Something about Sarah Palin chewing the moosefat that Alaska had spent $2million on defending her ethics complaints struck me as off. I admit I am really bad at math but I remembered writing this July 1:
Anchorage Daily News also reports the Troopergate investigation of Palin that the governor herself initiated has cost the state $187,797, and that the ethics complaints against Gov. Sarah Palin and her staff, including Troopergate totaled nearly $300,000 over the past year.
The amount spent according to The Associated Press, and Anchorage Daily News on July 1, 2009: $296,042.58, like a difference of $1.6 million and change. Mel at Henkimaa.com has lots of good charts and graphs that show the expenditures.
But wait there’s more!
In response to our questions, the Governor’s office provided us with a detailed breakdown of the millions Palin has claimed has gone to defending against ethics complaints. It does list roughly $1.9 million in expenditures.
But Murrow, the spokesperson, acknowledged to our reporter, Amanda Erickson, that this total was arrived at by adding up attorney hours spent on fending off complaints — based on the fixed salaries of lawyers in the governor’s office and the Department of Law. The money would have gone to the lawyers no matter what they were doing. The complaints are “just distracting them from other duties,” Murrow said.
In other words, while these lawyers might have been free to do other legal work for the state, the ethics complaints have apparently not had the real world impact Palin has claimed, and didn’t drain money away from cops, teachers, roads and other things.
Palin administration officials provided the 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.