Palin backers raising funds for her legal defense

Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Supporters of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are holding a Web-a-thon to raise money for her legal defense fund.

Organizers of Conservatives4Palin say they hope to raise more than $500,000 in a week for Palin's Alaska Fund Trust.

Palin has said she has amassed legal fees while fighting ethics complaints. Also contributing heavily to her legal debts was last fall's Troopergate investigation into her firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner.

Palin's office has said 14 ethics complaints filed against her by citizens with the Alaska Personnel Board have been resolved with no findings she has violated the Executive Branch Ethics Act.

However, she did settle one complaint with the board involving the state paying for the travel of her children to events. She has until Tuesday (June 23) to reimburse the state for an estimated $10,000 in costs associated with about 10 trips.

The latest ethics complaint to be dismissed came earlier this month when an investigator for the personnel board found Palin hadn't violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act when she wore a coat bearing the logo of her husband's sponsor at the start of the Iron Dog snowmobile race last winter.

Palin has called such complaints frivolous.

Fund trustee Kristan Cole said Palin's high visibility this week, after a trip to the East Coast and a public feud with talk show host David Letterman, are having an impact.

"Any time the governor is mentioned, the volume goes up tremendously and so the volume - given this new information going out this morning, and the videos that are on the Web site - we have seen the volume go up tremendously as we do anytime the governor is mentioned," Cole told Anchorage television station KTUU on Monday.

The legal defense fund was established in April.

According to the campaign's Web site - http://www.conservatives4palin.com - more than $50,000 had been raised by Tuesday morning. The Web-a-thon started Monday.

Most complaints are confidential unless a public accusation is filed or the accused person agrees in writing to make it public.

In Troopergate, Palin originally cooperated with the Legislature's investigation before saying the investigation had become too partisan. She then filed an ethics grievance against herself with the Alaska Personnel Board.

The legislative probe found Palin had abused her office but the commissioner's firing was legal. The separate personnel board investigation found there was no probable cause to believe Palin or any other state official violated ethics laws.



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