State Report Faults Palin on Legal Defense Fund

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 21, 2009 5:41 PM CDT
Gov. Sarah Palin walks through the buffet line at a bill-signing ceremony in Unalakleet, Alaska, on July 17.   (AP Photo/Matthew Daly)
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(Newser) – An independent investigator says Sarah Palin may have violated ethics laws by accepting private donations to pay her legal debts. The report, by an investigator for the state Personnel Board, says Palin is receiving improper gifts through the Alaska Fund Trust, which was set up by supporters. The report says there is probable cause to believe that Palin used or atttempted to use her official position for personal gain because she authorized the creation of the trust as her "official" legal defense fund.

The practical effect of the ruling on Palin will be more financial than anything else. The report recommends that Palin refuse to accept payment from the defense fund, and that the complaint be resolved without a formal hearing before the Alaska Personnel Board. The fund aims to help Palin pay off debts stemming from multiple ethics complaints against her, most of which have been dismissed.