Why is Palin lying about state ethics probes?

She says Alaska spent "millions" probing "frivolous" issues. The cost was far less and some complaints were serious


Joan Walsh
July 10, 2009 4:09AM (UTC)

Polling results in the wake of Gov. Sarah Palin's shocking resignation are far less surprising than the move itself: She endeared herself to the Republican base by playing the "liberal media victim" card, but her standing with Independent and Democrats declined. Republicans won't take back the White House with a candidate as polarizing as Palin.

I continue to marvel at the latest installment of Palinpalooza. I'm not a fan, but I have to admit, I've never seen anyone like her: She gave a maudlin speech blaming the national media for attacking her, then decamped for a fishing vacation....with the national media, so she could do more complaining and playing the victim, this time up close and personal with Matt Lauer and Kate Snow. It's hilarious. Is there a word for a hypocrite who's too clueless to realize she's a hypocrite? Brazen will have to do.

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I debated GOP strategist Ron Christie on Hardball Wednesday about Palin's national political future. He says it's bright, I believe it's over, as far as national elective office goes; she could make a lot of money as a public speaker or a Fox commentator. Here's the video (text continues below):

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To get ready for the segment I drilled down into reporting on those 15 pesky ethics complaints, the ones she said cost Alaska "millions of dollars." In fact, the Anchorage Daily News reports that the complaints cost the state $286,000, and the most costly set (there were several) had to do with Troopergate, which had exploded before Palin was tapped by Sen. John " Why, God, Why?" McCain. The most costly Troopergate complaint apparently involved one Palin herself made, hoping the investigation would exonerate her.

And while Palin described the complaints as the work of Democratic political operatives and east coast media types looking for dirt, all but one of them were filed by her constituents in Alaska. That one exception was a complaint by a DC watchdog group about her $150,000 clothing gift from RNC. It was ultimately dismissed, but it dealt with an unclear area of campaign-finance law.

The rest of the complaints were all filed by Alaskans. Four of the complaints were filed by a Republican former ally of Palin's, Andree McLeod, who turned on her because she felt Palin was cutting ethical corners, hiring cronies and using a private email account to conduct public business outside the realm of public records. Many of the complaints predated her vice presidential nomination. And at least one of the complaints was clearly justified; Palin had to pay back about $8,000 in travel expenses for her children. Another is still pending: A seemingly reasonable complaint about Palin charging the state per diem when she's living in her own house in Wasilla rather than the governor's mansion.

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So the complaints didn't cost Alaska "millions," they weren't filed by outside Democratic operatives, and most of them weren't frivolous. Is Sarah Palin going to keep telling these lies on her self-pity tour? And why is so much of the media letting her get away with it?

 

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Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh is the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."

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