Politics & Government

Decision on Palin's defense fund ethics complaint still pending

The state ethics board still hasn't taken action on its investigator's finding nine months ago that Sarah Palin's legal defense fund likely violated the law.

The process of the personnel board, which handles ethics complaints, is confidential. So it's not clear what's been going on since last summer with the ethics complaint, filed by Kim Chatman. Palin's lawyer, Tom Van Flein, said Wednesday it's still pending.

"The personnel board is actively working on the Chatman matter. That is all I can say about it at this time," he said.

A separate ethics complaint against the legal defense fund was dismissed this week, Van Flein said.

Palin's supporters created the Alaska Fund Trust in April 2009 to help her pay legal bills compiled defending herself in the "Troopergate" investigation and other ethics complaints. Chatman filed her ethics complaint not long after that, alleging the defense fund itself was against the law.

Personnel board investigator Tom Daniel, an Anchorage lawyer, issued a report on July 14, 2009.

"In light of the evidence that the governor expressly authorized the creation of the trust and the fact the trust website quite openly uses the governor's position to solicit donations, there is probable cause to believe that Governor Palin used, or attempted to use, her official position for personal gain in violation of Alaska statute," Daniel wrote.

Palin's team sharply disagreed with Daniel's interpretation.

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