July 10, 2009 Fairbanks, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin’s chief of staff, Mike Nizich, issued the following statement today on the occasion of the 19th ethics complaint being filed against the governor or a member of her staff:
“A week ago today, the governor told Alaskans that she was about to step down as governor in large part because of the campaign of harassment against this office, in which the Executive Branch Ethics Act has been repeatedly abused. Incredibly, since then two more ethics complaints have been filed against the governor, including one today.
“Typically, the first action by these complainants has been an illegal one – to announce the filing of the complaints to the news media, in clear violation of the mandatory confidentiality in the law. Unfortunately, unlike the legislative ethics act, there is no provision in the executive ethics act for a complaint to be automatically dismissed when it is publicized prematurely. Regardless of that, it is breathtakingly hypocritical for anyone to violate the ethics law in the very act of making an allegation against the governor."
“Although the governor would not have thought it possible, the latest complaint rises to a new level of absurdity in alleging that she has been paid for interviews that she has given to the news media. It is amazing to me that anyone could think that, let alone put their name behind it and once again seek to distract state officials and needlessly increase their work load. The state is losing the value of some of its expenditures when public servants are pulled away from important assignments to deal with far-fetched and mean-spirited allegations.”
Governor Palin issued the following statement:
“The only saving grace in this recent episode is that it proves beyond any doubt the significance of the problem Alaska faces in the ‘new normal’ of political discourse. I hope this will be a wake-up call – to legislators, to commentators and to citizens generally – that we need a much more civil and respectful dialogue that focuses on the best interests of the state, rather than the petty resentments of a few.”
Of the ethics complaints against the governor or her staff, 15 have been resolved without any finding of wrongdoing, and four are now pending.