Palin Ethics Complaints May Have Connection to Lower 48 Democrats

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 7, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Governor Palin is way, way, way north in Alaska right now, out fishing with her husband Todd. But this is no ordinary fishing trip, because FOX News is along for the ride and is digging for information about her bombshell announcement. Why is Governor Palin quitting? She has only 18 months left in her term.

The governor of Alaska, governor for just 19 more days, spoke with FOX News's Dan Springer.


GOV. SARAH PALIN, R - ALASKA, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The announcement was tough because I love Alaska so much. This is who I am, and these are the people whom I love that I am serving.

So personally that was tough. But at the same time, I knew that making this decision was the right thing for the people that I love, for Alaska, knowing that we are not going to be able to progress and reach our potential and our destiny to contribute to the U.S. but energy independence and national security aspects.

And we can't do our part in reigning in this government overgrowth that you see on the national level until the distractions cease. These distractions are these frivolous, ridiculous, expensive, wasteful ethics violations lawsuits, those politics of personal destruction that began August 29, the day that I was tapped to run for V.P.

Now, until I step aside and allow our lieutenant governor to take over and progress the state with the agenda we've incorporated into our states these past three years, nothing is going to change because it doesn't cost the adversaries of time to play this game, and it costs us millions and millions of dollars, the public in Alaska and me personally.

DAN SPRINGER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The personal attacks on you and your family, how difficult has that been?

PALIN: We know what we were getting in for. At a politician should expect criticism. Constructive criticism is most helpful. But criticism and holding one accountable, I've asked for that. Have been prepared a politician should shy away from that.

The adversaries, the critics who are allowed to lie and to stymie progress and to paralyze an administration, that means paralyzing the state, would be frivolous, wasteful ethics violations -- we win them all, but it has such a great cost that that kind of criticism is unnecessary.

And it's a sad state of affairs when you consider where the politics of personal destruction have played such a part in not just our state, other states. too.

SPRINGER: Some in your own party in the beltway have written you off. What do you say to them?

PALIN: Well, I think that there are as many problems -- not as many, but there are problems within the Republican machine just as there are in the Democrat machine.

And that is why I am not one to be part of that obsessive partisanship that believes that you have to be a part of the hierarchy of a machine in order to affect change or get elected. I do not buy into that. I never have.

I do things unconventionally, much more independent than maybe some in the political machine want me to be. But so be it. I think that that would be a refreshing thing for more politicians to start exerting their independence and just doing what's right regardless of the obsessive partisan politics.

SPRINGER: Do you think you would make a good president?

PALIN: You know, I, again, don't know what the future holds.

I think any average, hard-working American, though, whose heart is in the right place, who has the work ethics that is required, and can articulate what it is that America needs right now is going to make a darn good president.


VAN SUSTEREN: Governor Palin's lawyer Thomas Van Flein joins us in Anchorage. Thomas, how many complaints, ethics complaints have been filed against the governor since last August? How many have been ended in her favor? And what has been the cost?

THOMAS VAN FLEIN, GOV. SARAH PALIN'S ATTORNEY: A total of 15 were filed as of yesterday. A new one was filed yesterday. But all 15 have been dismissed. There was never a finding of any ethics violation or violation of our ethics law.

And the cost has been tremendous to her personally, about half of million dollars, and the state itself has incurred up to $2 million combined with the ethics complaint, actions that it has had to pay for on its end, along with responding to public record act requests.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thomas, what was the one filed yesterday?

VAN FLEIN: There was one filed yesterday by the same person who actually filed one against the governor. Previously, it was dismissed, and his prior complaint was frivolous. It alleged that you helped the governor violate the ethics act when you interviewed her in her office last January.

So this same fellow has now filed a new one, saying it is unethical for to accept per diem pay.

VAN SUSTEREN: So the problem that this person had with my interview with her, our interview with her, was simply the location. So that generated an ethics complaint, right? It was not the content?

VAN FLEIN: Well, that was a pretext -- well, no, I believe that it was the content. The complaint had said that you must be talking politics with her on state property, and breathing state air, and using state heat and sitting in a state chair. That's all improper use of state equipment for partisan purposes. It was content and equipment.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there something about Alaskan procedure that you can file these complaints? I have never seen one governor get so many complaints. Is this something unique to Alaska?

VAN FLEIN: Well, we have a pretty tough ethics here law in Alaska, and ironically, it was championed by Governor Palin. This is one of the platform she ran on was ethics reform. We had one of the most corrupt legislators in history, and we had a history of corrupt legislators. So that was saying something.

She championed this reform, and there is a loophole there or there is no requirement -- it's sort of like a civil lawsuit. Anybody can file a complaint, and there are no ramifications here for filing a frivolous one.

And what has happened is partisan, Democratic partisans and left- wingers have hijacked the ethics process by filing these frivolous complaints in order just to get a headline.

And yesterday was a perfect example of an ethics complaint. It supposed to be confidential. The person who files it issues a press release, partly confidential, and gets his headline. That's how it's being used, and that's how it's being abused.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thomas, are these individuals who are filing it, or do you think this is part of some concerted effort by some group? What's the origin of these 15 that you have already spoken about?

VAN FLEIN: Some are individual efforts. But we know that there is a group of left-wing associates who have publicly stated that this is a concerted action to undermine the administration. They blog about it and rejoice in it, essentially.

And so it is a concerted effort and it is not accidental or coincidental.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have you any reason to believe that it is originating outside of Alaska?

VAN FLEIN: Well, it's out of the playbook, it's out of a left-wing playbook to attack your opponent and attack them personally, use the system against them, bog them down with things like ethics complaints, make them spend their own money, give them bad headlines. It's a standard left-wing tactic.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you have no proof that it is coming from outside the state. You are simply saying that it's done by people who are her political opponents, right? You have no evidence that, for instance, is the Democrats in the lower 48 doing it?

VAN FLEIN: Well, there were some complaints that were filed under pseudonyms that we believe came from down in the lower 48, and that one was dismissed as well. So there is some evidence that it is coming from down in the lower 48.

What we do know is there was a close association. Like, one of the persons who filed the complaint was the official Democratic Party blogger for the convention for President Obama last fall. And she has been part of this.

So there is a connection to the Democratic Party in the lower 48.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thomas, thank you.

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