Monday, May 4, 2009

The Anchorage Daily News: "Aw, Those Citizen Bullies Are Picking on Little Sarah!"

On Sunday, May 3, the Anchorage Daily News (ADN) published online*** an "Our View" editorial that makes a concerted effort to marginalize most of the thirteen ethics complaints filed against Governor Sarah Palin by labeling them as "gadfly" politics.

The ADN maintains that the most recent complaint against Sarah Palin is little more than whining about the name of Sarah's legal defense fund, the "Alaska Fund Trust."

The ADN says that they don't like the name of the fund either, and that Sarah should change the name to reflect what it truly is, and everything will then be hunky-dory.

The ADN's fails to mention that according to the "Fund Trust" website, it was "created to defend the integrity of the Alaska Governor's Office from an onslaught of political attacks launched against current Governor Sarah Palin, the First Family, and state-employed colleagues" (emphasis mine).

The ADN thinks the ethics law is a good thing, but these darn people should just stop using it! According to the ADN, the filing of these complaints is just another way for political bullies to pick on poor Sarah, and that's an abuse of the law!

The ADN went on to say that the legislature should change the law to make it so that if a complainant "blabs" about their ethics complaint, it will be summarily dismissed... like it is right now for an ethics complaint filed against a legislator.

The ADN is wrong.

Though the ADN tries to paint them as such, none of the complaints I've seen are what I would call frivolous. Personally, I think that some of the complaints are for relatively minor offenses by the governor, but I also think that the governor is not above the law. Even when it comes to minor infractions.

ADN, you're missing completely the underlying reason for the complaints:

When it comes to ethical behavior , the governor should be setting the standard, not lowering the bar.

Sarah Palin, since coming into office, has demonstrated a regular pattern of utter disregard for legal ethical standards... at least as they might apply to her.

Yeah, the governor-appointed State Personnel Board "exonerated" her over the firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan... after Sarah filed a complaint against herself... a complaint accompanied by a press release from Sarah.

Funny how "confidentiality" didn't matter that time!

Yeah, Sarah "paid the state back" for those plane trips and per diem... but not until she was made to do so by the filing of an ethics complaint - a complaint made public.

The general confidentiality requirement for ethics complaints was incorporated for one good reason: for a state employee to bring ethics charges against another state employee (say, their boss), the whole matter needs to be confidential. This protects the reputation of the person being charged in the complaint until the facts are known, and protects the complainant from possible retaliatory measures by the person charged.

That makes sense.

The automatic dismissal of a "blabbed" ethics complaint against a legislator? I'll give you a clue: the legislature slipped this in there to cover their own butts. Can't have those pesky ethics whiners screwing things up!

So, rather than noting the courage it takes to publicly incur the wrath of the most powerful person in the state of Alaska... a governor whose lackeys called for a public "backlash" against complainants on the State website, the ADN chooses instead to dismiss the complainants as "gadflies."

Shame on you, ADN.

If, as the ADN suggests, the law is changed so that any ethics complaints against the executive branch cannot be "blabbed" about or it will be summarily dismissed, how many valid ethics complaints do you think will ever see the light of day?

My guess is somewhere between zero and none.

BOTTOM LINE: The ADN editors have a clear case of cranial rectalitis on this one.

*** The editorial appeared in print in today's paper, May 4. It was published online last night.


Matt Osborne said...

Why is the ADN in the tank for Obama?!

Maeve said...

It was startling to me that the ADN came out for Sullivan and is supporting Palin in her battle against being ethical. Then the publish an Op-Ed by Paul Jenkins (formerly with the Voice of the Times) berating Palin's staff in the Governor's office for posting unprofessional news releases on the State's web page...

Is it just me, or have we slipped into a parallel universe?

Wolfe Tone said...

Rod Serling is going to step out any minute, cigarette in hand, to tell us we've entered the Twilight Zone.

the problem child said...

The ADN is doing the level of reporting/ editorializing you would expect from a high school newspaper. One that does not have a competent staff supervisor.

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