees in writing to make it public.
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