Re: Ethics Complaint against Sarah Palin Dated June 2, 2011
AGO File No. AN2011101972
Dear Mr. Burns:
I am in receipt of your letter dated July 29, 2011 which denied the Ethics Complaint previously filed. I am also in possession of the documents sent by your office with a cover letter of August 17, 2011 in response to my Freedom of Information Act request. As a result of those documents it is my understanding that Sarah Palin has waived confidentiality of any information regarding this matter.
As a starting point I hereby request that you disqualify yourself in this matter due to personal bias, or potential bias in this matter. It is clear from the documents produced that you have a personal relationship with Sarah Palin and/or her attorney. Secondly you were appointed by Sean Parnell, who became governor upon the resignation of Sarah Palin. It also appears you have been a fisherman in Bristol Bay for many years, so the implication is that you may have a personal relationship with Todd Palin.
You have a second potential conflict of interest. AS 39.52.190 expressly establishes that any public officer is prohibited from aiding another in the violation of the Ethics Laws of Alaska. If it is determined that Sarah Palin in fact violated the Ethics Code of Alaska, and that you aided her by dismissing a complaint rightfully filed against her, you may have personally violated the Alaska Code of Ethics.
This matter would be more fairly considered by an independent, bipartisan, investigative board, and then there would be no indication of bias or undue influence on your part.
I hereby request production of all documents covered by my Freedom of Information Act request, without the withholding or redacting of any such documents. In particular you have withheld and/or redacted the following documents:
1. E-mail from Julia Bockmon dated June 7, 2011 to you, James Cantor and Joanne Grace re my Ethics complaint against Sarah Palin dated Jun 7, 2011 which was listed as having “High” importance.” The copy provided to me is redacted with the following explanation: “Summary and Analysis regarding June 2, 2011 Ethics Complaint against S. Palin Attorney-Client Communication and Deliberative Process and Attorney Work Product.” Who is the attorney and who is the client, upon which you base this asserted privilege? Surely you are not asserting a privilege on behalf of Sarah Palin as anything sent to your office would constitute a waiver of that privilege. Moreover you are a public servant of the people of Alaska, and as such any “deliberative process” undertaken by your office regarding an Ethics Complaint should not be “protected” from production. It is also my understanding from documents that were produced that Sarah Palin, through her attorney, has waived any privilege they might have otherwise been asserted. Certainly the production of the “Confidential” Ethics Complaint (the one made the subject of this letter) by Sarah Palin’s attorney to conservatives4palin, which was published on the internet, would also constitute a waiver of any privilege.
2. Documents identified in the “Protected Records Log” that were both withheld in their entirety dated July 15, 2011 with a Bates stamp range from 00057-00059, and 00071-00074, which were described as “Summary analysis, and recommendation regarding the Jun 2, 2011 complaint and the July 7, 2011 supplement, and Exhibit B to the July 15, 2011 Memorandum: Draft Letter to M. Litman regarding Ethics Complaint against Sarah Palin dated June 2, 2011. Any assertion of privilege is inappropriate and unfounded.
I am hereby asking for your reconsideration of the Ethics Complaint previously filed for the following reasons: (1) the dismissal of the Ethics Complaint was contrary to the clear and express provisions of the statute, and (2) additional information has come to my attention, which if an investigation had been performed, would have resulted in this ethics complaint being even more compelling.
1. The Dismissal of the Ethics Complaint was Contrary to the Express Provisions of AS 39.52.180 (a).
As you stated in you letter of July 29, 2011 the statute involved originally expressly excluded … “legislative bills.” In 2007, during Palin’s term as Governor, you explained that the statute was amended “to include, rather than exclude, work on legislation.” (Your letter at page 2) Thus after the amendment AS 39.52.180(a) stated:
“ (a) A public officer who leaves state service may not, for two years after leaving state service, represent, advise, or assist a person for compensation regarding a matter that was under consideration by the administrative unit served by that public officer, and in which the officer participated personally and substantially through the exercise of official action. For the purposes of this subsection, “matter” includes a case, proceeding, application, contract, [OR] determination, [BUT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE] proposal or consideration of a legislative bill [BILLS], a resolution, -[RESOLUTIONS AND] constitutional amendment [AMENDMENTS], or other legislative measure, [MEASURES;] or …”
There is no dispute that this statute (1) applies to Sarah Palin as the Ex-Governor, (2) That the Ex-Governor signed the tax credit statute into law during her short term as Governor (AS 39.52.180 (a) ) (3) that during a period of less than two years after Sarah Palin resigned as Governor she received compensation as the Executive producer and for staring in Sarah Palin’s Alaska (4) the compensation paid to the Ex-Governor for making the film was $2,000,000, and that (5) the film company involved, Jean Worldwide, received a tax credit of $1.200,000.00 at the expense of the citizens of Alaska.
According to your letter, your only justification for dismissal of the complaint is that the term “matter” does not include “legislation” after it is enacted. In particular, you state, “Once a bill is enacted, consideration of the legislation, the “matter” is concluded. Future work that involves application of the statute to later activities is not “regarding (the)matter.” It appears you are rewriting the law. Your attempt to interpret the statute to impose some arbitrary time period during which the “legislation” signed by the Governor would be considered to be a “matter” is without justification, without legislative history, and contrary to the express language of the statute. Your analysis is ludicrous! To suggest that “legislation” is not “legislation” after it is signed by the Governor, and becomes law, is nonsensical. If a proposed law never became law there would never be a situation where the Governor or a member of the Executive Branch would benefit or receive compensation from the “law,” as there would be no law. To take your position to its logical extreme, if Sarah Palin signed a law during her term as Governor to award a tax credit of $1,000,000 to anyone who gave birth to a 6th child in Alaska, and then within the two years after she resigned she had a sixth child in Alaska and received the tax credit, that would not be a violation of the Ethics Act, because the legislation was “concluded” and the birth of the child was a “later activity.” Any Governor who received compensation after leaving office regarding “legislation” they approved while in office would ALWAYS be a matter that was “concluded” at an earlier time. According to your interpretation, if a Governor resigned she would never be in a position to be involved in any way with legislation since the “matter” was concluded. This construction of the law would make the law nonsensical. Your stated interpretation of the law is inconsistent with the express wording of the statute, and if your interpretation of the statute were adopted there would NEVER be a violation of the Ethics act that pertains to “legislation” because you interpret “legislation” to be something other than “legislation.”
By taking the position that this law does not apply to Sarah Palin then you are necessarily telling the citizens of Alaska that the law applies to everyone equally unless you say otherwise. The citizens of Alaska could have received compensation of 5.2 Million Dollars (double the 2 Million Dollars that Palin received, and refund of the 1.2 Million Dollar Tax Credit from Jean Worldwide) for this violation. The citizens of your state deserve a hearing on this matter by an unbiased committee.
2. New Evidence
Since the filing of the Ethics complaint additional information has come to light that should be considered in evaluating this claim.
1) Documents enclosed indicate that during the short time that Sarah Palin served as Governor, she traveled on state time, using state funds, to meet with film companies in California (see attached). Obviously she was contemplating the making of a film for personal gain, before she left office. Obviously if she had been involved as Governor in the making of this film, she would not have been allowed to receive compensation. By enacting this law and resigning from office, Sarah Palin was able to profit from Senate Bill 230 as an actor and Executive Producer of Sarah Palin’s Alaska. This is precisely the type of conduct that AS 39.52.180 (a) was intended to prevent.
2) The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) regulations governing the Film Office and the film incentive program were drafted, issued for public comment and became effective on June 18, 2009. Sarah Palin announced her resignation as Governor, just two weeks later, on July 3, 2009. Until now many people failed to understand the timing of Palin’s resignation. It appears that we now know the reason for her sudden resignation.
3) It now appears that Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol, are each planning to appear in additional films that have applied for tax credits, taking further advantage of Bill 230. Helping Hands is the Company that has applied for the tax credit for the film featuring Bristol Palin. Jean Worldwide has also applied for an additional tax credit but the documents that have been provided to me as a result of my Freedom of Information Request to the film office have been redacted so I am unable to confirm if Sarah Palin will be featured in this film or if she might be the Executive Producer of this film. I suspect that is the case given the fact that it is the same company, Jean Worldwide, and based on the report that Palin will be featured in a television show to be known as “Big Hair.”
Bristol Palin will be featured in a film, for which a tax credit has also been requested. That company applying for that tax credit is Helping Hand, and it appears they have applied for such a tax credit.
I incorporate all the facts and assertions in my Ethics Complaint of June 2, 2011 that has been identified by your office as AGO File No. AN2011101972.
In light of the fact that Sarah Palin is considering running for President of the United States, it is essential to the safety and security of our entire country that people know the truth about any Ethics Violations of Sarah Palin during or after her short time as Governor of Alaska. On behalf of the entire electorate in the United States I seek the truth, and ask that this Complaint be considered by an independent bipartisan legislative panel.
Thank you for your consideration.
The above Complaint and Request for Reconsideration is a true and accurate representation of my belief that a violation of the Executive Branch Ethics Act of Alaska had occurred.
Sub scribed and sworn to before me this ___ day of ____ in the year _____
Notary Public’s Signature
State of Texas Notary Public’s Printed Name
Commission Expires: _________________
Complainant: I understand that a person commits the crime of false accusation if the person knowingly or intentionally initiates a false complaint. I understand that I may be asked by the committee or the subject of the complaint to testify at any state of the complaint proceeding as to my belief that the subject of this complaint violated the Ethics Act.
cc. Anchorage Daily News
cc. Sean Parnell, Governor of Alaska
cc. Senator Lisa Murkowski
cc. Senator Mark Begich
cc. Alaska Law Journal, Duke University
These letters were mailed today. The response will determine if Sarah Palin’s Alaska remains a proper title for her television show.