Update: Short story here.
From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage --
A state personnel board investigator today dismissed two ethics complains against Gov. Sarah Palin, the governor's office said.
The complaints were filed by Zane Henning of Wasilla and Anthony Martin of Talkeetna. Henning charged that Palin broke state ethics rules by by holding national television interviews about her run for vice president from the governor's office.
He said Palin was promoting her future political career on state property, pointing in particular to the governor's Nov. 10 interview with Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren.
Martin’s complaint was based on the trip that Palin and aide Kris Perry took to Georgia to campaign for Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
We’ll post an actual story on the complaints and dismissals as soon as it’s done.
In the meantime, here’s the press release sent out by the governor’s office:
Today the governor’s office was informed that yet two more ethics complaints filed against Governor Palin have been dismissed, part of the mounting evidence that accusations of wrongdoing by the governor lack merit and have been politically or personally motivated.
The complaints, one by Zane Henning of Wasilla, filed on November 13, and one by Anthony Martin of Talkeetna, filed on December 2, were dismissed by Michael Geraghty, an investigator for the State Personnel Board. Geraghty concluded “that the conduct asserted, if true, would not constitute violation of the ethics act.”
“These are the 10th and 11th actions taken on behalf of the Personnel Board that favorably resolve complaints against the governor or her staff, and to date there has not been any violation of the law substantiated,” said Thomas Van Flein, the governor’s attorney. “There are a few more complaints pending, and then we hope this abuse of the Executive Ethics Act will cease.”
Henning alleged that the governor used her official position and office for partisan political purposes because she conducted interviews with reporters in the Atwood Building in Anchorage on November 7, 2008, and again on November 10, during which the recent vice presidential campaign was discussed. After what he called an “exhaustive review” of the ensuing news reports, Geraghty concluded: “There was no indication that Governor Palin presented her official position as governor of the State of Alaska for an improper personal or financial purpose.”
Martin alleged that the governor and aide Kris Perry violated the ethics act during a trip to Georgia in which the governor campaigned for Senator Saxby Chambliss. Geraghty concluded: “The (ethics) act does not prohibit a public official from engaging in political pursuits independent of their position as a public officer, and the campaign efforts undertaken by Governor Palin are not prohibited by the act.”
Regarding Perry, Geraghty wrote: “To constitute a violation of the ethics act, the facts alleged would have to support a finding that Governor Palin coerced Perry to benefit her own personal and/or financial interests. The Martin complaint does not allege facts suggesting coercive conduct by Governor Palin.”
Not one of the complaints actually reached the personnel board for its formal adjudication,” noted Bill McAllister, the governor’s communications director. “Rather the complaints have fallen short based on just a simple review of the facts and the law.”
McAllister also responded to comments by critics of the governor who allege that the personnel board process is flawed because the members are appointed by the governor.
“This is an illogical argument: Why file a complaint with a board that you think is biased in favor of the person you’re targeting?” McAllister said. “But the fact of the matter is that all three members of the personnel board originally were appointed by the previous governor, and they could not be removed by Governor Palin except for actual wrongdoing. The governor’s opponents are just frustrated because they are batting .000 in their attempts to show a violation of the ethics act.”