Commentary: Abuse of ethics complaint law equals bad politics

This editorial appeared in The Anchorage Daily News.

Alaska citizens have a right to file ethics complaints against their elected representatives. State law guarantees it. But when Alaskans use the ethics law to score political points, they abuse that right and may put it at risk.

Case in point: The latest complaint against Gov. Sarah Palin. Kim Chatman complains the governor has violated state ethics law by having her old friend Kristan Cole set up and run the "Alaska Fund Trust," a legal defense fund to cover Palin's legal bills.

We don't like the title any more than Kim Chatman does. The governor should play it straight and call the fund what it is – the Sarah Palin Legal Defense Fund. And if someone else named it, the governor should get him or her to rename it.

But she's within her rights to create a fund to cover her legal expenses – and complaints like Chapman's only win sympathy for the governor and run up the legal bills.

Another case is from Andree McLeod, who has made some legitimate complaints against the Palin administration, most notably in keeping private e-mails about state business archived and open to public viewing.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.