The Anchorage Daily News provides some clarity on the ethics complaints that Sarah Palin said were paralyzing her office, preventing her from doing any work:
There have been 18 known ethics complaints filed against her. The governor's office said they've been dismissed so far with no finding of wrongdoing, although she did settle a complaint over state-paid travel for her children.
The state personnel board put its cost of dealing with the complaints at about $300,000 -- around two-thirds of which was in addressing the "Troopergate" issue last fall. Palin herself initiated the personnel board investigation on "Troopergate," saying that the state Legislature's investigation of the matter was politicized and she was seeking the appropriate venue to deal with it.
Palin said Monday she didn't view the cost as just the $300,000 for the personnel board -- but rather $2 million for the state. It is a figure her administration now uses -- not meant to be actual checks written by the state but to also reflect time of state employees.
It is a per-hour calculation that the Palin administration put together, involving time spent by state lawyers deciding which public information to release as a result of all public records requests, time spent by governor's office staffers responding to media inquiries about ethics complaints, and time technicians spend on retrieving requested e-mail, among other things.
Palin, asked why she allowed the ethics complaints to consume her so much, said she did not take the complaints personally, and that for her it was about state resources being spent on attacks that followed her run last fall as the Republican vice presidential nominee.
"That huge waste that we have seen with the countless, countless hours that state staff is spending on these frivolous ethics violations and the millions of dollars that Alaskans are spending, that money not going to things that are very important, like troopers and roads and teachers and fish research," Palin said.
Note that she was the one who initiated the "Troopergate" inquiry*, as a means to obstruct and stop cooperating with an investigation by the state Legislature that she'd previously indicated she would cooperate with.
Also note that $2 million or so is about .01 percent of Alaska's roughly $11 billion budget. Not a strastopheric amount. And I highly doubt that money is going to be siphoned out of funding for public safety and infrastructure to make up for the additional costs accrued by the governor's "department of law."
I'd like to see some more reporting on the nature of these ethics complaints and how much time they actually took to deal with. I just don't buy her explanation that responding to these issues took so much of her time that it made it impossible to do her job.
*Not to be confused with Bill Clinton's "Troopergate" scandal. Can we stop with the fucking "gates" already?