Ethics board still weighing Palin case

Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010

ANCHORAGE - An Alaska state ethics board still hasn't taken action on its investigator's finding nine months ago that Sarah Palin's legal defense fund likely violated the law.

The Anchorage Daily News reports the process of the personnel board, which handles ethics complaints, is confidential, and it hasn't updated the status of the complaint filed by Kim Chatman.

Palin's lawyer, Tom Van Flein, said Wednesday it's still pending.

Palin's supporters created the Alaska Fund Trust in April 2009 to help her pay legal bills in the "Troopergate" investigation. Chatman complained the defense fund is against the law.

Personnel board investigator Tom Daniel reported last July there was probable cause to believe the governor attempted to use her position for personal gain.

"In light of the evidence that the governor expressly authorized the creation of the trust and the fact the trust website quite openly uses the governor's position to solicit donations, there is probable cause to believe that Governor Palin used, or attempted to use, her official position for personal gain in violation of Alaska statute," Daniel wrote.

Palin's team sharply disagreed with Daniel's interpretation.

The personnel board has dismissed nearly all the ethics complaints against Palin that it's handled.

It dismissed a separate complaint this week that also targeted the legal defense fund. The report dismissing it hasn't been publicly released. But Van Flein said the dismissal made clear that Palin could raise money for the fund after resigning on July 26 as governor and becoming a private citizen. The issue remaining is whether Palin was allowed to solicit contributions while she was still governor.

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