Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska is dismissing media reports that a special report by the state personnel board may force her to forgo paying her legal bills with money from her legal defense fund, according to a report in the New York Times.
The report indicated the fund relied on Palin’s standing as a public official to solicit donations and that such donations may be construed as proscribed gifts under Alaska law. The report drafted by board investigator Thomas M. Daniel further recommended that she refuse to accept any payouts from the fund.
Palin set out to get the record straight on Twitter this week, styling the report as preliminary. “Re: inaccurate story floating re: ethics violation/legal defense fund; matter is still pending; new info was just requested even; no final report,” she wrote.
The former Republican Vice-Presidential nominee has legal bills of some $500,000 -- spawned by the necessity to defend flights of complaints of ethical violations occurring during her tenure as governor. According to the Times, the questioned defense fund currently holds about $250,000.
Others have come to the defense of Palin and the legitimacy of the fund. Thomas Van Flein, Palin’s lawyer, emphasized the preliminary nature of the report, saying, “There is a detailed legal process to follow before there is a final resolution.” Randy Evans, an attorney who helped setup the fund, said any notion of impropriety was “absolutely untrue.” Kristan Cole, the defense fund trustee, states, “Just a reminder that this legal expense fund was thoroughly vetted by numerous attorneys from Alaska to the East Coast. The purpose of the trust is to help the governor with the crushing legal fees she has incurred solely because of her public service.”
Meanwhile, according to the Times, Palin does have a monetary fallback, noting that she is slated to be paid several million dollars for a book chronicling her run as the Republican vice-presidential nominee.
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