Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

October 25, 2008

THE HUGE ETHICS SCANDAL ON THE BACKBURNER.... It's vaguely surreal that in the midst of a competitive presidential campaign, one of the candidates for national office is embroiled in a major ethics scandal, and the political world is largely ignoring it.

Two weeks ago, an independent investigation launched by the Alaskan legislature into Sarah Palin's abuse-of-power scandal wrapped up on Friday with a fairly devastating report -- Palin violated the public trust, violated state ethics laws, and lied about it. Soon after, Palin, driven either out of ignorance or illiteracy, said the report had cleared her of "any hint of any kind of unethical activity," which is the opposite of reality.

The investigation into Palin's scandal is not yet over.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin finished giving three hours of depositions Friday night to the state Personnel Board, which is looking into whether she unfairly fired Alaska's public safety director this summer, her attorney told CNN.

Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, gave her deposition in St. Louis.... Her husband, Todd Palin, also was supposed to testify separately Friday but it was unclear if he had done so.

Personnel Board investigator Timothy Petumenos took the governor's testimony.

Now, the Petumenos probe should be more favorable to Palin. It's run, after all, by Alaska's personnel board, which is made up of members who answer to the governor, which makes it far from independent. My suspicion is that Republicans support this inquiry because they want one more report -- in this case, a less objective one -- to clear Palin of any wrongdoing. The new talking point would be, "One investigation cleared Palin, one didn't, so let's just forget the whole thing."

This may yet be tricky, however. Petumenos is a Democrat who contributed to Palin's 2006 opponent for governor, Tony Knowles. Complicating matters slightly, the Anchorage Daily News reported that the personnel board's investigation of Palin has been "broadened" to include "other ethics complaints against the governor."

But stepping back, it's amazing this scandal is barely generating a whisper in political circles. A candidate for national office has been found to have violated ethics laws, recently, in a major abuse-of-power scandal. The Obama campaign isn't pressing the issue, reporters seem to find this irrelevant, and most voters probably have no idea that the scandal is ongoing. As far as I can tell, John McCain hasn't said a word about any of this, and reporters haven't even asked for his perspective on his running mate's

It's odd. If Joe Biden were recently found to have abused the powers of his office and lied about it, and was still under investigation as Election Day neared, I have a hunch it'd be a bigger deal.

Steve Benen 1:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (29)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

She will be cleared because the board knows she will not win so she will be back and she will fire anyone who is not seen as "supportive of my mission."

I bet many heads roll when she gets home. Which is of course, why she should not be Vp.

Posted by: lilybart on October 25, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Given her approval ratings, there really is no need to bother with this. It'd be like beating a dead horse.

Posted by: MikeB-C on October 25, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

"and the political world is largely ignoring it."

Why bother? Her political career is finished the moment the election is called. There's been plenty of attention paid to her moronic statements, vile campaigning, s$150,000 wardrobe, lies. Her seamy problems in alaska don't really matter.

That woman has NO interest in being President, vice President, Governor,,,,she wants to be on tv. Her behavior from start to finish int this campaign has been all about jump starting a tv career. While the Reupican Party is trying to pick up the pieces, she'll be a new co-host on the View, on Fox Bews as the anti Maddow or on Dancing With the Stars. They've been duped by a dim-witted beauty queen longing for a tv careeer.

Posted by: Saint Zak on October 25, 2008 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine if people actually placed good governance above getting their candidate in.

Posted by: Chris on October 25, 2008 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

ethics, smeshics. Was there any sex involved? Any pictures? Nah. Move on folks, nothing to see here. Look, look! A missing blond!

Posted by: DAY on October 25, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Republican violates ethics rules and abuses power. Dog bites man. Not news.

Posted by: Bassfish on October 25, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

This is a loser for Obama to bring up. He's got McCain on the ropes, but if he starts pushing this then he gets down in the Republican mud pit and the news cycle moves away from the economy. Why go there?

Posted by: tomeck on October 25, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree with those who say, it isn't worth flogging. Every election against Republicans is a risky endeavor, and all guns must be blasting away. Even if O-man doesn't go there, others need to spread the news.

Posted by: Neil B on October 25, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Other complaints" probably include the also-weirdly off-the-radar finding by AP that Palin apparently falsified expense reports in order to skim public money in pursuit of mini-vacations for her family. Alaskans are not happy about this, not at all, but the story is not resonating down here. So odd, because it's a beautiful dovetail with the wardrobe malfunction.

Posted by: Doug Bostrom on October 25, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

She fired a state official for petty reasons?

Hell, I support the gal when she wants to fire all of Alaskan officials and become an independent nation, so this little hubris does not bother me in the least.

Posted by: MattYoung on October 25, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

This has been one of the more curious things about this campaign.

Brian Williams did bring this up twice this week as part of an introduction to a couple of his interview segments. But he did not ask her about it.

The TV journalists at least has been extremely deferential to Palin on this ethics investigation.
But it is not like they had many opportunities to question her anyway. Besides if they would, she would just lie about all of it again.

Jesus, does she not understand how many people cannot tolerate a liar?

Posted by: lou on October 25, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I agree it just isn't worth bringing up. She is a non-entity and even without the scandal she is a drain on the ticket. Yes, she is just interested in jump-starting her TV career. She is a right-wing hate monger whom Fox News loves. She is Ann Coulter, only pretty.

Posted by: Dayland Shannon on October 25, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe it disappeared so quickly... that someone who could be president in a year abused their power and broke the law should be a big deal! The number of free passes the republican ticket get from the media is mind-boggling - and from the dems for that matter.

Posted by: NewHorizons on October 25, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Unlike Biden, Palin has a base of unreconstructed insurgents, more loyal to their faction than to their country, and perennially prone to violence. As long as there is no danger of Palin ever coming to power (and there isn't), it's better from Obama's standpoint to let her legal troubles remain a matter for the Alaskan outback.

Indeed, with the "let sleeping dogs lie" strategy, her supporters are as likely to focus their destructive energies on moderate Republicans (which they absurdly consider McCain to be) as on Obama and the rest of the incoming Dems.

Posted by: kth on October 25, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

The truth about Sarah will come out. No need for the Obama camp to hasten things up.

The seeds of doubt have been sown.

Let em sprout in the minds of undecideds.

We have got to STICK to the issues. At this point, Caribou Barbie is just that, what with untold thousands spent on her duds and mud (make-up).

The world may have perked up a bit over her appearance on the world's stage. But at this point, most interest in her as a serious entity has gone flaccid.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on October 25, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, you forgot to mention that the McCain campaign has already issued a report that exonerates Palin of all wrong-doing (go figure) and did so before the original report came out.

The beauty of the current inquiry is that the McCain campaign can use a much loved - and abused - White House tactic of claiming that they can't comment on an ongoing investigation.

That the press yawned when Palin openly contradicted the findings of the official report speaks volumes...

Posted by: kiweagle on October 25, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Governor Palin denies her ethics violations just as readily as she denies evolution and human contributions to global warming. One shudders at her outright eagerness to contradict clear evidence.

It appears that in Palin's mind only elitists rely on facts. Facts are just lots of words and figures, after all.

It's like when authoritarians tell you "you're not listening to me!" when you disagree with them. What they really mean is, "Stop doing your own thinking and agree with me!" It's similar with McCain, Palin and many in the GOP -- when you disagree with them they tell you you're "an elitist," you're "not a real American" or "you're not patriotic." Forget all those facts, they say, forget the evidence, just agree with me.

That's why the GOP's message rings so hollow this year. That's why their criticisms of Obama aren't sticking. Their opinions lack coherence so they aren't trusted.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on October 25, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

This is clear evidence that there is no standard of ethics in the political press except the one the politicians insist on. Because the Obama campaign isn't make a stink about it, it's not getting covered. And honestly, I don't have a problem with that.

Why? Because it doesn't get the job done, which in this case is grabbing Sarah Palin by the back of her snowsuit and chucking her back up to Alaska so she can personally oversee the end of the universe. Attacking her on this point achieves no goal, and that includes any sort of assertion that it might raise ethics across the board. We just spent ten freaking years in the wilderness of ethical failures by Bill Clinton and George Bush, and nobody learned a damn thing. Mark Foley anyone?

There will come a time when somebody steps out of line and it actually matters to the cause of good governance, and if it's a Democrat I hope the Democratic party expels the person outright.

Sarah Palin is getting due process, and so far she's been found guilty. Let the process run its course, let her stand for election as a bimbogelical wannabe, then let's move on.

She's taken up enough of my damn time.

Posted by: The Phantom on October 25, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

The only necessary question to ask Sarah Palin is this: "if you did nothing wrong in trying to get your ex-brother-in-law fired from his job, will you continue trying to get him fired in the future?"

Posted by: tomj on October 25, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Citizen-journalists in Alaska have been doing an excellent job of reporting on Sarah Palin's ethics violations. Read Mudflats for daily, up-to-the-minute reports. See Alaska Dispatch, Alaskans for Truth, and The Wasilla Project for background.

Posted by: Idahoan on October 25, 2008 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I know Obama is classy and everything and he hardly can bring himself to utter Palin's name, but I just don't understand why Biden or one of the surrogates don't make a huge stink out of this.

Posted by: Alex Kirby on October 25, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

It is like wasting another torpedo on a sinking ship. Save your ammo for another target that isn't leaking oil, its steering column is jammed, can only turn right, and is taking on water.

Posted by: coltergeist on October 25, 2008 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. I wish the Obama campaign would realize that this is actually relevant, and not just character bashing.

Posted by: catherineD on October 25, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Palin rigged bids for pipeline for contributor http://tinyurl.com/6ffmxj

Posted by: marc sobel on October 25, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

The difference between Palin having an ongoing ethics investigation and Biden having one is that Biden is a United States Senator, and therefore presumed to be capable of doing significant harm, where Palin is merely Governor of Alaska, where her mingy corruption is presumed to be irrelevant to anyone beyond the state's borders.

The part we're all missing (I say "we" because I work in the media) is that Palin's behavior as governor should give pause to anyone who values either honesty or competence in our public officials.

Posted by: eyescribe on October 25, 2008 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

The difference between Palin having an ongoing ethics investigation and Biden having one is that Biden is a United States Senator, and therefore presumed to be capable of doing significant harm, where Palin is merely Governor of Alaska, where her mingy corruption is presumed to be irrelevant to anyone beyond the state's borders.

The part we're all missing (I say "we" because I work in the media) is that Palin's behavior as governor should give pause to anyone who values either honesty or competence in our public officials.

Posted by: eyescribe on October 25, 2008 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

"The seeds of doubt have been sown.

Let em sprout in the minds of undecideds."

My God, you sound like a right wing nut case.

SEEDS OF DOUBT!!!!!!

Posted by: Peg on October 25, 2008 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

It absolutely would NOT be a bigger deal if it were Biden! Obama and Biden have gotten a pass on anything and everything! Ayers, Wright, Rezko, ACORN, Biden's big mouth that he just can't seem to keep shut. He makes up wild stories during a debate about NATO and Lebanon and nothing is said! He talked about "when I go down to Katie's resturant." How could he when it closed in the late eighties? He also told Katie Couric that FDR went on tv during the great depression. What a clown!

Posted by: wendytx on October 26, 2008 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

"The part we're all missing (I say "we" because I work in the media) is that Palin's behavior as governor should give pause to anyone who values either honesty or competence in our public officials."

Au contraire - the part we're missing is not about Palin at all, but about McCain's judgement in choosing her. Maybe the Charles Fried thing deserves a little more play (as in, please remove my name as a McCain supporter because I just voted for Obama because McCain's choice of Palin put the nation's well-being in jeopardy).

Posted by: Ed on October 26, 2008 at 6:56 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly