Published July 11, 2009
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she hopes the latest ethics complaint filed against her is a "wake-up call" that a new ethics policy is needed in the state.
"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," Palin said in a release that was posted online through her Twitter account.
"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," Palin said.
The ethics complaint, filed Friday with the state personnel board, alleges that Palin has been paid for media interviews. Palin's chief of staff, Mike Nizich, called the allegation absurd.
"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," Nizich said in a statement late Friday. "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."
Palin says her family has racked up more than $500,000 in legal fees and the state has poured about $2 million of taxpayer money into investigating the complaints. A spokeswoman later clarified that most of that expense was for staff time by state lawyers and others who have helped Pain defend herself.
Palin's lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, said the complaint was filed by an Anchorage resident, who faxed it to a local television station.
Van Flein said Palin has never been paid an appearance fee or received other compensation from any television or radio show or other media interview.
The complaint is the 17th filed against Palin and the second since she announced July 3 she is resigning. Most of them have been dismissed as baseless.