An independent counsel hired by Alaska's state personnel board has dismissed an ethics complaint filed by Sondra Tompkins of Anchorage. The complaint had alleged that Gov. Sarah Palin’s role in SarahPAC, her political action committee, posed a "conflict" with her official duties as governor.
"I find that the complaint does not allege facts which constitute a violation of the Ethics Act. Therefore an investigation is not warranted. Pursuant to my authority…the complaint is hereby dismissed," independent counsel Thomas Daniel concluded today.
Tomkins' complaint claimed that Palin abdicated her governor duties at the end of the legislative session, when the governor went to Indiana to address a Right to Life banquet and to attend a breakfast for families with Down syndrome children.
But the independent counsel found that:
"...the fact that the Governor traveled to Indiana to attend a dinner (and a breakfast meeting the next morning) did not take significant time, if any, away from the Governor’s duties... the Governor has staff members who interface with the Legislature, and the Governor herself can communicate with members of the Legislature by phone or email, even when she is in another state."
The complaint maintained that Gov. Palin in essence has a contract with the political action committee (which paid for the Indiana trip) to act in its interests on national issues which do not match Alaska's interests.
But Counsel Daniels determined that such is not the case:
"The real purpose of a leadership PAC is to allow nationally prominent political leaders to solicit funds to pay for the expenses associated with traveling and speaking on national issues. It is not at all clear that this will be incompatible with Governor Palin's normal duties as Governor, which include expressing her opinion on a broad range of issues of concern to Alaskans and the nation," he wrote.
As Sarah Palin's supporters have said all along, this complaint, and the dozen or so others like it filed by the governor's political enemies, are frivolous.