Palin Faces Latest Ethics Complaint

Another ethics complaint has been filed against Gov. Sarah Palin that claims a conflict of interest because she wore Arctic Cat logo gear during the Tesoro Iron Dog snowmobile race.

Ten other ethics complaints have been filed against Palin's administration. Palin has said that six of them were dismissed. But the Alaska governor said last week she's accumulated more than half a million dollars for her defense against various complaints. She says she may be forced to create a legal defense fund.

The governor called the latest complaint "another frivolous ethics charge" by a political blogger.

"This would be hilarious if it weren't so expensive for the state to process these accusations and for me to defend against these bogus harassments," Palin said in her written statement. 

Palin's husband, Todd, is sponsored by Arctic Cat in the Iron Dog, the world's longest snowmobile race.

Palin calls the complaint "asinine political grandstanding" by a blogger.

"Yes, I wore Arctic Cat snow gear at an outdoor event, because it was cold outside, and by the way, today, I am wearing clothes bearing the names of Alaska artists, and a Glennallen Panthers basketball hoodie," Palin said in Tuesday's release. "I am a walking billboard for the team's fundraiser! Should I expect to see an ethics charge for wearing these, or the Carhartts I wear to many public events?"

The complaint was filed by Linda Kellen Biegel, a Democrat who blogs under the name "Celtic Diva."

Biegel maintains that Palin improperly used her position and state resources for her personal financial interests by being "a walking billboard for Arctic Cat, a private for-profit company and family business sponsor."

A photo on the state Web site shows Palin in a Team Arctic jacket kicking off the start of this year's Iron Dog.

Sharon Leighow, a Palin spokeswoman, said the governor had no agreement with Arctic Cat to wear the gear. Leighow said she didn't know whether the clothing was donated by Arctic Cat.

Biegel said Arctic Cat financially supports Todd Palin's snowmobiling, which benefits the family.

"I'm pleased to see that our governor supports our local artists and sports teams but I believe she's missed the mark when it comes to what this ethics violation is all about," Biegel said.

In the governor's latest financial disclosure, Palin did not specify how much Arctic Cat's sponsorship was worth in 2008. The company provided a discount on snowmobiles, according to the disclosure. The sponsorship was valued at $7,500 in 2007.