New Ethics Complaint Filed Against Gov. Palin – Per Diem for Personal Gain
Wasilla resident Zane Henning will be filing an ethics complaint today against soon-to-be-ex-governor Sarah Palin for continuing to collect per diem expenses from the State of Alaska while still living in, and commuting from her own home.
One of the things that will still be getting some attention from government watchdogs, and legislators are possible changes that need to be addressed in the Ethics Act and/or State Law. Sarah Palin may be heading for the exit doors, but Alaska residents will have many governors to come. Like George Bush, who left the door wide open for potential abuses by his successors, we find ourselves looking for the holes in the system that will need to be plugged.
Now, back to Palin’s parting gift.
“I am charging that the Governor has given herself a raise for personal gain by using the per diem process, which is in direct conflict with Section 39.52.120. (a) of the Alaska Executive Ethics Act,” Henning said. “The State of Alaska provides housing in the state’s capital of Juneau for our Governor, so there should be no extra expense if she desires to stay in her own home. More than a thousand state employees commute from the Mat-Su Valley daily and none of them get to pocket free money.”
The reasons why I am filing this complaint are as follows:
· State travel regulations specify per diem can’t be claimed when travel is less than 50 miles from a state employee’s workplace. Palin works out of her Anchorage office in the Atwood Building which is a scant 45- mile commute from her Wasilla home.
· Palin is exempt from personnel and travel rules which means she does NOT HAVE to collect any per diem ever when working out of her Anchorage office.
· And most importantly, State Statute 39.20.010 distinctly stipulates that the governor’s salary is $125,000. Period. By pocketing this free money, Palin violates Alaska law by giving herself a raise that totals to thousands of dollars.
Attached documents provide proof that Governor Sarah Palin continues to collect per diem as of May 2009.
“The Governor is quitting her job and now more than ever the State of Alaska along with its residents need to be reimbursed for the per diem charges including interest and a fine. Governor Palin is setting precedent for future governors. My hope was that one of our lemming legislators would take a stand and hold Palin accountable for this act, but since that has not happened, it is up to private citizens, like myself, to hold our Governor accountable”, stated Henning.
The ethics complaint and supporting document is below.
*********WARNING TO JUNEAU RESIDENTS*******
>BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP!<
Included in the supporting documents is an email from the governor written to Meg Stapleton back in March of 2007 which includes the following:
“Fyi he’s really going to hit the roof when he gets the message that come end of legislative session i’m joining YOU, and the majority of the people of AK by conducting the state’s business where the people are – where I can access them, and they can access me. (I’ll talk to you and Sharon about this outside of email.) our gasline team, our commerce and revenue people, and so many others, are obviously needed in Anchorage once this session ends…
We’re going to have to fundamentally change some perceptions of WHERE the admin needs to conduct its business in order to stay connected w/ the world outside of Juneau.”