Politics & Government

Palin estimate of ethics probes' cost includes staff salaries

Gov. Sarah Palin, explaining her stunning resignation announcement, has repeatedly said attacks on her since she ran for vice president have cost state government "millions" of dollars.

"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 this week.

Palin administration officials provided the Anchorage Daily News with a breakdown of what it says are $1.9 million in costs. Most if it is a per-hour accounting of the time state employees, such as state attorneys, have spent working on public records requests, lawsuits, ethics complaints, and issues surrounding the Legislature's "Troopergate" investigation last summer of Palin.

"Is it a check that we wrote, no, but is it staff hours, yes," Sharon Leighow, spokeswoman for Palin, said of the expenses related to state employee work.

Those state employees would have been paid regardless.

What about helping teachers, benefitting troopers, making roads safer or "soldiers' benefits" – the kinds of alternative uses of the money that Palin has described repeatedly?

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