Another ethics complaint filed against Palin

Resignation speech echoed dismay with array of objections

Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Outgoing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is facing yet another ethics complaint - the 18th against her and the very thing that helped to prompt her resignation.

The latest complaint - the third since she announced July 3 that she was stepping down - alleges she abused her office by accepting a salary and using state staff while campaigning outside of Alaska for the vice presidency.

In her resignation speech, Palin said that the array of ethics complaints was taking a personal toll and crippling her ability to govern. She officially leaves office July 26 and will be succeeded by Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.

In her complaint, Andree McLeod said that two days before Palin was named John McCain's running mate, she signed travel documents that stated "conclusion of state business." A similar document in late November stated "return to duty status."

McLeod said that given that temporary absence, Palin should have turned over the governor's responsibilities to Parnell as required by the state constitution.

"The reason this is so serious is because the transfer of power should have taken place but did not," McLeod said Tuesday.

Palin spokesman David Murrow referred reporters to Palin's attorney, Thomas Van Flein, who could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jack Coghill, a member of Palin's Republican Party and an author of the Alaska constitution, said Palin should have formally put someone in charge.

"Anytime she leaves the state, according to our constitution, she has to relinquish her power as governor to her successor," he said.

Palin said at the time of her resignation that her administration had become hamstrung by frivolous ethics complaints that also put her more than $500,000 in legal debt and set the state back about $2 million dealing with them.

"And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations?" she asked. "It doesn't cost them a dime so they're not going to stop draining public resources - spending other peoples' money in their game."

On Tuesday, she renewed her criticism of the complaints by indirectly targeting McLeod, whom Palin has said once sought an appointment from her.

"Are these constant, wasteful thumped-up ethics charges result of not caving when the filer begged for job?" Palin said on the social networking Web site Twitter. "More frivolous charges filed today."

The complaint is the fifth by McLeod. Three of the cases have been dismissed and another remains active.

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