Opinions expressed on this site are solely the responsibility of the site's authors and any guest authors whose material is posted here. This site is not authorized or operated by Governor Palin, her staff, or any other candidate or committee.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sarah Palin: The Ethos of Ethics

Following is the complete transcript of Thomas Van Flein's post on Governor Palin's Facebook Notes page pertaining to frivolous ethics complaints:

When the Governor announced her decision to resign on July 3, she
pointed out the then 15 frivolous ethics complaints that had been filed
against her and dismissed. It was intended to explain, in part, her
decision to resign as well to educate the public about the abuse of the
Alaska Ethics Act through a repetitive stream of baseless partisan
accusations, each one seemingly more pointless and frivolous than the
next. The Governor’s message was not intended as an invitation to run
off half-cocked and file more baseless ethics complaints, but not
everyone understood that message—or wanted to understand. In August
2009, largely in response to the abuse of Alaska’s Ethics Act by
partisan shills and low level lackeys, the Attorney General issued an
opinion recommending changes to the Ethics Act ”to prevent another
potential harm—abuse of the process. Some Alaskans have argued that the
Ethics Act has been used inappropriately in some circumstances to
politically damage the subject of the complaint.” (August 5, 2009
Attorney General Opinion). That argument was asserted by the Anchorage
Daily News. “Our View: Abuse of Ethics Complaints Turns Good Law Into
Bad Politics,” Anchorage Daily News, May 3, 2009. The Attorney General
further recommended “another safeguard to discourage habitual complaint
filers who use the Ethics Act process to harass executive branch
employees. Statutory amendments could provide authority to the
personnel board to decline to process further complaints filed by a
person who has abused the Act in this way.” Though it is encouraging to
see an impartial evaluation of the problem, it is ultimately up to the
Legislature to implement any of these recommended changes. Governor
Palin has been subjected to 24 ethics complaints, several lawsuits, and
dozens and dozens of public information act requests, few of which
raised even a scintilla of a good faith issue, and most of which were
simply done to garner a headline or promote opposition research for
political gain (Van Flein, 2009, ¶1).

Recently we learned that two more ethics complaints against Governor Palin have been dismissed—complaints that were filed after
the Governor announced her plans to step down. One complaint asserted
that it was unethical for the state to follow its own per diem
regulations and pay per diem to the Governor as set forth by law. Of
course, the complainant conveniently overlooked that the Governor and
her family received less per diem than they were entitled to under
State law—why let such details stand in the way of an ethics complaint?
The other complaint that was dismissed asserted that the Governor,
through me, supposedly violated the constitution because we informed a
person who falsely implied that the Governor was “under investigation”
by the FBI, that such statements are defamatory. It is notable to watch
those who agitate on all things Palin—locally and even across the
Atlantic—as they Huff and puff falsehoods about Sarah Palin under the
guise of free speech, which brings us to a teachable moment. All too
often we hear about constitutional rights—as we should—but many forget
about constitutional responsibilities. As citizens we have both rights
and responsibilities. Though we have the right to exercise free speech,
we have the responsibility to exercise that right without defaming
people. I like the way our Alaska Constitution describes it: “Every
person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being
responsible for the abuse of that right.” Ak. Const. Art. I, Sec. 5.
The irony of filing an ethics complaint because of a reminder about the
constitutional parameters of free speech is no doubt lost on those
consumed by irrationality when it comes to Sarah Palin; but one does
not need an ethics law to know that positive political discourse
depends on a robust debate about facts and the policy implications
stemming from such facts. The nation is not helped by calumnious ad hominem attacks against Sarah Palin, matrilineal conspiracy theories, and aberrant notions of ethics (Van Flein, 2009, ¶2).

- Thomas Van Flein, Personal Attorney for Sarah Palin


Van Flein, T. (2009, December 3). The ethos of ethics. Facebook, Sarah Palin. Retrieved December 3, 2009 from: http://www.facebook.com/sarahpalin#/notes/sarah-palin/the-ethos-of-ethics/188537988434

No comments:

Post a Comment